In addition to public schools, there is a very large number of private elementary & secondary schools in Toronto. These schools are considered by the provincial government to be either businesses or non-profit organizations. It’s a good idea to spend time checking into the private school of your choice, and thoroughly understand any contracts that are necessary to enter the school. If you require information about the school, you’ll probably want to contact it directly. With that being said, the Ontario Ministry of Education does play a role in the private school system in the following ways:
- The Ministry provides a list of private schools on their website. This list includes both elementary & secondary school and gives general information such any religious affiliations the school has, whether they maintain a residence, and whether or not the school offers credit toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). That last point is incredibly important, since it’s the responsibility of the Ontario Ministry of Education to determine which courses can be offered towards the OSSD. Every private school in Ontario is required to provide an annual statistics report to the Ministry of Education at the end of the school year. If they do offer courses towards the OSSD, they will be inspected by the Ministry of Education. If not, they are not subject to inspection.
- According to Section 16 of the Education Act, all private schools must submit to a Notice of Intention to Operate a Private School to the Ministry when they open.
It’s also very important to know that private school teachers & principals are not required to be certified by the Ministry of Ontario. If you considering enrolling your child in a private school, be sure to look into the school’s teaching methods and the credentials of its instructors. It’s also a good idea to ask the following questions:
- Do they conduct criminal reference checks on staff?
- Do they use the Ontario curriculum?
- Do they employ teachers who are members of the Ontario College of Teachers?
- Do they administer Education Quality and Accountability Act testing?
- Do they publish their admissions policy?
- Do they enter into contracts with parents regarding fees, refunds and other policies?
- Do they have a procedure for resolving complaints by parents and pupils?
- Do they publish the number of years they’ve has been in operation?
- Do they have liability insurance in respect of accidents involving pupils?
Your child’s education is important. There’s a lot of great private schools out there, but you need to know what you’re entering into before you enroll your child. If you have any concerns, contact the Consumer Protection Branch of Ontario by calling (416) 326-8800.