Choosing the right school for your child in your hometown can be complicated enough but picking one many miles away in a unfamiliar city or town could be overwhelming. Where do you even start? Here’s our guide to schooling in Canada which should make finding a school easier than your children learning their ABC.

The Basics – What You Need to Know:

Most schools are publicly provided with only about 5.7% of children attending fee-paying schools.

Canada is a federation of 10 provinces and three territories. Provincial governments have responsibility for all levels of education. There is no ministry or department of education at federal level.

The school system is split into primary, secondary and post-secondary.

Canada has two official languages; English and French and this is reflected across the curriculum.

The school year usually begins in September and finishes in June.

Generally speaking there are 190 days to the Canadian school year, although this number is 180 days in Quebec.

It is compulsory for children to stay in school until they are 16 across most of Canada, although in Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick it is 18-years-old.

 From Tot To Teen – The School System:

The school system and the different levels varies across Canada. Nine of the 13 provinces and territories roughly follow the structure below. For more information on specific differences, visit:

Alberta’s schooling system is as follows:

* Kindergarten and Primary School:

When your child is required to start school or kindergarten can vary across the different provinces. Many request children start kindergarten in the year they turn 5, but most require enrollment from age 6.

Years 1-6 are for primary or elementary school. Age 6-12 year-old. Courses studied at this age include: Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Art and Music, Health and Physical Education. Other courses will be offered but vary across Canada.

* Junior High School:

Years 7-9 are for Junior High School. Age 12-15 years-old. Course include: Language, Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Health and Personal Life Skills.

 * Senior High School:

Years 10-12 are for Senior High School. Age 15-18 years-old. The school year is split into semesters. The first semester runs for September – January and the second semester is February-June. High schools offer many different choices from academic courses for university admission to knowledge and employability courses to develop occupational competencies. At the end of the course you receive a High School Diploma if you’ve completed the requisite number of compulsory and optional courses.

* Post-Secondary Institutions:

There are a wide range of options for further learning in educational institutions. These include bachelor, master and doctoral degrees at one of Alberta’s four universities or Comprehensive Academic and Research Institutions (CARIs). There are also Baccalaureate and Applied Studies Institutions (BASIs), Polytechnical Institutions (PIs), Comprehensive Community Institutions (CCIs), Independent Academic Institutions (IAIs) and Apprenticeship and Industry Training. These all offer a range of courses and qualifications, over a varying length of time.

For more information about post-secondary education system in Alberta visit:

To help you find an academic institution visit:

For more information about the general schooling system visit:

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