School Age Categories-Canada

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Canadian Schooling Level Canadian Grade Child’s age (in the year they turn x) UK Year
Ontario only Junior Kindergarten 4 years old Reception
All provinces except PEI Kindergarten

(Primary in Nova Scotia)

5 years old Year 1
First compulsory year of

Elementary School

Grade 1 6 years old Year 2
Grade 2 7 years old Year 3
Grade 3 8 years old Year 4
Grade 4 9 years old Year 5
Grade 5 10 years old Year 6
Grade 6 11 years old Year 7
Junior High School Grade 7 12 years old Year 8
Grade 8 13 years old Year 9
Grade 9 14 years old Year 10
Senior High School Grade 10 15 years old Year 11 - GCSEs
Grade 11

(= UK GCSEs)

16 years old 1st year A Levels
Grade 12 Diploma

(= UK 1st yr A Levels)

17 years old 2nd year A Levels
University First year university

(= UK 2nd yr A Levels)

18 years old


  • In most provinces, government-funded schooling begins in kindergarten (at about the age of 5 years). Ontario offers pre-kindergarten (which children enter at about the age of 4 years). Junior kindergarten and kindergarten usually run five half-days a week, although alternate full days is becoming popular as school boards move to save on bussing costs. In Ontario, full-day kindergarten schooling for both JK and SK grades was established in 2013. Although they are freely available, junior kindergarten and kindergarten usually are optional.
  • A good rule of thumb to translate grade to age (and vice-versa) is this: Take the number of the birthday the child will celebrate this calendar year, and subtract 5. This is the grade they will enter in September of the same year. So, for example, a child turns 7 in February. They will start grade 2 the following September.
  • In most provinces compulsory schooling begins in grade one, which children enter at approximately six years of age.
  • High school begins in grade seven, eight or nine and ends in grade twelve. Sometimes high school is sub-divided into junior high school (grades 7 – 9 or grades 8-10) and senior high school (grades 10 – 12 or grades 11 and 12).
  • In some jurisdictions the progression is elementary school - middle school - high school. Middle school may be grades 5 - 7, for example.
  • In a few jurisdictions elementary school and junior high school are offered in facilities that cover K – 9.
  • Grade boundaries between elementary, middle (where applicable), junior high (where applicable) and high schools vary not only between provinces but within a province between local district school boards. Occasionally even within a school district there is a mix of, for example, K-8 elementary and 9-12 high on the one hand, and K-6 elementary, 7-9 middle, and 10-12 high.
  • Note that high school is the colloquial term used in Canada but that many provinces have adopted the term "secondary school."
  • Children graduate from grade twelve with a high school diploma around the age of 18. This is roughly equivalent to the first year of A Levels in the UK.
  • A British student with full A Levels often is given credit for first year university courses in Canada.
  • If you are thinking of moving to Canada late in your child's school career, around the time he/she would be doing GCSEs or A-levels, you may find it helpful to read the Wiki article called GCSE and A-level Students-Canada.
  • For other topics related to schooling, please see the Wiki article entitled Canadian Schooling.