One of the hardest decisions parents have to make is what type of school to send their child to: a Private or Public Canadian School.

When trying to decide between Private or Public Canadian Schools, one of the biggest deciding factors is often budget, but there are many other factors to consider.

There are pros and cons to both Private and Public Canadian Schools.  It all depends on what your child needs and what your expectations are. For example, if you expect your child’s education to prepare them to apply for university, it really doesn’t matter what type of school they attend. Universities in Canada admit students based on marks and sometimes it’s harder to get high marks in some independent schools with more rigorous programs.


Private or Public Canadian School - How to decide what is best.  Futurebright Canada, Filiz Altinoglu - Canadian teen arriving at school in the Fall

Let’s dive into the Pro’s and Con’s of Public Canadian Schools:

Public Canadian Schools – PROS

  • Your child will attend school with children living in the neighbourhood, making it easier to make friends with classmates residing nearby. You will also meet local parents in your community.
  • Your child may be exposed to a greater diversity of cultures and ethnicities than in some Canadian private schools.
  • Canadian public schools are free for Canadian residents and citizens. The private schools charge around $18,000 for international students, which is much less than many private independent schools charge, usually in the range of $25,000-$35,000 to both local and international students.
  • Canadian public schools tend to offer more accommodation options, and services for special education needs such as speech therapy, physical, occupational, and behaviour therapy to students who need it.
  • Public schools in Canada have to deliver education options that meet the needs of all students as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004.
  • Canadian public schools also offer an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • Public school teachers tend to have more experience and qualifications to serve special need students than those at private schools. Public school teachers must be certified.

Public Canadian Schools – CONS

  • Public schools are governed by the provincial education ministries’ standard and they aim to educate all students to this level. However, students who are already above that level and are ahead of the curriculum (eg. early /fast readers) sometimes get bored or are not challenged. Event when they are challenged, some kids don’t put in as much effort. Private  and independent Canadian schools with rigorous programmes offer more opportunity to keep kids engaged  in different areas of interest.
  • Overcrowding has become an issue in some public Canadian schools, especially in Toronto where schools were built for fewer students than the growing community around them. As class sizes increase, some students studies take place in portable classrooms far from the main building.
  • Your child may not get the one-on-one attention he or she might need in large public school classes.
  • Canadian public school teachers and workers have unions such as Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation of Ontario (OSSTF). the unions sometimes go on strike for days when they have disputes with the school boards.
  • Some Canadian public schools experience increased discipline issues in certain neighborhoods. The school may be limited in its actions.
  • The quality of Canadian public education differs significantly from one school to another – even in the same city. Parents need to choose housing according to the reputation of the school in the area.
  • Public school budgets may limit access to quality learning materials.
  • Public school students are required to take standardized tests, and teachers are pressured to spend a significant amount of time “teaching to the tests.”
  • Although Canadian schools are bound by law to provide your child with an individualized education, you may have to be more proactive to get your child what he or she needs to thrive in the educational system.
  • A public school might not accommodate when a child is absent due to illness, treatments, or therapy, to prevent falling behind. You may have to follow up closely for your child to receive the necessary services.

We offer a full range of Educational Consulting Services to help families find the best Canadian school for their children, whether it is a Public or Private Canadian School. Our student first approach starts with understanding your child’s unique profile including their educational background as well as your families needs and values.  We craft a list of school recommendations specifically tailored for your child. Next, we schedule school visits and shortlist schools. We work with parents on the application process including interview preparation and private tutoring.  Finally, we help you choose the school which is the best fit for your child.

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