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Westside School
The Westside School
788 Beatty Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2M1
Contact name:
James Mackay

Phone number:
(604) 687-8021×
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Westside School

The Westside School

788 Beatty Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2M1

Grades (Gender):
K to 9 (Coed); 10 to 12 (Coed)
$9,000 to 55,000/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
12 to 18
Day: 225 (Gr. K - 12), Homestay: 50 (Gr. 10 - 12)

Get more information

Contact Name:
James Mackay

Phone Number:

School Address
788 Beatty Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2M1
211 Nelson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia,



About this school:


The Westside School is creating a new model of independent school. With an available Super-Curriculum until 17:45 daily, Westside is a working parent-friendly, safe, ideal learning environment for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 9. The Westside Miniversity, located in new, purpose- built premises, is our 10-12 program. Our unique program delivery with the Oxford University tutorial system is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to enter the world's top 50 universities and succeed there.

The Our Kids review of The Westside School

our takeFor many parents, the attraction to Westside is Graham Baldwin, president and CEO of Westside since 2013. He immigrated from the UK in 1983 to take a leadership role at Brentwood College, and in the meantime has cut a swath of excellence through the world of independent schooling in BC. At events and expos, he can gather a crowd, and his credentials are as long as his arm and then some. Likewise, he gathers staff to his programs, again, because of an appreciation of what he’s done, and a desire to play a role in what he continues to do. Most impressive, perhaps, is his desire to always look ahead, to see how things might be done better and then to make it so. At any point he could have stopped and just, you know, coasted a bit. But he hasn’t. The Westside program, as well as the Westside Miniversity, are great examples of that. Even that term—Miniversity to refer to the 10-12 senior program—signals that there is something different here. And there is. The school prides itself, rightly, on being engaged with students, and supporting them with an eye to post-secondary programs and beyond. And, indeed, that’s exactly what it does.

Principal's Message


Graham Baldwin, President & Chief Executive Officer

 The President & Chief Executive Officer of The Westside School is Graham Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin joined Westside in 2013 following a distinguished career in the independent schools of British Columbia. After emigrating to Canada from the UK, Mr. Baldwin has served as the Head of the English Department and Housemaster at Brentwood College School, Mill Bay, BC 1983-6), as Headmaster/CEO of Collingwood School, West Vancouver, BC (1986-2000), and as CEO/Headmaster of Southpointe Academy (2005-2012). Mr. Baldwin led both Collingwood and Southpointe from being new, small schools in leased premises to highly successful schools with full enrolment in new, fully-owned facilities and #1 rankings.

Between 2001-2005, Mr. Baldwin served as Chief Executive Officer of Rugby Canada, President of Cherwell Education Strategies Ltd., and International Ambassador of Setagaya Gakuen School, Tokyo, Japan.

Mr. Baldwin has also served as President of the Independent Schools’ Association of BC, President of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools, Vice-President of the Pan-Pacific Association of Private Education, Member of the Education Marketing Advisory Board of the Government of Canada and Executive Board Member of the Federation of Independent Schools’ Associations of BC.

Mr. Baldwin is renowned internationally as a speaker on educational matters and has been a guest speaker at The Pan-Pacific Association of Private Education Conferences in Manila, Taipei and Vancouver, the Blue Mountains Grammar School in New South Wales, The American Headmasters’ Association in Princeton, The Yuelu Symposium at China South University in Changsha, the 60th Anniversary celebrations at the Liaoning Province Shiyan High School, the Centenary celebrations of the #10 High School, Suzhou, the Leading Principals Symposium at the High School Attached to Hunan Normal University and the CHEER Foundation International Conference in Beijing.

Mr. Baldwin’s mandate is to lead The Westside School to a pre-eminent position among the schools of Canada and the world.


Curriculum Progressive

Primary Curriculum: Progressive

What The Westside School says: Our curriculum is traditional but our processes are innovative. After ensuring a strong foundation of literacy and numeracy, we remove as many constraints as possible from Grade 5 on. We teach core subjects by accomplishment and readiness levels while taking care of the pastoral needs of our students in small cross-graded 'houses' each with a leader. At the most senior levels -our Miniversity- where all 10,11 and 12 courses are taken, we use the Oxford University Tutorial system to mentor and monitor students. The students study one course at a time to enable total focus. Each course takes 120 hours and is taken over four successive weeks. We use the City of Vancouver, its libraries, galleries, museums, businesses, theatres and universities as our campus to enable authentic, experiential learning.

  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Equal Balance

      These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: We use the Singapore Math Program in the younger grades and we use a balanced approach later, though Discovery is used whenever possible.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: Singapore Math texts and workbooks. Teachers create their own courses and post them on Schoology.

    • Calculator policy: Used at teacher discretion and need.

    Early Reading Phonics-intensive

      Systematic-phonics programs teach young children to read by helping them to recognize and sound out the letters and syllables of words. Students are then led to blend these sounds together to sound out and recognize the whole word. While other reading programs might touch on phonetics (either incidentally or on a “when needed” basis), systematic phonics teaches phonics in a specific sequence, and uses extensive repetition and direct instruction to help readers associate specific letter patterns with their associated sounds.
      Learn about the different early reading approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: We use the Adrienne Gear literacy program to supplement our phonics-intesive program.

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What The Westside School says: This information is not currently available.

    Writing Process approach

      The process approach to teaching beginner writing aims to get students writing “real things” as much as possible and as soon as possible. The goal is to create the right environmental conditions to encourage a love of writing and a motivation to write well. With children invested in the writing process -- through assignments children find meaningful -- students are then given feedback on how they can improve.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: We use the Adrienne Gear literacy program.

    Science Inquiry

      Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: Observation, experimentation, discovery and problem-solving are the hallmarks of our Science program.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: We teach literature through enjoyment, while examining writing techniques and the human condition. The humanity explored is that which is accessible to the age and experience of the reader.

    Social Studies Core Knowledge

      Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: We teach to enable our students to know, understand and cherish what made us the world we are.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Perennialism

      Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: We take the view that the past can and does inform an understanding of the present and of the likely future. This being so, core knowledge is essential to enable fruitful consideration of present situations and enlightened citizenship.

    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: In both French and Spanish we offer AIM instruction.

    • Studying a foreign language is required until:   9
    • Languages Offered: • French • Spanish

    Fine Arts Creative

      Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What The Westside School says: Expression is hampered when its means are not available: imagine trying to express deep feelings orally with a tiny vocabulary. Thus with the Arts -we develop core skills to free the creative spirit.

    Computers and Technology Medium integration

      Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What The Westside School says: Computers and technology are used as tools, but we teach and encourage students to master as many tools as possible to aid their learning.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What The Westside School says: We teach life activities and skills. We do not run school athletic teams on a regular basis. We use a holistic and wide-ranging approach to enable students to learn and enjoy active lifestyles.

    Advanced Placement Courses
    • AP Physics 2
    • AP Studio Art: 2-D Design
    • AP Studio Art: Drawing
    • AP World History
    • AP Biology
    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP Chemistry
    • AP Chinese Language and Culture

    Sex and Health Education
    Topics covered in sex and health education: This information is not currently available.

    What The Westside School says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What The Westside School says: We follow the guidelines of the BC Ministry of Education.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Academic

    • Play-based
    • Montessori
    • Waldorf
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Academic

    Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.

    If you want to learn more about preschool education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also read our in-depth answers to important preschool questions: What is preschool? What are the main preschool programs? What are the main pros and cons of preschool? What do children learn in preschool? How much does preschool cost?  What makes for a great preschool?

    What The Westside School says: Singapore math; Adrienne Gear Literacy; AIM French and Spanish; Specialist Music and PE, available Super Curriculum. Working-family friendly policies.

    Curriculum Pace Student-paced

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What The Westside School says about flexible pacing: Grades 5-9 students study core subjects at the same time in groups that match their level. Miniversity students are not restricted to Grade Level courses

    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What The Westside School says: Students are expected to work hard and demonstrate perseverance. We use frequent formative assessment to demonstrate their progress. We expect students to work beyond the specific assignments given and to intentionally increase their knowledge and understanding. We believe all students who work in this way will succeed in university and life.

    Developmental Priorities Emotional, Balanced

    Primary Developmental Priority: Emotional
    Emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    What The Westside School says: Our students will graduate as virtuous citizens and successful scholars.

    Special Needs Support High


    The Westside School provides a high degree of support for special needs students.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • What The Westside School says: We will accommodate all students who aspire to university. If their condition requires additional staffing, parents are required to fund it. We do not advise parents against enrolling students with diagnosed learning disabilities. Indeed, our President invented the KEY PROGRAM, widely used in BC for just such children.

    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      Learning disabilities
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy
    • Summary: All students are individuals. The way we teach them depends on the particular details of each case. Wherever possible we follow the advice of specialists and clinicians. We have a 'Quiet Room' supervised by an IEP expert, and a consultant psychologist to assist us.

    • What The Westside School says: We will accommodate all students who aspire to university. If their condition requires additional staffing, parents are required to fund it. We do not advise parents against enrolling students with diagnosed learning disabilities. Indeed, our President invented the KEY PROGRAM, widely used in BC for just such children.

    Gifted Learner Support Moderate


    The Westside School offers gifted learner support in the form of inclusive practices -- special, custom arrangements made for advanced learners (who otherwise remain in the regular classroom).

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: Enrichment (The main focus is on enrichment. This means that while students may work at a marginally quicker pace than public school peers, the primary aim is to study subject in broader and deeper ways.)

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What The Westside School says: We follow the recommendations of the psycho-educational test reports.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 12, The Westside School students perform an average of No homework of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    The Westside School 0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins
    Site Average6 mins16 mins18 mins24 mins30 mins34 mins41 mins54 mins59 mins71 mins82 mins97 mins110 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades4 to 12
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackK to 3
    Academic achievement reportingK to 12
    Habits and behaviour reportingK to 12
    Parent-teacher meetingsK to 12

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.

    Recess Policy

    Non-lunch recessFrequency
    Lunch recessAmount

    What The Westside School says: This information is not currently available.


    What The Westside School says:
    • Our SuperCurriculum operates daily and creates programs by request and demand. We have a huge variety of three-week programs throughout the year.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Ice Skating
      Martial Arts
      Track & Field
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Debate Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Math Club
      Online Magazine
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education
      Robotics club
      School newspaper
      Science Club
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day (Domestic: in province) Day (International) Homestay (International)
    Day (Domestic: in province)$9,000
    Day (International)$16,000
    Homestay (International)$55,000
    What The Westside School says: Tuition covers all elements of our curriculum and supercurriculum. Special arrangements for individual needs that require additional staffing are at additional cost.


    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    2nd child (sibling)Day (Domestic: in province)5%
    3rd child (sibling)Day (Domestic)10%

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    Governors Scholarship
    Amount: 100%
    Deadline: 03/01/2016
    Eligibility Details: Students grade 10 to 12—

    5 scholarships per year for outstanding students of high academic achievement who aspire to attend one of the top 50 universities on the Times rankings. Scholarships are for three years in our Miniversity, beginning in Grade 10.

    Application Details:

    A recent transcript and personal interview are required.

    For more details, visit: www.thewestsideschools.ca


    Total enrollment 275
    Average enrollment per grade21
    Average class size12 to 18
    Grades (gender)K to 9 (Coed); 10 to 12 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment15151515151515151515252525
    Homestay Enrollment152020



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewK - 12
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    Homestay students:

    What The Westside School says:

    Students and families to be in accord with the school's aims and processes.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student The Westside School is looking for: We seek aspirational students.

    Day Homestay

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeK123456789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    15 - 30 (75%)0000000
    Homestay Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class size12
    *Canadian "Big 6" placements8
    **Ivy+ placementsN/A

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    What The Westside School says:

  • Most students choose UBC and Toronto and gain admission.

  • Notable Alumni


    Alumni Highlights

    • We are too new to have anyone reaching the heights yet.

    In the News


    July 20, 2016 - Opinion: Miniversity follows different path in education

    Published on Vancouver Sun ...

    June 26, 2014 - The Westside School students receive acknowledgement from U of Geneva!

    "Congratulations" to Gr.8 students who received "Statements of Accomplishment" for their completion of a "Human Rights" online course. ...


    • Advanced Placement Canada (AP) Associations
    • Federation of Independent School Associations (FISA) Associations
    • The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Associations

    Social Feeds

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    Contact Name
    James Mackay

    Phone Number:
    click to view number

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