information for global expats

State Schools in Canada

Submitted: November 2013

Canada’s publicly funded education system varies immensely across the different provinces. As the school curriculum falls under provincial jurisdiction and is managed by each province guided by individual district school boards. There is a ministry of education for each province which sets the goals and curriculum for the schools within the province. The following link provides a link of contact persons for the Ministry of Education for each province. www.cicic.ca/702/Ministries_of_Education.canada

Schooling in Canada for a child aged five to eighteen is divided into primary education followed by secondary education and structured in a system categorised by “Grades”.

  • Kindergarten (K) - for ages 4 to 5. Kindergarten is intended to help young children become accustomed to school life.
  • Grade 1 - ages 6 - 7
  • Grade 2 - ages 7-8
  • Grade 3 - ages 8-9
  • Grade 4 - ages 9-10
  • Grade 5 - ages 10-11
  • Grade 6 - ages 11-12

Depending on the province Grades 7 through 8 may be the beginning of Secondary education or High school. For some it may be classed as Middle school. This period of schooling is meant to help a child transition to high school.

  • Grade 7 - ages 12-13
  • Grade 8 - ages 13-14

High school or its continuation from middle school is structured as follows.

  • Grade 9 - ages 14-15
  • Grade 10- ages 15-16
  • Grade 11 - ages 16-17
  • Grade 12 - ages 17-18
  • Grade 12+ - ages 18+ (Ontario only)

It should be noted that public schools in Canada offer a co-educational program.

Before selecting a school it is importnat that your child has the necessary documentation to register with a school. The documents required are basic:

  • birth certificate
  • proof of residence
  • proof of immunization
  • previous school records

Depending on the requirements of the school and its individual curriculum structure, your child may need to take an assessment test. This is to ensure that your child is placed appropriately in the school system.

In your selection process you should first determine what schools are within close proximity to your residence. While attending a school outside of your province is permitted, the commute to and from may become too tiring to sustain for an extended period of time. You should determine your child’s needs and strengths and compare them to the curriculum and environment of the potential schools. Although most schools have a comprehensive website, you should make time to visit the potential schools before making your decision.

Not all schools will be within close proximity to your place of residence. There is the option of taking a school bus provided by the school. The cost associated with this is determined by the school district and may be at a minimal cost or no cost at all. You may also opt to send your child to school via public transport or take them yourself, depending on your personal preference.

The following link provides a list of schools by province. www.cicic.ca/711/Elementary_and_Secondary_Schools_in_Canada.canada

Most schools have a website. View these sites to narrow your selection before visiting the schools in person. See link for information regarding private schools in Ontario www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/privsch



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