Nova Scotia Overview

Alternatives to Public Education

What are some alternatives to public education in Nova Scotia?


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Private and Independent Schools

Independent schools and private schools are two different options to public education. Private schools are generally understood to be for-profit organizations established and controlled by one or more persons. Independent schools are usually not-for-profit schools governed by a board of trustees.

Nova Scotia has more than 20 private and independent schools; many of which are in Halifax. The province of Nova Scotia does not fund private or independent schools; families must pay tuition fees for their children to attend. Visit here to see a list of some of the private schools across Nova Scotia (this is not a complete list). (Read More 1)

According to the site some of reasons families choose these alternatives to public education are:

• Smaller classes
• Shared educational philosophy
• Specialized subjects (See Source 1)

In 2014-2015, out of the total number of students attending schools in Nova Scotia, 2.7% were attending private schools. (See Source 2)

Private/independent schools offer a range of options.  Here is a list of the different options, most of which can be found in the variety of private/independent schools located in Nova Scotia.

  • Boarding Schools
  • Day Schools
  • Co-ed Schools
  • Single Gender Schools
  • Academic Schools
  • Special Needs Schools
  • Faith-based School
  • Language Immersion Programs
  • Gifted Programs
  • Specialty Schools
  • International Schools/Programs
  • Summer Schools
  • Online Schools
  • Troubled Teen Schools

There are also Alternative Schools such as Montessori, Waldorf, Arrowsmith and Reggio Emilia. Visit here for more information about private and independent schools. (Read More 2)

Home Schooling

Another alternative to public education is home schooling. This is allowed for in the Education Reform Act and puts parents in charge of providing their children’s education so that learning takes place outside a school setting. Parents may home school their children for health, religious, philosophical or lifestyle reasons.

  • In 2012-2013, out of the total number of students attending schools in Nova Scotia, 0.7% were being home schooled.  (See Source 3)

In Nova Scotia, parents who wish to home school their child must:

  • tell EECD of their intention to home school their child
  • fill out a registration form annually
  • submit a progress report in June

For resources and additional information, visit here. (

Other resources on this site can be found under Assessment, Home Schooling Support Groups and Speech-Language Services.


What are your thoughts about public education and alternatives to public education?

  • Source

    Source 1: website

  • Source

    Source 2: Share of independent school enrolment has increased in Canada

    Fraser Institute Blog's post Share of independent school enrolment has increased in Canada

  • Source

    Source 3: Measuring Student Enrolment in Canada PDF on Measuring Student Enrolment in Canada

  • More Reading

    Read More 1: Private School List

    Private School List from

  • More Reading

    Read More 2: Different Options Private/Independent Schools Offer page on different options private/independent schools offer

  • More Reading

    Read More 3: EECD Home Schooling Resources

    Education and Early Childhood Development Home Schooling Resources Webpage