Independent Schools Offering Boarding Policy
Date came into force or revised
Oct 4, 2022
Independent schools with boarding are required to have a written policy, and associated procedures, that contribute to strong educational, social, mental, safety, and overall health outcomes for boarding students. The policy and the procedures should align with the school’s other policies and should, in combination with these other policies, cover all significant aspects of the boarding experience. Independent schools with boarding are also required to provide annual, aggregated student safety (related to the boarding environment) reporting to the Inspector of Independent Schools.
The requirement to have a policy and associated procedures does not apply to schools that do not offer boarding.
Compliance with the requirement for independent schools offering boarding to have a boarding policy and procedure will be assessed during Ministry of Education and Child Care inspections.
Rationale or purpose of policy
This policy informs B.C. Independent Schools about responsibilities related to establishing a policy and procedures for student boarding and annual reporting on specific types of student safety concerns in the boarding environment.
The policy and reporting requirement is intended to ensure that schools offering boarding have clear policies and procedures to address the added duty of care that schools take on when providing boarding to students.
In support of the Inspector of Independent School’s responsibility relating to school certification, and in recognition of the potential impact of student safety concerns in residential settings on student learning and well-being, the reporting requirement is intended to provide aggregated, school-level student safety information related to the boarding environment.
While schools are required through other legislation to make reports related to student safety to other government entities (e.g. the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation or the police), the Inspector of Independent Schools does not have access to the information related to those other reporting obligations.
The obligation to create a policy and procedures and to provide annual reporting is a requirement of the Inspector of Independent Schools imposed under Section 6 of the Independent School Act.
Policy in full
Independent schools offering boarding must have a written policy and associated procedures that:
- Enable and support strong educational, social, mental, safety, and overall health outcomes for students in boarding.
- Clearly delineate staff duties and responsibilities regarding boarding students.
- Establish a transparent and fair student/parent/guardian complaint process specific to the boarding environment, consistent with the principles of procedural fairness.
- Establish a procedure for reporting to appropriate authorities any alleged instances of abuse of students, and any alleged instances of criminal activity, by individuals employed by or otherwise associated with the school authority.
By July 15th of each year, independent schools offering boarding to students are required to submit to the Inspector of Independent Schools an annual, aggregated report on the number of distinct reports, if any, that were made to MCFD and/or the police that relate to student safety in the boarding environment over the course of the past school year (i.e. July 1 – June 30), using a template to be provided by the Ministry.
In developing their boarding policy and procedures, it is recommended that schools make use of and align their policy and procedures with the British Columbia Independent School Boarding Guidelines (PDF, 1.4MB).
Review of schools’ policies and procedures
Each school’s boarding policy and procedures may be reviewed during an external evaluation committee inspection or a monitoring inspection, or at other times, to ensure they address the items noted above. Upon review, a school will be advised if it is required to revise or develop its policy and procedures.