Education in Canada

Are you thinking about moving to Canada with your family? Be cognisant that education in Canada is slightly different to what you may be used to. Read on to find out how the education system in Canada is structured.

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Education in Canada: General information

Firstly academic years vary by province, this includes legal ages to attend school. Secondly the terminology and age divisions are altered, in the UK we divide the school ages into periods called ‘key stages’ from 1 to 5. There are more sub divisions in Canada and they are referred to ‘grades’. The most common grading is shown below:

Age School typeGrade
6-7Elementary school1
7-8Elementary school2
8-9Elementary school3
9-10Elementary school4
10-11Elementary school5
11-12Elementary school6
12-13High school7
13-14High school8
14-15High school9
15-16High school10
16-17High school11
17-18High school12

Grade 11 and 12 are equivalent to college or sixth form in the UK.

Primary education in Canada

Pre-school education starts similarly to most countries in Kindergarten at age five; however this is not compulsory in all provinces, such as Ontario.

By law children must attend elementary school which is from grade 1 until grade 6 when they are 11/12. It is possible to skip grades if a child exceeds their age knowledge. Similarly they can be held back years if they under perform. Languages are usually undertaken and encouraged at a younger age compared to the UK, with French being the countries past mother longue, many are therefore bilingual. In most areas it is essential for your child to study within the area that the school serves, for higher performing public schools this can determine the value of houses within that particular catchment.

Education in Canada

Secondary education in Canada

High school is a requirement until they are 16, except in some provinces where the compulsory age is 18 (Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick). Similarly to the UK there are set mandatory subjects to study and elective subjects they can choose.

Canada spends a lot more on education in comparison to the UK and public schools are attended by over 95% of the country, the quality of education is also a lot higher so there is less need for private school systems.

Studying in Canada

There are 98 universities throughout Canada’s provinces, of which 26 feature in the world university ranking. The top 2 being the University of Toronto and McGill University in Montreal. There are variants on how education is carried out which is determined by provincial governments. In particular Quebec have different regulations in comparison to other cities as well as having the biggest cultural difference where 79% of the populations’ mother tongue is French.

On campus accommodation is offered by most universities, but equally to the UK there is a high demand for spaces so not all students will acquire a place. It is also common for students to rent apartments in the University city, on average rent is 15.97% cheaper than the UK.

There are many popular destinations you should try visit during your stay in Canada; however being the second largest country in the World makes it difficult to visit them all. The top University cities include:

  • Montreal – It is known as a ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ city
  • Toronto – largest city and also home to Niagara falls
  • Vancouver – adventurous destination with many tourist attractions (skiing)
  • Ottawa – many cultural and historical spots
  • Quebec – very historical and picturesque city

Are you considering moving to Canada? Sirelo can help you with that! We recommend you take a look at the pages we have linked below – they will help you start planning your move to Canada on a good footing. 🙂