Public Schools vs Private Schools in Ontario: What Are the Key Differences?

 Public Schools vs Private Schools in Ontario: What Are the Key Differences?

When it comes to your child’s education, you want to make the best possible decision for them. One of the most significant choices you’ll make is deciding between a private or public school. Both types of schools have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to understand the key differences before making a decision. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at public schools vs. private schools in Ontario, highlighting their unique features, pros and cons, and the factors to consider when choosing between the two.

What are Private Schools?

Private schools are schools that operate independently of the government, relying on tuition fees and donations to fund their programs. Private educational institutions are not required to follow the same curriculum and guidelines as public schools and have more freedom to choose their academic programs, teaching methods, and admission requirements.

Pros of Private Schools:

  • Smaller Class Sizes:

Private schooling typically has smaller class sizes than public schools, which means your child gets more individual attention from teachers.

  • Specialized Programs:

Private schools often offer specialized programs such as language immersion, arts, and music, which may not be available in public schools.

  • Greater Flexibility:

Private schools have greater flexibility in terms of curriculum and teaching methods, which means they can tailor the educational experience to suit the needs of individual students.

  • Stronger Parental Involvement:

Private schooling relies heavily on parental involvement, which fosters a close-knit community of parents, teachers, and students.

Cons of Private Schools:

  • Cost:

Private day schools can be expensive, and tuition fees can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per year.

  • Limited Diversity:

Private schooling can be less diverse than public schools, with fewer students from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

  • Admission Requirements:

Private educational systems have stricter admission requirements, including entrance exams and interviews, which may make it difficult for some students to gain admission.

What are Public Schools?

Public schools are schools that are funded and regulated by the government. They are required to follow state and federal guidelines regarding curriculum, teaching methods, and testing.

Pros of Public Schools:

  • Free Education:

Public schools offer free education to all students, regardless of their family’s income.

  • Greater Diversity:

Public schools tend to be more diverse than private ones, with students from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

  • Accessibility:

Public schools are more accessible than private ones, with more locations and better transportation options.

Cons of Public Schools:

  • Larger Class Sizes:

Public schools tend to have larger class sizes than private schools, which means less individual attention from teachers.

  • Limited Resources:

Public schools are often underfunded and have limited resources, which can impact the quality of education they provide.

  • Less Flexibility:

Public schools have less flexibility in terms of curriculum and teaching methods, as they are required to follow state and federal guidelines.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Private Schools and Public Schools:

  • Cost:

Private schools can be expensive, so you need to consider whether you can afford the tuition fees and other associated costs.

  • Education Quality:

Research the academic programs and outcomes of both private and public schools to determine which one provides a better education for your child.

  • Social Environment:

Consider the social environment of the school and whether it will be a good fit for your child.

  • Extracurricular Activities:

Look into the extracurricular activities offered by the school and whether they align with your child’s interests.

  • Teaching Philosophy:

Determine whether the teaching philosophy of the school aligns with your values and expectations.


Both public and private schools in Ontario have their unique features, advantages, and disadvantages. Ultimately, the decision between the two comes down to your family’s needs, preferences, and budget. By considering the factors discussed above, you can make an informed decision on which type of school will be the best fit for your child’s education and overall development. 

David Valentino