Catholic or private school?

Catholic vs. private schools

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Many parents feel that Catholic schools, like other Christian schools,  offer some advantages over public schools. But if you want the best education for your child is Catholic school or private school better? And what are the advantages of each, in a final analysis?


Catholic schools are an appealing alternative to public schools, especially as many of these have been built new in the last ten years, with excellent facilities featuring the latest technology and very up-to-date features. And (for example) in the province of Ontario, the government funds Catholics schools and thus free, as opposed to the high tuition required by private schools.

Private schools have more variety of exciting options for students than ever before. Private schools give children a solid educational foundation with greater involvement in academics and extracurricular activities. In addition, parents are encouraged to participate within the school community and also help with learning at home.

To compare specific schools one-to-one, visit our compare hub. You can also check out our list of private Catholic schools in Toronto, Mississauga, EtobicokeOttawa, Ontario, WindsorMontreal,  Quebec, and Calgary. And if you want to learn about the difference between Catholic and other Christian schools, read our guide.

Advantages of Catholic Schools

Catholic schools participate in the mission of the Church, integrating religious education as a core subject in their curriculum. In many Canadian provinces, Catholic schools are funded by the province and may offer free education.

Catholic schools, whether private or public, profess different educational affiliations while encouraging students' growth in the life of the Church as well as study of doctrine and theology.

Are you required to be Catholic to attend Catholic school?

It is rare that (public or private) Catholic schools require students or their parents to profess the Roman Catholic faith these days. It is usually enough that schools are allowed to teach Roman Catholic doctrine to children.

Which schools have the better resources and academics, Catholic or private?

Arguably, some Catholic schools do not have the resources that private schools have. Also, many of these schools have larger class sizes. In general, private schools focus on smaller class sizes offering a distinct academic advantage. Many private schools focus on academics in a way that is not possible in publicly funded schools. Private schools are able to turn away applicants. This makes them harder to get into, of course, and also results in an improved classroom environment.

Yeah, but private schools just cost more than Catholic Schools

While this is true, investing in a good education reaps lifelong rewards for children.

Most private schools have smaller class sizes and teachers have more time with students. In many cases, private schools offer IB, AP, gifted, or international exchange programs (although there are also Catholic schools offering these courses and programs). Surveys show that private school students have better advancement in their career. The high standard of discipline in private schools is understood.

All private schools also have the following added advantages:

The community concept in private schools also discourages unacceptable behaviors among the students. The admission process in private schools is strict. This ensures that the standard of students admitted to such schools is high. Today, private schools are a way of life for students who get the opportunity to have new academic and life experiences. Many of the best private schools pride themselves on the diversity and excellent caliber of their students.

There are many private Catholic schools offering all the advantages of both private and Catholic schools. We list them on this page.

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List of private Catholic schools

 
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Athol Murray College of Notre Dame


Wilcox, Saskatchewan
Railway Ave/Rouleau St
 
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"No other high school in the world has developed more Elite, Junior, Collegiate, USPORT, NCAA, National, Olympic or Pro athletes with over 215 in the NHL alone. ND graduates attend top ranked universities worldwide.

  1. Private, independent, co-educational boarding high school, on 50 acres of land, founded in 1920
  2. Home to 300 students, grades 8 - 12, with 90% boarding from up to 20 different countries
  3. Exceptional academic standards, offering Honours & AP Stream or Advanced Courses
  4. 80% of all students are on Honour Roll with 100% graduation rate

—From the school

  • Gr. 8 to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $3,400 to $53,550
 
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Athol Murray College of Notre Dame 3400 HighSchools Day Boarding Coed

Holy Name of Mary College School


Mississauga, Ontario
Mississauga Rd/QEW
 
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"We strive to take the best aspects of Catholic teaching & interpret it in a modern context for the confident young woman of today. They are imbued with a strong work ethic, sense of purpose & a desire to change the world

  1. University preparatory school
  2. Catholic academic tradition
  3. Academic Excellence
  4. Mini-Medical School

—From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $25,300 to $26,200
 
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Holy Name of Mary College School 25300 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills/Leslie
 
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"Hawthorn School is located in Toronto. We offer a co-ed toddler-SK program and an all girls program for grade 1- grade 12. Our unique mentoring program is tailored to help students reach their full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed/Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $17,000 to $40,000
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Hawthorn School 17000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Homestay Coed Girls
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills Road/Don Mills Road
 
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"We value partnership with parents, creating a genuinely warm and friendly community. We raise the academic bar on academic excellence, and expectations of character, helping the boys become the best that they can be." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $20,200 to $24,600
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Northmount School 20200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
King City, Ontario
Keele St./King Rd.
 
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"Villanova College is York Region's only independent Catholic school offering Grades 4 to 12 in King City, Ontario. Average class size is 18 students. Specialty programs include STEM, AP and Domestic ESL." —From the school

  • Gr. 4 to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $22,400
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Villanova College 22400 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Hurontario/Queensway
 
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"Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School in Mississauga offers Casa Montessori programs for children a ged 2.5 to 6. Before- and after-school care and summer camps also available." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to SK (Coed)
  • Montessori approach
  • $7,070 to $11,960
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Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School 7070 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Dufferin St/Lawrence Ave W
 
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"Leonardo Da Vinci Academy provides exceptional schooling for the formative years. Our unique curriculum aims to instil a love of learning and challenges students to develop their full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Montessori
  • $10,500 to $18,300
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Leonardo Da Vinci Academy of Arts & Sciences 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Donald St/Frances St
 
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"Promote academic excellence that stimulates the acquisition of language skills, the development of scientific and artistic competencies as well as the formation of a critical mind, in a multicultural environment." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $10,670 to $12,320
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Academie Providence 10670 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Avenue Road/St. Clair Ave.
 
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"De La Salle College is a Catholic, co-educational, university preparatory school in Toronto from Grade 5 to 12, with an average class size of 20 students and tuition at $16,300 - $16,900." —From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $17,000 to $19,000
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De La Salle College 17000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
 
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"Guiding Light Academy is a Catholic private elementary school in Streetsville, Mississauga. We offer an enriched curriculum for JK, SK and Grades 1 to 8. We are located just minutes away from the Streetsville Go Station." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Montessori
  • $11,000
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Guiding Light Academy 11000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Montreal, Quebec
Atwater/Docteur-Penfield
 
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"Since 1861, The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, the city’s only all-girls English Catholic high school, has been preparing girls to change the world. We offer grades 7 to 12, day school and boarding." —From the school

  • Gr. 7 to 12 (Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $18,411 to $64,500
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The Sacred Heart School of Montreal 18411 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
Bathurst St./St. Clair West
 
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"Canada’s only independent, Catholic school for boys in Grades 7-12, taught in the Basilian tradition of forming the mind, body, and soul. Since 1852, we have educated students in goodness, discipline, and knowledge." —From the school

  • Gr. 7 to 12 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $23,250
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St. Michael's College School 23250 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
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"With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, Sacred Heart offers not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed/Girls/Boys)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $14,370 to $20,130
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Sacred Heart School of Halifax 14370 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Coed Girls Boys
Etobicoke, Ontario
 
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"Quo Vadis, through a Polish-English bilingual program, aims to assist in the formation of well-rounded, responsible individuals, promotes academic excellence and encourages self-esteem within a Catholic environment." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $13,500
  • Day school
  • 40 students
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Quo Vadis Elementary School 13500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Calgary, Alberta
Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave. SW
 
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"Clear Water Academy is the only private Catholic school in Alberta. We offer a rigorous academic program from Jr. Kindergarten to Grade 12 for students of all faiths. 100% of our students pursue post-secondary education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed/Boys/Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $6,300 to $17,400
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Clear Water Academy 6300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Day Coed Boys Girls

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Rigaud, Quebec
Rue Saint-Pierre/Rue Bourget
 
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"Collège Bourget is a day & boarding school located between Montreal and Ottawa. French and English high school programs are offered. Bourget aims to foster personal autonomy, academic development, and perseverance." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $5,075 to $34,860
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College Bourget 5075 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
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