Educational Standards for Independent Schools

Date came into force or revised

NA

Status

Current

Policy statement

Educational programs in Group 1, 2 and 4 independent schools must meet certain requirements for instructional time, subject offering, learning outcomes and other matters. These are specified in the Independent School Act, Regulations and Orders particularly Ministerial Order 41/91, the Educational Standards Order

Rationale or purpose of policy

To ensure that independent schools offer an educational program that meets the requirements of their group classification

Authority

Policy in full

General Curriculum Requirements

Educational programs in Group 1, 2 and 4 independent schools must meet the instructional time, subject offering, learning outcomes and other requirements specified in the Independent School Act, Regulations and Orders (particularly Ministerial Order 41/91, the Educational Standards Order (PDF).

All students enrolled in Grades Kindergarten to 9 must be offered the following minimum number of instructional hours each year (Ministerial Order 41/91, the Educational Standards Order, section 3(2) (PDF)):

  • 450 hours of instruction for Kindergarten.
  • 850 hours of instruction for Grades 1 to 9.

General Kindergarten to Grade 9 Program Requirements

Courses in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, and the mandatory second language in Grades 5 - 8, must meet the prescribed earning outcomes set out in the educational program guides referred to in the Educational Program Guide Order (PDF), and in the Educational Standards Order section 4(4) (PDF). Learning outcomes are listed in Appendix A in the curriculum documents which can be accessed on the curriculum pages of the Ministry website.

All other subjects or courses must meet one or the other of the following:

  • the learning outcomes set out in the applicable Ministry educational program guide (curriculum document) for that course or subject and grade, or 
  • the learning outcomes established by the independent school authority for that course or subject and grade.

On-site external evaluations and monitoring inspections will confirm that independent school authority approved courses are meeting Ministry of Education requirements.

Grades K-9 Areas of Study Requirements

  • For Grades K-7, an authority must offer the following areas of study to all students:

    (a) English Language Arts,
    (b) Social Studies,
    (c) Mathematics,
    (d) Science,
    (e) Physical Education,
    (f) Fine Arts/Arts Education: Dance, Drama, Music, or Visual Arts,
    (g) Health and Career Education,
    (h) Daily Physical Activity.

  • For Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8, an authority must offer instruction in a second language to all students in each school year. All mandatory second language courses must be provincially-approved. Independent schools wanting to teach a second language that has not yet been approved by the Ministry can seek approval.  To do this, they must develop the language curriculum using the provincial Languages Template and then secure approval from the Ministry.
  • For Grades 8 and 9, an authority must offer an educational program each year to all students that includes the following:
    (a) English Language Arts,
    (b) Social Studies,
    (c) Mathematics,
    (d) Science,
    (e) Physical Education,
    (f) one of the following Fine Arts: Dance, Drama, Music, or Visual Arts,
    (g) one of the following Applied Skills: Technology Education, Information Education, Home Economics, or Business Education,
    (h) Health and Career Education 8 and 9
    (i) Daily Physical Activity 

Graduation Program Requirements (Grades 10-12)

  • Students entering Grade 10 after July 1, 2004 are enrolled in the Graduation Program 2004. In order to graduate, students must earn at least 80 credits by successfully completing Grade 10, 11 and 12 courses as outlined under Certificate of Graduation
  • Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) Courses may be used to meet some of the graduation requirements for all Grade 10 - 12 certified programs.

Procedures related to policy

Board/Authority Authorized Courses

If Independent schools want to offer Authority Authorized Courses in Grades 10-12, they must follow the procedures found in the document Board/Authority Authorized Courses: Requirements and Procedures.

  • They must use the BAA Course Verification Page (DOC) as a cover page for the BAA Course Framework. For Independent Schools, this cover page replaces the suggested BAA Course Framework Template title page on page 10 of the document.
  • To verify that the BAA Course has been properly registered and approved and can be offered for credit, the following items must be completed:
    • The BAA Course Framework is developed according to the BAA Course Requirements and Procedures.
    • Principal and Authority review and approve the developed course by signing/dating the attached BAA Course Verification Page.
    • Use one of the 39 unalterable BAA course codes.
  • Once completed, the BAA course frameworks for Independent Schools need not be sent to the Ministry for review. The BAA Course Framework is the school's curriculum document. As with all courses, classroom implementation requires the development of a course overview which includes content, teaching strategies, assessment methods, and linkages to learning outcomes. These will be reviewed throughout the regular independent school inspection process.
  • Further information on BAA courses is found at BAA Questions and Answers (Q&A's) (PDF)

Provincial Student Transcripts for Independent School Students

Graduates from Group 1 and 2 independent schools who satisfy graduation requirements may receive a provincial transcript and a British Columbia Certificate of Graduation (the "Dogwood Diploma").

Graduates from Group 4 schools who satisfy graduation requirements may receive a British Columbia Certificate of Graduation and transcript of grades if all teachers in the school hold valid British Columbia teacher certification.