What Are the School Options in Toronto?

“Help, I’ve got kids! Where should I buy a house in Toronto?”

A  common concern for parents when moving and buying a house is what the best school options are for the kids, especially if you want your kids to attend the top-quality public schools within the neighborhood

And how can you expose your kids to the best education in Toronto?

  • Conduct research on the school assigned to your home address 
  • Consider French Immersion Programs
  • Consider other  options apart from the designated home school such as  optional attendance, alternative schools, and private schools

Research the Schools Assigned to Your Neighborhood

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can easily switch schools if you aren’t satisfied with the school assigned to your new home; the chances of this happening with public schools are quite slim!

You can find the specific primary or secondary school assigned to your home address on the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) website; just fill in your home address in the search box or browse the school names listed in alphabetical order on the TDSB website to locate the school that matches your residential address. Then, you can compare the school rankings under both the Fraser and EQAO ranking systems.

What if You Want Your Kids to Attend The French Immersion Program?

Toronto also offers Early, Middle, or Intermediate Extended French Immersion Programs based on the home zone of the residents. 

While applications can be made online for the Early and Middle programs, you would have to submit your physical application directly to the school for the Intermediate Extended Program. Admission into a specific school is dependent on the school’s capacity to take in new entrants. 

What are the Other Options Beside the School Designated for Your Residential Address?

Apart from the designated school based on your  home address, you may also choose  one of the following options for your child:

  1. Optional Attendance
  2. Alternative Schools
  3. Private Schools 

Optional Attendance

Under the circumstance that you are  uncomfortable with your home school, the Optional Attendance Policy allows you to send your child to a school apart from  the school designated to serve your residential address. Although, the chances of being accepted into a school via optional attendance is quite slim, and is dependent on spaces available within its program.

Alternative Schools

Alternative schools are smaller schools that offer alternative approaches to learning under the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Curriculum. They are excellent options for individuals wanting to have more active options in their learning. Taught through non-traditional hands-on approaches to learning, each alternative school focuses on one specific goal, with examples being social justice, entrepreneurship, art, and holistic learning.  

These schools are open to attendance for any Toronto resident, and you can apply to as many alternative schools you want based on optional attendance procedures.

Examples of alternative schools, both elementary and secondary, can be found here. 

Private Schools

Outside of the government-run system of education, the private school option is also available for students despite it is not being the typical option for most Toronto residents. However, for those who can afford the tuition ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 per annum, it would be  a viable option. Amongst the choices, there are mixed schools or single-gendered private schools for you to choose from. Additionally, unlike public schools, most private schools don’t place zone restrictions on enrolment. 

Some of these schools even offer courses that could suffice for university credit courses, and they are also likely to provide international exposure along with strong alumni bodies which exposes students to great networking opportunities.

You can compare private school rankings in Toronto at ourkids.net

Conclusion

Are you a worried parent troubling over choosing the best school for your child in Toronto? As finding the right school is largely influenced by your house’s location, a knowledgeable local real estate agent can help conduct thorough research on the public schools in your home’s catchment zone. It is also important to keep in mind that specialty programs, optional attendance, alternative schools, and private schools are also good options.   

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