Elementary and secondary school education in MB

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In Manitoba, children from seven years old (or will be reaching seven by December 31) and older may start elementary school. Public education is a responsibility of the province and is a child’s right. Public elementary and secondary schools do not charge tuition.

There are three ways your children can receive education, through: public schools, independent schools and homeschooling. The educational system offers 13 grades: Kindergarten to Grade 12, which are grouped as follows:

Groupings/Grades/ Approximate Age of students

Early years – Kindergarten to Grade 4 – 5 to 10 years
Middle years – Grade 5 to Grade 8 – 10 to 14 years
Senior years – Grade 9 to Grade 12 – 14 to 18 years

Instruction can be delivered through four programs: English, French Immersion, Français, and the Senior Years Technology Education Program which is available for the English, French Immersion, and Français programs.

To have a better idea of what your child will learn in school, and how he/she is assessed, go to Manitoba.ca. This site has My Child in School, A Resource for Parents where you can read overviews of what each grade level focuses on, the subjects taught and a description of each. It also has resources to help you support your child’s learning per subject and offers answers to frequently asked questions. The descriptions are divided per program so you can compare English, Français, French Immersion, and Technology Education offerings.

Types of schools

Public Schools

Public school education in Manitoba is responsive and of high quality. It is governed by the Public Schools Act and the Education Administration Act which outlines the regulations as well as the rights and responsibilities of the Minister of Education, school boards, principals, teachers, parents, and students. The Province of Manitoba, school divisions, and districts share the responsibility of financing public schools.

Children usually go to school based on school districts. This is determined by your address. To know which school district your child belongs to, you can check the Manitoba School Divisions and District Contacts which is an alphabetical list of the divisions and districts. You can also use Schools in Manitoba Search, where you can find a school by name, by city or town, by program, by division/district or by grade. If you intend to enroll your child in Winnipeg, you can search through the Winnipeg School Division website’s Find A School app.

Under the Schools of Choice initiative, you can enroll your child in a school belonging to another division or district. You can do this if you don’t feel that the designated school will not meet your child’s learning requirements or if, for example, it will be more convenient for you to pick up your child at a school that is outside the catchment area (receiving school). This is subject to the particular receiving school’s policies so if you are intending to do this, it would be ideal to talk to the school administrator early. In instances when the recognized school program of your choice (English, Français, French Immersion, or Senior Years Technology) is not offered in the district where you live, you can also enroll your child in another district where the program is offered. (Right to Attend School, School Administration Handbook). It is best to register your child early as cut-off dates are observed for accepting students.

Independent Schools

Independent or private schools, on the other hand, are usually affiliated with religious or non-denominational groups and have their own governing bodies. It has two types: funded and non-funded. Funded independent schools have to meet certain standards set by the province, such as adhering to the Manitoba curriculum and employing certified teachers. Non- funded independent schools do not follow such standards. However, they must deliver a standard of education that is provided in public schools. To look for Independent schools in Manitoba, go to Independent Schools or use the Schools in Manitoba Search tool.

Homeschooling

Homeschooling is another type of independent education where parents choose to deliver instruction to their children themselves or a person they have designated. Parents or representatives can acquire curriculum guides from provincial homeschooling contacts and supports like the Manitoba Textbook Bureau, or Regional Homeschooling Offices. Parents can choose from three curriculum options: Child-centered instruction, Christian-based curricula, and Independent Study. They can choose one or create a unique program combining two or all of the options. Parents or guardians need to submit a Student Notification Form, acquire a confirmation of enrollment letter, and submit a January and June Progress Report for each child every year. To learn more about homeschooling, go to the Manitoba Education site or contact the Homeschooling Office, Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning at 204-945-8138 or homeschooling@gov.mb.ca.

School transportation

Transportation is provided to students as long as distance and residence location criteria are met. A student must live farther than 1.6 kilometres (walking distance) from the school, especially in rural areas, to be eligible. Special needs students or students with mental or physical disabilities who are unable to walk safely to school are eligible for transportation. Generally, school divisions/districts are required to provide transportation for all resident students eligible for the service. In cases where they may not be able to, the parent or guardian is entitled to receive compensation so that they can bring their child to school.

Students who attend the school outside the catchment area may be accommodated subject to approved program reasons. Some schools may charge a fee for the transportation depending on the space available and the student’s age.

Sources: Going to school in Manitoba, Government of Manitoba; and School Administration Handbook, Manitoba Education and Training. Retrieved October 3, 2018.

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Community Resources

If you want a comprehensive list of Schools in Manitoba, you can download this pdf provincial directory of schools, school divisions and districts. Aside from the contact numbers and addresses of the schools, it also lists the number of teachers and students, grade range in each school, and the indication of the programming offered such as English, Francais, French Immersion, and International Languages.

Access the School Calendar dates per division/district to get an idea of the duration of a school year in Manitoba.

Working Together: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs in School is a valuable guide to know how you can partner with schools and get the right resources to provide your child with the best learning environment.

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Quiz

Finding the right school for your child

Select the correct synonym for each word as used in the article above.

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