The school system in Toronto is of a high standard, and is also able to accommodate those expat children who don’t speak English or French (Canada’s primary languages).

Toronto has an extensive network of public schools, alongside an equally robust assortment of private schools.

Permanent residents and expats with work permits can enrol their children in public schools at no cost. Expats who don’t fall into these categories can send their children to public school but must obtain a study permit and pay school fees, which can sometimes equal some of the cheaper private schools.


Public schools in Toronto

Public schools in Toronto take their curricular mandate from the Ontario Ministry of Education. Generally, the standard of education is high. But like anywhere in the world, certain schools seem to perform better than others.

In Toronto, although children can register at schools both within and outside their neighbourhoods, preference is usually given to those in the associated geographic catchment areas.

Parents can research schools’ academic and overall performance by consulting the publicly-available Fraser Institute rankings. Some parents may choose to first pinpoint the desired school for their child, and then coordinate their house hunt around this.


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 prominent international schools and boarding schools levying exorbitant fees.

That said, these schools boast better infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities and a wider selection of extra-curricular activities.

Some private schools in Toronto are faith-based and integrate religious values into the curriculum. These tend to be cheaper than other private schools.

There are also specialised private schools that follow an international curriculum, such as that of the US, the UK and the International Baccalaureate. Some international schools teach in languages other than English. These curricula are highly transferable worldwide, so expat parents planning a temporary stay in Toronto may benefit from this option.


Special-needs education in Toronto

The state of Ontario is committed to inclusion and equality for children with behavioural, communication, intellectual or physical needs that can't be met by the standard education system. Such students are identified officially as 'exceptional' via assessments completed by the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee. School boards are responsible for drawing up and reviewing an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) for each exceptional student, which details the interventions to support students.


Tutors in Toronto

Tutors are popular in Toronto and are often hired leading up to major exams. They are also ideal for children who struggle with a particular subject, such as maths or science. In the case of expat families, tutors can be useful in bridging the gap between a child's previous curriculum and that of Canada. There are also tutors specialising in language who can help expat children develop their English skills, or maintain fluency in their native language.

Some of the reputable tutoring companies in Toronto include Tutor Bright and Teacher On Call.