Approximately 95% of students in Ontario attend publicly funded schools. Learn how education funding works, and the roles and responsibilities of the many players within the system.
How Ontario's education system works
Publicly funded education is divided into three stages: early childhood education, for children from birth to age 6; elementary school, for students from kindergarten to grade 8; and secondary school, for students from grade 9 to 12.
There are four types of school boards in Ontario. Under section 93 of the Constitution, Roman Catholics have the right to a publicly funded separate denominational school system, and French-speaking families have the right to attend French-language schools. Depending on their language, religious background or choice, students can attend English Public, English Catholic, French Public, or French Catholic schools.
Funding for education in Ontario is set through a provincial funding formula. Much of the funding is tied to enrolment, and is intended to provide equal educational opportunities for all students.
Early childhood education refers to programs for children from birth to age 6. The Ministry of Education is responsible for early childhood education and child care.
There are approximately 3900 elementary schools in Ontario. Elementary education includes grades from Kindergarten through Grade 8.
There are approximately 920 secondary schools (high schools) in Ontario. Secondary education includes grades 9 to 12.
French-language education serves students whose parents are “French-language rights-holders", according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or who qualify under school boards’ admission guidelines.
Our tip sheets help parents understand Ontario's education system and their role in it. Topics include: EQAO testing, Health and Physical Education, high school courses, homework, parent involvement, parent-teacher interviews, Safe Schools Act, sex education, solving problems at school, special education, and who does what in education.
Many of the tip sheets are available in multiple languages.
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