Elementary and Secondary

In Ontario, you have the option of sending your child to a public or a private school, each offering elementary and secondary education. There is no cost to attend public schools in Ontario, which receive government funding. If you choose to send your child to a private school, you will have to pay their tuition fees.


Every child aged 6-18 can attend school, regardless of their immigration status or the immigration status of their families. To register your child in school, you will need to the following:

  • Proof of your child’s age – a birth certificate or passport.
  • Proof of address – a copy of a bank statement, telephone or electrical bill or apartment lease with your name and address.
  • Proof of guardianship – required if your child is under 18 years of age and is not living with a parent.
  • Proof of immigration status.
  • Immunization record – proof that your child has been immunized.

Children and adolescents attending school in Ontario must have proof of immunization against a number of diseases. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) offers weekly immunization clinics in all its offices. This service is free for all children.


Many children begin elementary school in a Kindergarten program at age 4 or 5. Kindergarten is also called the Early Years program in Ontario. Junior Kindergarten is available to children who are 4 years of age and Senior Kindergarten is available to children who are 5 years old. Junior and Senior Kindergarten are optional programs, and there is not cost to these programs.


Elementary schools offer instructions from grades 1 to 8. Students must begin elementary school, or grade 1, when they are 6 years of age. Students complete elementary school when they are 13 years old and have completed grade 8.


Secondary schools are also called high schools. They provide instruction from grades 9 to 12. Students begin high school at 14 years of age and graduate when they are 18 years old. Once graduate, students will receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Although students tend to complete high school in four years, students also have the option of taking a fifth year or an additional semester. This can allow them to take fewer course each year or retake certain classes if needed.

School Day

Generally, students attend school Monday to Friday, and the school day lasts about 6 hours.

Junior and Senior Kindergarten students usually attend for only half a day but there are options to attend a full day program.

Most children bring lunch with them to school. Some children go home for lunch if they live close by and if a parent is at home. There are also usually short breaks in the day known as “recess,” when children are free to play in the schoolyard.

Fore more information on what your child will be learning (known as their “curriculum”), please visit the website listed below:

School Boards

Cornwall has four school boards that receive government funding. Together, these school boards operate a total of 32 schools.

  • The Upper Canada District School Board is an English public school board.
  • The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is an English Catholic school board.
  • The Conseil scolaire du district catholique de l’Est ontarien is a French Catholic school board.
  • The Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario is a French public school board.