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Education system

Provincial Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education is responsible for oversee­ing all aspects of the province’s public education system.

The Ministry is responsible for:

• Setting policies and guidelines for school boards

• Allocating funding to school boards using the Funding Formula

• Establishing the provincial curriculum (what stu­dents will learn in each grade)

• Setting requirements for graduation (diplomas and certificates)

• Creating lists of approved text books and other learning resources

The Minister of Education is appointed by the Pre­mier, and is an elected Member of Provincial Parlia­ment (MPP).

School Boards

School boards are responsible for:

• deciding how to spend the funds they receive from the province for things like hiring teachers and other staff, building and maintaining schools and purchasing school supplies

• deciding where new schools should be built and when and if schools should close

• providing programs in schools such as special education, programs for newcomers and French Immersion

• developing local education policy (eg. safe schools, homework)

• setting an annual balanced budget for the school board

• ensuring schools follow the rules set out in the Education Act

• establishing a school council at each school and a Parent Involvement Committee for the board


Trustees are elected to the school board during muni­cipal elections. They represent the interests of parents and students in their area. Trustees sit on commit­tees regarding expelling students, and make decisions about the school board’s budget. You can find out who your trustee is by asking at the school office or check­ing your board’s website.

School Superintendents / Supervisory Officers

School superintendents or “supervisory officers” are board staff responsible for groups of schools in each school board. Superintendents may be involved in sus­pension appeals, special education meetings, and re­quests to attend a school other than the home school. Superintendents may also be assigned by the board to oversee board-wide programs (e.g. Superintendent for special education). You can contact your school super­intendent if you can’t get the help you need from the school principal.


Principals are responsible for the management of individual schools. They may have one or more vice-principals assigned to help them. Principals are re­sponsible for:

• overseeing the teaching and curriculum in the school and making decisions about the School Improvement Plan

• supervising teachers and other staff

• admitting students and making decisions about special education placements

• administering the school’s budget and ensuring the building is maintained

• making decisions about the allocation of special­ized staff such as department heads, arts special­ists or library staff

• maintaining student records and ensuring report cards are sent to parents

• overseeing student discipline and making deci­sions about suspensions and possible expulsions

• working with the school council to encourage parent involvement, assist in decisions about fundraising and develop new policy about things like homework and the school’s Code of Conduct


Teachers generally must have a recognized teaching certificate in order to teach students in the public edu­cation system. Teachers are responsible for:

• preparing lesson plans, teaching classes, and evaluating student progress

• maintaining discipline in the classroom

• running extra-curricular sports, clubs and activ­ities (voluntary)

• communicating with parents about students’ progress

School Councils

School Councils provide advice to the principal and school board. Every school must have a school council, and members include parents, the principal, a teacher, a student (in high schools), a non-teaching staff mem­ber, and a community representative. The majority of members must be parents and the chair must be a par­ent. Principals do not vote on school council decisions. School councils are responsible for:

• sharing information with parents and the com­munity and seeking their input on matters the council is discussing

• providing advice to the principal and school board on issues such as school year calendars, strategies to improve school performance, codes of conduct and dress, selection criteria for princi­pals, and board policies that will affect the school

Many school councils are also actively involved in or­ganizing social events for the school community and fundraising.