Question and Answers for Alternative Schools

How do I determine the schools accreditation, and will my sons credits/diploma be recognized?

My name is Paula. My son is in grade 4 at Thor College in Cookstown-ON. They are registered with the Ontario ministry as elementary/secondary, academic, broad-based curriculum. I just found out that they offer no credits towards Ontario secondary school diploma by the ministry of education. How does this affect my child's future towards his diploma and applying for universities or college. They are not a member of any association, but the teachers are in good standing.

Parents who send their children to independent schools, elementary or secondary, should be savvy consumers and determine whether the school of choice meets or exceeds the standards of the Ontario curriculum. Parents want to be sure that if their children ever need to transfer to a publicly funded school, whether at elementary, secondary or post-secondary levels, they would be able to do so seamlessly.

All independent schools wishing to issue high school credits towards the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) must be successfully inspected by the Ministry of Education every other year and maintain the standards of the Ontario Curriculum. Principals of successfully inspected schools become agents of the Ministry, able to grant credits to students on the province’s behalf. Schools that do not submit to the private secondary school inspection process may grant credits but they may not be recognized by the Ministry and those schools may not issue the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Many colleges and universities expect students to have an OSSD. Some students who are not in OSSD credit granting high schools find they have to attend beyond grade 12 at a publicly funded or ministry inspected school in order to gain the necessary additional credits to get the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and attend the college or university of their choice.

Even though the school in question is registered as an OFIS member on the MOE website, it is not and has not been a member of the association (please check our website listings for verification). Several efforts to contact the school to have it rectify its ministry listing have not been returned. OFIS continues to work with the Ministry of Education in providing parents with good information to make their school choices.

Answered by Barb Bierman, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools

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