Schooling for Expat Children

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Enrollment of expat children

  • Enrollment procedures differ from one jurisdiction to another.
  • An admissions office often assesses your child and recommends the grade that would be most suitable for him or her.
  • Your child's grade assignment is not written in stone. The classroom teacher will observe the child for the first month or so to confirm whether or not the initial placement was appropriate. During that trial period the teacher may recommend that your child be moved to a different grade.
  • It will help if you bring a couple of your child's notebooks that contain examples of work that he or she did in the UK.
  • It also will help if, before you leave the UK, you obtain from your child's UK school the curriculum that he/she studied in core subjects like English and Math(s).

Free tuition

The following minor children usually are eligible for free tuition from public schools:

  • Canadian citizen
  • Permanent resident
  • Child of a student visa holder who is registered in a full-time university course for at least one year
  • Child of a work permit holder (but check on the specific jurisdiction in which your children will be attending school, as a few government-funded school districts treat children of work permit holders like foreign students and charge them tuition of something like C$10,000 per student per year)

Catholic Schools usually require that at least one parent is a baptized Catholic.

Note that foreign children who come to Canada as unaccompanied minors first have to obtain student visas and are charged tuition in the order of C$10,000 per student per year.

Also note that free tuition does not necessarily mean 100% free schooling. Depending on the jurisdiction, a school board may charge bus fees, locker rentals, surcharges for courses that use expensive equipment and materials, etc. These extra fees usually are quite modest, and certainly are nothing like the C$10,000/year tuition that a foreign student typical is charged.


Registration documents

When you register a foreign-born child who is not a Canadian citizen, you need to present the following documents:

  • Parent's passport
  • A permit that allows the parent to live and work or study in Canada
  • Child's passport
  • Child's birth certificate
  • A visa or permit that gives the child the right to reside in Canada (permanent residence visa, temporary residence risa, Visitor Record or study permit)
  • Document that proves that your family lives in the school’s catchment area. Ordinarily this is an Offer to Purchase a residence or a Rental Agreement.
  • The school often will ask for your child’s immunization records. The manner in which a school staff member asks the question often creates the impression that immunizations are mandatory. In fact they are not. For more details, please see the Wiki article on Immunization.
  • A Catholic school usually will require the baptismal certificate of at least one parent.
  • People planning to move to Canada on temporary work permits should note that, while their minor children do not need study permits to attend school in Canada, some immigration and school officials are ignorant of the law as it pertains to minor children of work permit holders.

Other schooling topics

For other topics related to schooling, please see the Wiki article entitled Canadian Schooling.