Canada's schooling options for expats

A look at the education options available to families relocating to Canada, from the IB to AP programmes.

Canada\'s school system for relocating families

See more features about education in the Autumn 2016 issue of Relocate magazine on our Digital Issues page.


In international comparison tests, Canada’s school pupils rank among the best in the world. Because Canada is a bilingual country with no integrated national education system, however, relocating parents will need to navigate different systems across the 13 jurisdictions.Choosing an internationally recognised learning programme like the International Baccalaureate (IB) can have several advantages.Elizabeth Sawyer, of Bennett School Placement Worldwide, says that the IB is available in many schools in Canada, as are Advanced Placement (AP) courses preparing students for the US College Board exams. Families looking for either of these options should be sure to ask schools ahead of time about the process for being admitted to an IB or AP programme, in order to be sure that their children have not missed any required courses.One Canadian school that offers the IB is The York School, in Toronto. Praveen Muruganandan, director of Strategic Enrolment Management, says that the greatest advantage of the IB programme for internationally mobile families is the ability it gives them to transfer from one country to another with minimal disruption to their son’s or daughter’s education. “The IB programme is unique,” adds Mr Muruganandan, “as it gives equal emphasis to all of the academic subjects, as well as a commitment to extracurricular activities. Upon completion of the IB Diploma programme, a student will be equipped with the skills and tools to take on the world. “The IB is ideal for students who have a natural sense of curiosity. For students who are natural risk-takers, they will find the IB programme an excellent opportunity to enhance their learning.” Regardless of one’s age, relocating to a new country, city and school can be difficult, he points out. To ensure that they and their child are well prepared, it is important for parents to “embrace the change” in order to convey a flexible mindset.Joining parent groups at the school, he says, will help to establish a circle of friends for the whole family before the first day of school.

For more news and features about education in the UK and across the globe, visit our Education and Schools section.

The following sections may also be of interest: International Assignments, Culture and Language

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