Independent School System Options
(Also see BC Ed’s page for a quick flow-chart visual on the educational options in BC)
Independent schools offer BC parents the option to enroll their children in a school with the “goals, educational pedagogy, culture/religion, and values” which best suit their family. They are governed by the Independent School Act.
There are currently two enrollment options through independent schools. Your child may, of course, enroll and attend the school physically. You may also enroll them as a home-based student in a DL (i.e., Distributed Learning) program. This DL option allows for faith-based materials to be used as an essential part of the educational program for the student. More info on independent schools is available on the ministry site.
A two-year pilot project with independent school DL’s ended in 2004 with caps being lifted for 2004/2005 and onward. Funding is generally set at half of the amount of the public school DL programs (depending on the school’s group classification). You can find details on the Ministry’s Independent Schools DL page and the Ministry’s Independent School Act page.
These DL programs are subject to the Independent School Provincial Distributed Learning (DL) Program Standards. Briefly,this means that the Independent School Authority (hereinafter “ISA”) is responsible for delivering the educational program. The DL student’s learning is directed by a certified teacher who completes course planning, assesses the student, provides ongoing instruction to the student, and provides reports of progress. These programs must meet provincial learning outcomes. The ISA must administer compulsory standardized testing and must deliver a significant portion of the program electronically. (See above link for important details.)
** Independent schools who also register homeschool children receive a grant for each registered child to help cover administration costs related to registering the child. Some, but not all, independent schools have chosen to pass a portion of that money on to the parents by way of a small reimbursement. It is important to note that registration is not a funded option and any monies that independent schools have graciously chosen to give to parents is at their full discretion and not at the direction of the ministry.