What kinds of schools can my child go to in Calgary?

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There are two types of schools in Alberta: public schools and private schools. The Province of Alberta funds public schools. In contrast, tuition fees, grants, and private donors fund private schools. Public schools are the most common choice and the subjects they teach are the standard for education in Alberta. However, other options may be good for your child. This is especially true you would like your children to be taught through a specific theme. For example:

  • faith (Christian, Islamic, and other schools of many different faiths exist in Calgary)
  • language (French and Spanish are popular)
  • academic excellence and high achievement
  • personal creativity
  • leadership

What kind of schools are in Calgary?

Publicly-funded schools follow the same provincial program of study. In addition, students must meet the same academic standards in order to graduate. Education is paid for by the province, but extra fees may have to be paid for by the student’s parents.

Public Schools

Public schools provide basic education taught along the Alberta curriculum and are universally accessible to all children of Alberta residents. Students can attend for 13 years of study, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and graduate with a diploma. Students must write provincial exams in Mathematics, Social Studies, English, and Science to graduate. Alberta pays for public education, but does not cover extra fees. Examples include school supplies, transportation, or class trips totalling $100 per year or more per child. Low-income parents that cannot afford the extra fees may not have to pay them after speaking with the school.


These schools reflect the right of Roman Catholic or Protestant Christian parents to educate their children in separate schools. Separate schools meet the same educational standards as other public schools, but education is based on the Roman Catholic or Protestant faiths. With the exception of 2 schools, all in Calgary are Roman Catholic.


Francophone schools provide an education for students in French. At Francophone schools students can develop language, identity, cultural ties, and a sense of belonging to the Francophone community. French education is provided through Kindergarten to Grade 12 to the same standard as the Alberta curriculum.


Charter schools provide innovative or enhanced education programming. They may use different teaching methods than regular public schools, which may encourage students’ unique talents or strengths. Charter schools follow the Alberta program of study, and students must meet the same educational standards, writing the same Grade 12 exams before graduation.

Private schools are not funded by the province. Consequently, parents will have to pay some or all of their child’s tuition (school) fees. Private schools provide education through a specific religious or educational philosophy. Some schools claim to give students a more thorough or more effective education. Examples of private schools include Master’s Academy, Bearspaw Christian School, and the Akram Jomaa Islamic School. Each of these schools emphasizes high academic achievement. Additionally, they provide education through a theme such as religion, the student’s emotional intelligence, or creativity.

Calgary Board of Education: https://www.cbe.ab.ca/Pages/default.aspx

Calgary Catholic School District: https://www.cssd.ab.ca/Pages/default.aspx

List of private schools in Calgary: http://www.ourkids.net/calgary-private-schools.php

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Whitney Loewen for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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