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Grades JK TO 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)


Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Branksome Hall (2021)

Branksome Hall alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Tammy, Anna had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Tammy — current parent

Tammy has two sons who currently attend Braemar House School, who started in Grades 2 and 3 respectively. She appreciates the fact that Braemar House School has a relaxed and welcoming environment for her children and the rest of her family. She believes that the school is caring and nurturing of all students, and that its diverse atmosphere is helping mold her sons into considerate, mature young men.

  • “We wish there was a secondary school option for [Braemar House School] continuance, because we just absolutely loved our experience at the school. We opted to go for high school to the public board high school near our house, and we're very thankful that some kids from [my son’s] cohort, probably about half of his Grade 8 year, are going to the same school. So it's nice for him to have some experience with the kids.” 
  • “How [Braemar House School] handled the global pandemic was just phenomenal. The communication, the thoughtfulness of the students' mental health, physical health, and well-being. We were just ecstatic with that. … The kids didn't suffer academically. The school was up and running with distance learning. The Grade 8 experience was wonderful. There was a lot of communication with the parents as well as the Grade 8 graduates and how they can make it special because of the pandemic. And it was just phenomenal.”
  • “The kids felt special and appreciated and celebrated at [Braemar House School graduation], and we loved it. Also, at the time that our son was at [public school], the public board had a work-to- rule situation with the teachers, so I think they lost about ten days [of class]. We were really thankful that [our son] was at [Braemar House School] at the time, because again, we didn't have any learning challenges during that time. So we just enjoyed our time at [Braemar House School].”
  • “What we were worried about was that it was going to be stuffy and stuck-up and rigid and everything being very sterile, the kids in their little uniforms being like little robot children. And our kids are not those kinds of kids at all. So going to the school, and meeting [the teachers], and seeing that [Braemar House School] is relaxed and yes, learning is serious and important, but not so serious and important that we can't have fun and we can't get to know each other or build a community. Having the opportunity to go and see [the school] really made us feel like, ‘okay, it's more of like a home away from home that has a learning component, but also where [my kids] can be themselves.’”
  • “What we really expected at [Braemar House School] was small class sizes, and that individual approach to teaching the kids, because the teachers will have a better chance to get to know them, their areas of struggle, their strengths, and to capitalize on those things and help them. [We also expected] there would be a community aspect. … In those ways, our expectations were met, and in some ways were exceeded.”
  • “I have two boys, and they're very different from each other. I think for both of them, [Braemar House School] reignited their passion and interest for school, being at [Braemar House School] and having the teacher have a chance to really get to know them quickly because of the small class sizes. At the end of the school year in the pandemic, when we're just also treading water, trying to stay afloat, and going back to school felt like a sort of daunting task for[my kids]. Right off the bat, having them feel like their teacher really knows them and sees them made a huge difference for them, feeling comfortable and settled at the school.”
  • “I really noticed a change in [my son’s] maturity level. I can't say I know exactly where that comes from, but both of them really seemed to take their studies a little bit more seriously at [Braemar House School]. It was important for them to get every project done, and that they were excited about the things that they were learning and doing, and wanting to show their teacher and share things with their class. … I haven't always seen that in the past.”
  • “I know for my oldest son again, the small class size really was important for him. He's a very social kid, so he definitely likes to have lots of kids around, but he can also get really overwhelmed, especially when there's a change or transition. So having a small class, [my son] felt like he could get to know everybody, and everybody could get to know him. I know it's something that he has said multiple times that he really liked about being at [Braemar House School] this year.”
  • “The first word [I would use to describe Braemar House School] is personable. Just feeling like even though we were new, that we were known. ...  Feeling like people knew our names. People were trying to welcome us to [Braemar House School] right off the bat. Just that openness, and that personability really stood out to me. [There] was community mindedness. I really liked that. It felt like even though there was a pandemic, there were still opportunities to get involved with the school, there were invitations for parents to communicate with the administration right from the get go.”
  • “If we had questions, I don't feel like we ever felt nervous or scared or worried about sharing how we felt, or sending an email to clarify questions or things like that with our teachers or with the office staff. We just get the feeling that we're all part of making [Braemar House School] great. ... Seeing how [Braemar House School] pivoted as things were changing and evolving over the last school year... Most of the time, it just felt seamless, even though there might be different emails going back and forth, and news updates and alerts.”
  • “[Braemar House School] values encouraging everybody to do their best. We don't have to be the best at everything. Being [their personal] best, and then they help you in the areas that they need help. [Braemar House School] gives the kids opportunities to explore what their best might be. So trying out different ways of presenting information, different types of projects. I think that's a value that we value in the school, that everything's not just like pen and paper, and very rigid academics, that there can be fun ways to learn the same information or different and interesting ways to sort of get to the same endpoint.” 
  • “We had moved communities the school year before we started at [Braemar House School]. So the boys had just changed schools. ... They were very concerned about having to start all over again, and thought it was going to be really hard. Both of [my sons] after the first day at [Braemar House School] were totally fine, as if they had always been there. I know my eldest was in the Grade 3 class, and there was another little boy who was just starting as well.”
  • “[Braemar House School] values that community-mindedness, and that open, welcoming environment. I think a culture has been created by the staff, the administration, and the teachers at the school. That we're open, we're welcoming, everybody's safe here.”
  • “From day one at [Braemar House School], parents were introducing themselves knowing that we weren't going to have some of those events where they might get to introduce themselves. They included us in events and get-togethers that they might be having, and things like that. During this weird school year, that might not have happened out of a different school. So we just value that community aspect.”
  • “I think my only concern about making the change from a public school to any kind of, like, private or independent school was that it was going to be like, stuffy, rigid, robotic kind of learning environment… It's a regular brick building. It's colorful and it's inviting and it's welcoming and bright. That alone made me feel like, ‘okay, it's not going to be what I thought it was going to be.’ We're okay here. Talking to people really made me feel like [Braemar House School] is not going to be a stuffy sterile environment. It's going to have a similar feel to public school in a way, but with the added benefits of small class sizes, individualized learning, and potentially other opportunities for outings and things like that.”
  • “When you go into the [Braemar House School] building, you feel like, ‘okay. Yes, it actually is true.’ They're not just saying it. It's not just a pretty advertisement. This is actually a place where my kids can have fun, but also learn things. They're going to be cared for, and they're going to be safe.”
  • “I think the community part is what was sort of the bonus piece, because we came to [Braemar House School] focused on the kids’ experience, their education, their safety, and how the pandemic stuff was going to play out in the classroom, and that's what we were solely focused on when we signed up with [Braemar House School]. The community aspect, and the opportunity for our whole family to be involved was the piece that I wasn't really planning for, but I'm really glad that we have that.”

Anna — current parent

Anna has one son that graduated from Braemar in 2021. She describes the school as resilient and empathetic. She is thankful for the school’s many extracurricular opportunities that her son was able to participate in, and believes that the school community has contributed to her son growing into a respectful and intelligent high school student.

  • “I think the individualized instruction from the educators [at Braemar House School] is more conducive to learning without all the distraction. The kids are so respectful to their teachers and their peers. All of the teachers, even if they weren't directly involved in [my son’s] class, were always talking to the kids in the playground, in the classroom. [We appreciate] all of the thoughtful programming that takes place at [Braemar House School].”
  • “I think the first word that came to mind [to describe Braemar House School], especially over the last couple of years, has been resilient. The school has been resilient as far as the families were concerned. I don't think we felt there was a misstep in how things progressed during the pandemic. We got notification March break 2020... That the March break would be extended. We got communication from the school during that week saying that Google classroom would be up and running, and they were at it right from the Monday following March break. ... It didn't matter what was thrown at them, and there was certainly a lot thrown at the school and the students and staff over the last couple of years, there was never a misstep.”
  • “[Braemar House School] was always checking and you were always checking if the [students] had any problems [during the pandemic]. The guidance counsellor was notified if anybody needed any special attention, and it was very much appreciated. It was great ... I would say [Braemar House School is] empathetic. I think [Braemar House School] realizes that not all the kids come from the same background. Everybody is welcoming. There's no tolerance for any kind of bullying. It's carried down from the top down.”
  • “If any of the students were caught whispering between the two of them, it was put to a stop right away. There were no issues with that. Everybody is always dealt with [at Braemar House School] with the utmost respect, the parents as well as the kids. Before the pandemic, everybody was always welcomed into the school, and you're always met with a smile, a chit chat, and a hug when you're able to, and that was really appreciated.”
  • “I can think of a few teachers at [Braemar House School] that were very candid in their comments during the parent-teacher interviews. I really appreciated that. They weren't sugar coating anything. If there was something that needed to be addressed, they were pretty forthcoming.”
  • “[My son] really enjoyed [the extracurriculars at Braemar House School]. I didn't think there'd be as much opportunity for competition with schools. There is a nice network that [Braemar House School] has with the other independent schools. I thought it was fabulous: there were a lot of chances to go around to the different schools and watch volleyball, watch basketball, and everything. It was a lot of fun. That was surprising, I didn't think there'd be quite as many extracurriculars as there were.”
  • “If there are any parents out there who are hesitating about that proximity to their neighbourhood school and the peer group, don't worry about it. Kids are all over the place. Your child would meet kids and peers through sports, through art, through music, through any other kind of club. So do not let that be a road block. I wish we had come to [Braemar House School] in JK.”
  • “From a family perspective, everybody was so welcoming at [Braemar House School]. ... There were some families that we knew going into the school. ... [My son] felt welcomed [at Braemar House School] right from the beginning. He clicked with the kids. They were so welcoming. From an academic perspective, he was behind the other kids when he came in, just because of the different levels of education, but he picked it up like that. The teachers worked with him. He was back on track very quickly. So it was welcoming.”
  • “We came to [Braemar House School] for the smaller class size and for the academic piece. I think it was just a welcome surprise, everything else that came with it. The whole community, the clubs, the sports, just all of those extra great parts that make it [Braemar House School].”
  • “We love [Braemar House School]. We wish we had come in Junior Kindergarten. [My son] was so sad when he was leaving the last day of Grade 8, and he's looking forward to coming back and volunteering. He made a connection with the new Grade 6 teacher. ... And then he's looking forward to helping at [Braemar House School] with baseball.”

More about Branksome Hall

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Key insights on Branksome Hall

Each school is different. Branksome Hall's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

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Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of Branksome Hall is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

  • Home to the Chandaria Research Centre (CRC), Branksome Hall became one of the rare few school-based research centres of its kind in North America, something that supports and strengthens the academic offering.
  • Branksome Hall sets high standards, and the ideal student is one who shares its core vision and is able to function in a very diverse, challenging, expansive environment.
  • The school offers the IB Programme at all levels.
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Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about Branksome Hall's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

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Roundtable Q&A (2020)

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Roundtable Q&A (2021)

Watch our Branksome Hall Q&A discussion with Devin (Parent), Chile (Parent), Nina (Parent) to gain fresh insight into the school’s culture, values, and strengths.

Alum, Nora Hodgson (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Nora Hodgson to learn about the unique experience of attending Branksome Hall.
See all video reviews (4 total)


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