Options for Schooling in BC

This year has been unique with more students accessing a wider variety of education options. For clarity, we’ve summarized the array of possibilities here.

1. Local School:
• Public “bricks and mortar” in class instruction

• Hybrid learning -part time online, part time in school (this is not offered by all districts, and is the only option currently in some larger secondary schools in the province)

• Public school Hospital/ Homebound -for students who are hospitalized or homebound due to medical complexity or immune suppression. Students remain enrolled in catchment school, supported by school staff and district LST. This is generally intended to be a short term support until the student is stable enough to attend school, but this year with COVID some students who are immune compromised are receiving this type of support longer term.

• Public School district ‘transition’ programs -After several families requested more time to make a decision about returning to school some districts offered a time limited option of home learning with the aim to transition back into bricks and mortar during the year. Some districts have timelines set for transition points at natural breaks, while others are more flexible for re-entry.

• Independent bricks and mortar schools -Most charge families a tuition and if they follow the BC curriculum, these schools are eligible to bring in supplemental funding for low incidence students. Often therapy services and assessments must be contracted privately as the smaller numbers don’t warrant having these typed of staffed services.

2. Distributed Learning (DL) (not to be confused with Home Schooling)
• Public Distributed Learning Programs – several public school districts offer distributed learning programs where students learn at home. Parents receive the support of a teacher and a few hundred dollars to cover basic supplies. Low incidence supplemental funding is pooled by the larger school district. Services like SLP, OT/PT and Psychology are accessed through the district. These programs follow the BC Curriculum and students are eligible for Dogwood graduation diplomas. Often there are group activities offered in the community, but these are limited currently with COVID.

• Independent Distributed Learning Programs -these distributed learning programs are run by independent schools where students learn at home with the support of a teacher. Some have a tuition fee, while others rely on government funding alone. Low incidence supplemental funding is not pooled, a set amount is allocated individually to each student to cover the cost of privately contracted therapy services, psych-ed assessment, tutoring etc. These programs follow the BC Curriculum and students are eligible for Dogwood graduation diplomas.

3. Home Schooling
• Registered home-schooling -Parents can choose under section 12 of the BC School Act to educate their children at home separate from the BC Curriculum. Parents take full responsibility to educate their children and do not have the guidance of a teacher. Parents do not receive any funding. Homeschooled students are not eligible for Dogwood graduation diplomas.

For more information see the Ministry of Education website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/covid-19-return-to-school

Author: Taryn Silver

Inclusion Outreach Physiotherapist