The school I chose won’t let my child attend. Can they do that?

2. Find a school

In Ontario, your child can attend school in one of 4 publicly funded school boards:

  • English-language public school board
  • English-language Catholic school board
  • French-language public school board
  • French-language Catholic school board

Most students do not have to pay to attend any of these public school boards.  But if you are visiting Ontario and you want your child to attend school while you’re visiting, you may have to pay a fee.

Your local school board can give you more information about schools in your area. Many school boards have tools on their websites that let you search for your local school based on your address.

Usually, your home address determines the English-language public school that your child can go to. Each school serves the children who live near the school. Any child who lives within the school’s area should be allowed to attend that school.

To register for school, you only need to prove that you live in the school’s area. You can do this by, for example, showing the school a driver’s licence or utility bill with your address. You also need to show them that you have legal custody of your child, for example, with a birth certificate or custody order from a court.

This is not always the rule for Catholic schools or French-language schools. See Step 5.

When you register for school, you should also bring documents that show your child’s age, and documents that can help the school place your child in the right classes. These documents might include report cards or student records from other schools your child has attended.

If the school closest to your home is full, your child might be registered and transported on a bus to a school in another area that has space for new students. In some school boards, schools that are not full will accept students who live outside of their area. If you want to send your child to a school outside your area, you might need a permission letter from your local school.

Contact your local school board for more information.

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