1.We’re not just for rich kids. “The general public has this idea that private schools are stuffy and only for the rich. That was certainly not the case for our school,” says Lisa Bobak, a former private school teacher at Wellington Hall Academy in Guelph, Ont. Tuition fees can be as low as $5,000 a year and families can receive big breaks through scholarships handed out by the schools.
2. Our teachers may not have teaching degrees. Instructors at private schools don’t always have teachers’ college under their belts. In some provinces, “the schools determine how they hire,” says Agnes Stawicki, managing editor of OurKids.net, a comprehensive site about private schools in Canada. Like a university, a private school could consider a wide range of educational backgrounds to find the right person for the job, she says.
3. Don’t assume we’re accredited, either. Provincial governments don’t necessarily regulate or license private schools. For instance, in Ontario all private schools operate independently and must be inspected to determine if they’re eligible to grant credits toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). “It’s important for families to ask if private schools are run by a board, if they’re ministry-inspected, and if they need to be or not,” says Stawicki.
4. We cater to kids with specific needs. Private schools offer different styles of teaching, which can benefit gifted students on the fast-track, as well as children with learning disabilities who need more support. Since classes are usually small, teachers get to spend more one-on-one time with students, says Bobak.
5. Kids can do just as well in public schools. When the Fraser Institute recently ranked schools based on student performance in province-wide testing, it found that the top schools in Ontario and Alberta were a mix of both private and public schools. In Quebec and B.C., however, the top five were all private schools.