Do Private Schools Employ Teachers Who Are Members of the Ontario College of Teachers?

A question parents ask almost as much as "Which is the best private school?” is "Do private schools employ teachers who are members of the Ontario College of Teachers?” In Ontario, private schools operate as businesses or non-profit organizations. The Ministry of Education does not regulate, licence, accredit or oversee the operation of private schools and teachers in private schools are not required to be certified.
Since private schools do not receive any funding or financial support from the province, they are allowed to establish their own qualifications and criteria for their teaching staff. However, the Ministry of Education does require private schools to have the following in place:
  • A principal in charge of the school;
  • Evaluation of student achievement;
  • Control over quality of instruction;
  • A standard school-wide assessment and evaluation policy;
  • Common procedures for reporting to parents;
  • A school-wide attendance policy;
  • A central office to maintain student records.
Teachers that are certified are listed on the College's public register that is available online. The College has no control over teachers they have not certified.

What Is the Ontario College of Teachers?

The Ontario College of Teachers is the regulatory body for the teaching profession in the province of Ontario whose mandate is to license, govern and regulate the practice of teaching. The College is responsible for developing standards for:
  • The practice of teaching;
  • Regulating ongoing teacher certification and professional development;
  • Member discipline;
  • Accrediting teacher education programs.
The College of Teachers is accountable to the public and also investigates claims of misconduct made against teachers.
Teachers who work in publicly funded schools in Ontario must have teaching certificates from a program approved by the Ontario College of Teachers and must be members of the College by paying an annual fee to maintain their certification, which is their licence to teach.

Qualifications of Teachers in Private Schools

Although not compulsory, many private schools will require its teachers to be members of the Ontario College of Teachers as a condition of employment. Teachers working in private schools where a licence to teach is not a condition of employment may join the College for the benefit of holding a licence and maintaining membership with a professional body.
For example, many private schools in Toronto operate under the philosophy that their teachers are their greatest resource and should exemplify the qualities that they seek to develop in its students such as:
  • Strong personal values;
  • Commitment to lifelong learning;
  • Intellectual capacity;
  • Creativity.
Private schools have a tendency to hire teachers that have a bachelor's or master's degree in their subject. Teachers at most prep schools in Ontario pursue professional development opportunities on an ongoing basis that allows them to implement the most up-to-date teaching methods and innovative best practices.

Parents Must Set Their Own Benchmarks for Private School Teachers

Teaching in a private school has great benefits for teachers as they have more control over the curriculum. But, it's important for parents to conduct thorough research before registering their child at a private school and to make sure that the teaching staff's qualifications are up to par.
Since private schools don't necessarily employ teachers who are members of the Ontario College of teachers, parents must choose a private school with care.
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