The school system in Toronto operates at a high standard, and is even able to accommodate expat children who don’t speak either of the primary languages, English or French.
In fact, there are aids for most people who do not speak English, with languages such as Punjabi, Vietnamese and German catered for. There are also extensive provisions made for children with special needs.
Toronto has an extensive network of public schools that expats, both permanent residents and those with work permits, can enrol their children in for free, and the city also claims a robust assortment of private schools.
Public schools in Toronto
Public schools in Toronto, both elementary and secondary, take their curricular mandate from the Ontario Ministry of Education. Generally, the standard of education is high. But like anywhere in the world, students at certain schools seem to perform better than others. In some cases, though, the best public schools are thought to be better than the most expensive private schools.
In Toronto, children can register at their neighbourhood school, or they can apply to a school that’s not within their residential area. Note that preference will be given to those in the associated geographic catchment areas.
Parents can check how well students from particular schools have performed by consulting rankings published by the Fraser Institute. Thus, parents may want to pinpoint a school for their child, and then base their house hunt on this fact.
Private and international schools in Toronto
Private schools in Toronto are a different matter entirely. While there are scholarships for gifted students, private schools are expensive, with choice international schools and boarding schools levying exorbitant fees.
That said, as is the assumption in most global destinations, these schools are thought to boast better infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities and a larger selection of extra-curricular activities. Furthermore, they’re assumed to be more demanding of students, placing extra homework burdens upon them, and demanding a greater level of school participation.
Some private schools in Toronto are faith-based and a religious emphasis is integrated into the curriculum. Other private schools follow an international language and curriculum. Expats who only plan to be in Toronto on a temporary stay may want to consider this option for their children.
Tertiary education in Toronto
There are many fine academic institutions in Toronto. The University of Toronto’s St George Campus is located in Downtown Toronto, and its land takes up a significant portion of the inner city. This means that the wide green university grounds, student houses and the students themselves form an important sector of Torontonian society.
Foreign students are welcome at Canadian universities. But they must be prepared to shoulder tuition fees as much as four times as high as Canadian citizens.