Does a Private School in Toronto Follow the Ontario Curriculum?

Parents choose to send their children to a private school for a variety of reasons, such as the school offers an educational approach that is better suited to their child or they believe that private schools achieve better academic results. Selecting the right school in the city is no easy task and one common question parents have is "Does a private school in Toronto follow the Ontario curriculum?

Academic Independence

Private schools in Ontario operate independently of the government as businesses or non-profit organizations and are not regulated by the Ministry of Education. Because private schools are considered independent entities, they are not required to follow the Ontario curriculum.
While some private schools may still choose to follow the Ontario curriculum, other schools may enhance the core curriculum with courses that reflect the mission and principles of the school. For example, private schools with a mission of developing well-rounded citizens may require students participate in mandatory extracurricular athletics or arts programs.

International Baccalaureate Program

Developed in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program allows students to engage in a rigorous pre-university program and earn the internationally recognized IB Diploma.  The IB was created in 1968, with the mandate of giving students the required tools for success in an increasingly international environment.
IB curriculum is notoriously challenging and strives to foster a breadth of knowledge and cultural awareness in over 140 countries worldwide. The IB program offers three levels:
  • IB Primary – For students as young as age three, this program focuses on developing inquisitive minds.
  • IB Middle Years – At age eleven, this program encourages students to make connections between subject matter and the outside world.
  • IB Diploma – Geared towards high-school students in their final two years of study, the program aims to prepare students for university success and eventual participation in the global marketplace.
The renowned IB program is offered by many top prep schools in Toronto and all three levels of study draw on international educational materials and focus on:
  • Acquiring a second language;
  • Interdisciplinary study;
  • Extracurricular and community involvement.
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) requires that all major assignments are marked or moderated externally and that final examinations are globally standardized. Leading Toronto private schoolsadopted the IB programming many years ago to offer a curriculum that is considered to be of the highest quality around the world.

Private Schools that Follow the Ontario Curriculum

Most private high schools will offer the Ontario public school curriculum, because students must graduate with the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) to gain entrance into a provincial university.
To maintain standards, private schools that offer the OSSD, are inspected by Ministry officials on a recurring basis to determine whether the school continues to meet Ministry requirements in regards to:
  • Curriculum;
  • Assessment;
  • Evaluation policies.

Choose the Curriculum that's Right for Your Child

A private school in Toronto can follow the Ontario curriculum, depending on how the school wishes to operate. Choosing the best curriculum on paper won't necessarily be the best school for your child.
Similar to a career, a private school that follows a particular curriculum may be right for one child, but not right for another. The final decision for a private school with a curriculum that is the right fit ultimately comes down to both the parents and the child.
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