Education in Toronto is mandatory. As is the case for most Canadian cities there are both public and private schools providing academic learning opportunities for the residents of Toronto.
A separate and a public school board run parallel to each other in free services for the residents of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Students can attend schools in either board depending on the box their parents or guardians check as to which board they choose for their tax dollars to support.
There is often a misconception that students need to be catholic in order to attend the Catholic School Board.
If they are not at the time of entry the students must only be committed to attending the religion classes, to becoming baptized and then of course partake in the communion and catechism as appropriate to the entire religious experience.
It is expected that these practices be supported, encouraged and respected in the home by parent, guardians and God parents.
Again some seem to perceive that one school board is superior to the next. This again is a false misconception as the academic curriculum in both cases is monitored by the same Ministry of Education.
Provincial standards are set and monitored throughout each province and overseen federally to ensure students receive a credible level of education within the public school system.
Private schools run parallel to this in that they also utilize the curriculums set out by the ministry. It is truly an advantage in the private schools that their resources and enrolment allow students to have more individual attention and work at a pace that is more suitable.
As its category implies Private Schools are schools that are privately funded by individuals wishing to send their children to these slightly elite establishments in order to gain an education.
The fees range from about $10,000 per year to close to $30,000. The parents or guardians of these children and/or any homeowner in Ontario is still required to pay the education taxes to either the public or separate systems.
Children can start their education process as early as 18 months in the Montessori system in a program called Children’s House. Class runs from the age of 2-5 and then Grade One begins the year a child turns 6.
The public and separate schools run on the same parameters with the school age of a child being defined by the year the chid was born. Although the age difference of a student may differ by almost a year if one is born in January versus a student born in December the child is considered the same age if the calendar year is the same.
Therefore according to the system a child is not eligible to start Jr Kindergarten until the year the individual turns 4. Sr Kindergarten in its 5 year and grade one the year they turn 6 etc etc.
The public and separate schools respect and stick fairly close to these parameters with the idea that maturity comes with age and students although mature in some areas may not be ready in other areas until they reach a biological age as deemed. There is very little room for a student to be in the system in a year that differs from their peers.
This is where the private system works differently. Often there are entrance exams. If a child is academically ready for a higher grade than the biological year dictates then the child will learn at that level. There may even be flexibility for students to learn at differing levels for different subjects.
Very often statistics are put out for the level of success of the students in private versus public schools. This can be deceiving as it is only natural that more individuals attending private school graduate to Post Secondary education.
Those not intending to continue in Post Secondary school do not invest in the private school education and the private schools also have the jurisdiction to decline the enrolment of an individual they do not feel is appropriate to their student body and/or profile.
Elementary education runs to grade eight in the Ontario school system. From there students enter the Ontario Secondary School Program.
For four years students are working towards their Ontario Secondary School Graduate Diploma or Ontario Secondary School Honours Graduate Diploma based on marks of 80% and up.
During the secondary school years students can choose various options to include vocations, specialists in the arts, an IB or International Baccalaureate program or the regulated Ministry curriculum under a General, College level or University level programs.
The later three will lead the students to the appropriate post secondary standards as described by their names.
The IB program is International as it’s title depicts and involved international testing and recognition. The IB program will allow a student to be evaluated in the world system without scrutiny and is beneficial for those that intend to study abroad.
The education system is quite straight forward in Toronto as it is mandatory and heavily regulated and monitored to compete on the world stage.