Private vs Independent Schools

The term “private school” is an umbrella term for any school that charges tuition fees and is operated by individuals and groups outside of the public education system. Many private schools are for-profit organizations.

The term “independent” classifies a private school that is run as a non-profit organization and is often overseen by a board of trustees. In many provinces,independent schools receive a certain amount of public funding and are accredited either by a government body or an affiliated organization. Accreditation provides a third-party reference that the school meets certain standards.

Some accreditation organizations for independent and private schools include:

  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), an organization serving boarding schools in the US, Canada, and abroad
  • Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) is a national organization for independent schools in Canada. It was formed in October 2009, as the result of a merger between the Canadian Educational Standards Institute and the Canadian Association of Independent Schools.
  • The Round Square, a worldwide association of more than 70 schools in Canada and abroad with a curriculum emphasis on community service and exchange programs
  • The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA), an organization of Montessori schools across Canada
  • The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), an accrediting organization for Christian schools in Canada, the US, and abroad
  • The Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario (CIS) and the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS), two organizations serving independent schools in Ontario