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How do I enrol my child in school?
When you enrol your child in publicly funded schools in Ontario, you will need to provide only the following documents to register your child:
- Proof of your child's age - You can use their birth certificate, passport or other travel or identity documents
- Proof of address - If you don't have an Ontario Photo ID card or Ontario Driver's License, you can provide a bank statement, utility bill, or lease that shows your name and address
- Proof of guardianship - Only needed if you are not the child's parent
- Immunization Records - You can get a printout from their healthcare provider
Many settlement agencies can help you with registering your child for school. If you need assistance enrolling your child, you can ask your settlement worker or the school's settlement worker for help. They can also help you find an interpreter if you need one.
Should I bring other documents or reports?
If you have your child's recent report cards, samples of their exams, classwork or textbooks, you may want to bring them when you register.
That information is then sent to the teachers to understand what they have learned.
If your child is starting secondary school, often called high school, the guidance counsellor will likely talk with them about their previous schooling, interests and what their goals are for after graduation. The counsellor will help your child choose the appropriate courses and make a learning plan.
Can enrollment be denied?
It is important to know that all children aged 6-18 can and must attend school, regardless of their immigration status or the immigration status of their parents. This is outlined in the Education Act, the law that governs public schools in Ontario: "A person who is otherwise entitled to be admitted to a school and who is less than eighteen years of age shall not be refused admission because the person or the person's parent or guardian is unlawfully in Canada."
It is also important to note that minor children of refugee protection claimants and protected persons do not require a study permit to attend kindergarten, elementary or secondary school.
Will I get in trouble if I don't enrol my child in school?
The Education Act is the law that governs public schools in Ontario. It says that children aged 6-18 must attend school. Many children begin school in kindergarten at age 4.
According to Steps to Justice, if you do not send your child to school, the police can charge you. You can be fined up to $200.
If your child is between the ages of 12 and 15 years old and doesn't go to school regularly, your child can be charged by the police. This charge is called "truancy". Truancy is not a crime. They can't go to jail or get a criminal record for it. But a judge can fine them up to $1,000 and put them on probation.
Assessments and Placement
In some school boards, newcomer students go to an assessment or reception centre where their Mathematics and English language skills are tested.
If your child has developmental, learning, health or other considerations that you feel the school should know about, you can let them know in the registration form or ask what additional documentation they may want for your child's file. These things will not prevent your child from enrolling in regular classes; it will just help the school to know what supports to have in place to help your child succeed. Every student learns differently. Some students need more support than others. Your child might need to be evaluated for an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
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November 6, 2023