British Columbia Education System

In Canada each Province and Territory has its own jurisdiction over education. Public education is free to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents aged less than 20 years. Parents are responsible for providing all the school supplies (notebooks, paper etc.), but school uniforms are not worn. Where band and sports uniforms are needed they will be the parent's responsibility. In B.C. students are legally required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16 years.

Elementary & Secondary schooling is the responsibility of British Columbia's Ministry of Education , whilst the Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology is responsible for post-secondary education.

The Ministry is committed to providing a high quality education for Kindergarten to Grade 12 children so they can develop their individual potential and acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to contribute fully to society.

Definitely check your child's immunisation record as it may differ in Canada from the country you are leaving. Most schools encourage full participation of their students in the Provincial Immunisation Programs. The school year generally runs from the beginning of September through to the end of June. Most schools close for the months of June and July along with winter and spring breaks normally around Christmas and Easter.

Schooling is broken down into three areas; the primary years which covers Kindergarten to grade 3; the intermediate years - grades 4 to 10 and the graduation year's grades 11 and 12.

In B.C. to enter Kindergarten (the first year of school) children must have turned five by December 31st. In the Primary Years (5 -9), students learn foundation skills in oral language, reading, writing and mathematics.

The Intermediate Years , from age 10 to 16 years, students learn from a wide variety of subjects. In grade 5 students must begin to study a second language. The students will also begin to take specialized courses toward their personal and career goals.

The graduation years , 17 and 18 years old, courses are focused on preparing students for Post Secondary education and entering the work force. Students can also earn credits towards their high school Graduation. With the Post secondary education expensive in most cases, it is imperative that you research Registered Education savings Plans as a way to save for your kids education. The other main way to finance the education is to take out Student Loans.

Students Moving to B.C.

Students who are coming to British Columbia from a different school system should submit an official statement of previous standing, such as a report card, to the school they want to enroll in. You should also have the previous school records and transcripts, copies of all the course outlines and content.

After considering a number of factors including the students age, records and test results they will be placed in the appropriate grade.


One of the most important things is to ensure your children are registered in time. Most facilities have limited registration "windows" that are normally several months before the school year starts. For instance in the Calgary area we have registered in February for the coming september. Contact the particular establishment for the precise details.

For your convenience here are links to other relevant pages:

  1. Alberta
  2. British Columbia
  3. BC Post Secondary Education
  4. Manitoba
  5. New Brunswick
  1. Newfoundland and Labrador
  2. Nova Scotia
  3. Ontario
  4. Prince Edward Island
  5. Saskatchewan

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