Changes are coming to how the Regina Catholic School Division delivers its Speech Language Program, as its eliminating 4.3 full time equivalent jobs from the Speech and Language Department.

"The traditional method is to do a lot of pull out services. This year the intent was to shift that delivery much more to supporting kids in the classroom. And working with teachers in the classroom”…"we believe it's not going to change the services that students will get,” Regina Catholic School Board Chair Bob Kowalchuk said.

The staff involved will be moved to a different role in the division.

The division is adding 17 fulltime teachers, to accommodate an expected an increase of 282 students for the 2019-2020 school year. The division expects an all-time high of 12,223 students next school year.

"Simply because it's a much more effective way of delivering it in terms of cost. And we need to be very clear. We have to look for ways in which we can be more effective and make better use of some of the research on best practices and instruction,” Kowalchuk said.

According to Speech-Language and Audiology Canada, “there are not enough SLPs employed in Canadian schools to meet the needs of the many students.”

"Seven to ten percent of children have a speech language delay. We also know that there are many speech language delays that benefit most from the direct and skilled intervention of a speech and language pathologist,” Speech Language Pathologist with Beyond Words Speech-Language Consultants, Cari Thiele said.

Thiele says direct interaction with students is important.

"We provide highly specialized support that we know can really get to a child’s oral language, their reading skills, their speaking skills. So we know our role is very important, but it always depends on how children are being supported,” Thiele said.

Kowalchuk says consultations were held and the division has been looking at making the service change for a few years, and doesn't expect staff to lose any working hours.

"We’re certainly trying to do the best we can to keep people within the system,” Kowalchuk said.

The division says it will review the process and see how effective it is throughout the year.