Independent school enrolment in Ontario is increasing, in spite of declining numbers of young people in general, while the public school enrolment levels have been shrinking and are predicted to do so until at least 2012. Public school enrolment trends across the country are similar, but this study focuses on Ontario.
- Between 1960 and 2005, the public education system had a gross increase in enrolment of 52.5 per cent. In the same period, independent school enrolment grew at a rate of almost 357 per cent.1
- Between 2000 and 2005, independent school enrolment increased by 8.8 per cent.2
- Between 2000 and 2005 Ontario public schools saw an enrolment decrease of 1.1 per cent.3
- Between 2008 and 2013, projections show another 3.8 per cent decrease.4
- From 2002-2003 to 2009-2010 public (elementary and secondary) school funding increased from $14.4 billion to a projected $19.5 billion.5 While this funding includes special funding for things like ESL training and French Immersion, this is a 36 per cent increase, despite declining enrolment.6
By comparison with other major Canadian provinces, Ontario’s school system is the least adaptable, and offers parents the least choice. The current political climate casts independent schools as standing in opposition to unity and equity goals for Ontario. These schools are simultaneously portrayed as being exclusively for the wealthy. This is far from the truth, upon examining the long list of independent schools across Ontario. Parents are seeking out independent schools in greater numbers for the variety, opportunity and better quality education they provide.
Ontario should follow the example of British Columbia or Alberta to help parents find and pay for educational options suitable for their families.