What is policy?

Policy is a plan of action used by the Ministry of Education and Child Care to set out clear rules and expectations for the delivery of programs and services to the public.

Last updated: January 06, 2021

On this page:

Policies come from legislation or from decisions made by elected officials, such as Ministers and School Trustees, or public servants and school administrators.

Policies can be communicated through various instruments, including: policy documents, laws, contracts, partnerships, the funding formula, government direction such as the throne speech, and many others. Policy can also be communicated informally through correspondence.

Laws and legislation

Policies must comply with existing laws. The Manual of School Law contains Acts, Regulations, Orders in Council, and Ministerial Orders relating to B.C.'s education system.

Roles and responsibilities

The Ministry of Education and Child Care, boards of education and schools have different responsibilities for developing, administering and implementing education policies.

The Minister of Education is responsible for administering K-12 education legislation and setting high level education policy.

The Ministry of Education and Child Care sets policy in the following areas: 

  • Educational standards
  • Monitoring student performance and reporting the results to the public
  • Working with schools and communities to improve student and school performance
  • Allocating funds for the education system
  • Overseeing the governance of the system as a whole

Boards of education (also known as school boards) create education policies that reflect the aspirations of the community and are consistent with overall provincial guidelines. Some examples of these kinds of policies include:

Determining specific educational programming for students, which could include establishing specialty schools
Creating a school calendar and scheduling professional development days
Boards are accountable to district electors for their decisions.


Principals and school district administrators also develop policy that applies at the school level. Examples of school policy include general school rules for student conduct and parental involvement expectations.