Saskatchewan's educational system is based on the principle that all children regardless of skin colour, gender and ability, have equal rights and deserve equal opportunities. Children who have reached seven (7) years of age must, by law, be registered in an education program until they reach the age of sixteen (16). Most children start school when they are younger than seven. Youth may continue to attend school up to the age of 22.
The Ministry of Education oversees education for the province and ensures that all teachers in Saskatchewan have a Professional “A” Certificate in order to teach students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Schools usually operate from late August until near the end of June and there are approximately 200 days of school every year. Classes are usually held from Monday to Friday but not on Saturdays and Sundays.
In Saskatchewan, schools are organized into school divisions. Look at this map to see the location of each school division in Saskatchewan. You can also find links to school divisions' websites below the map.
School divisions make important decisions for the schools in their school division or geographic area of the province. Each school division is managed by a school board. Board members are elected by members of the community. The Board employs a Director, one or more superintendent(s), education consultants, and teaching and administrative staff. The Board can determine the opening and closing dates of schools, and the schedule of operation for the semesters and school year.
Each school division in Saskatchewan is responsible for:
- delivery of education
- maintaining school buildings and facilities
- hiring and supervising all people employed by their school division, including teachers, support staff, and administrators
- creating policies and programs to meet the needs of students and parents
In Saskatchewan, a publicly-funded Prekindergarten to Grade 12 school system provides a free education for permanent Saskatchewan residents and children of temporary foreign workers. For persons on a student or visitor visa, there will be a fee for your children to attend school. For additional information on tuition fees, please check with your local school division.
To find out more about Saskatchewan’s school system, you can read Education in Saskatchewan: A Quick Reference for Newcomers, as well as Your Child's Education in Saskatchewan: A Handbook for Recent Immigrants. Both documents are available in a variety of different languages and are posted on the Ministry of Education’s website.
Structure of Schools in Saskatchewan
Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten
Some schools operate a Pre-kindergarten program for three to five year old children, which are supported by the Ministry of Education and school divisions. There is no fee for the program and transportation may be provided. The school divisions use a selection process to register a maximum of 16 children for a minimum of 12 hours per week. English as a second language is usually considered one of the selection criteria. Children whose home language is not English may be given preference in registering in these programs.
Most schools in Saskatchewan offer a Kindergarten program to five year old children. There is no cost for Kindergarten. School divisions may offer Kindergarten for half-days every day or full-days every other day of the week. Parents can choose whether or not to send their children to Kindergarten.
Elementary, Middle and Secondary Levels
In Saskatchewan, the levels of education are referred to as “elementary level” (grades 1 to 5), “middle level” (grades 6 to 9) and “secondary level” (grades 10 to 12). Schools can be organized in different ways and may offer some or all of the levels. Secondary level education is often called high school.
Completing high school is an important step toward further education and training. Legally, children must continue their education until they are 16 years old.
Schools teach a wide variety of subjects including literature, math, science, geography, history, social sciences, arts education (including drama and music), physical education, languages, and “practical and applied arts” (carpentry, mechanics, and drafting).
Mature students over the age of 18 who did not complete their Grade 12 education, may work towards an Adult 12 or General Educational Development (GED) showing they have the equivalency of a Grade 12 education, and can register in a post-secondary educational institution.
Options for Children’s Education
While the options may vary depending on where you live, in many parts of Saskatchewan, you need to decide whether you want your child to go to a public school or a separate school. Both types of schools are publicly-funded in Saskatchewan. Public schools provide education with no religious instruction and separate schools provide education with religious instruction. In Saskatchewan, the separate schools are primarily Catholic. There are approximately fourteen Catholic separate school boards in the province. These school boards educate over 37,000 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Some independent schools provide Christian religious studies. There are also some independent schools that provide Muslim religious studies such as the Saskatoon Misbah School and the Regina Huda School. Parents usually pay tuition fees for their children to attend these independent schools. There is a list of independent schools on the Ministry of Education website.
You may choose a French-language education for your children. Francophone schools are available for students whose first language is French and in some other situations. Francophone schools are publicly funded. French immersion programs are available for students who want to learn French as a second language. Most public schools and separate schools also offer French classes as part of the overall program of study.
In Saskatoon, Ukrainian-English education is offered to students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 at Bishop Filevich Ukrainian Bilingual School.
The Saskatoon Public School Division also offers Cree Immersion. Cree is the most widely spoken language of First Nations (indigenous people) in Saskatchewan. First Nations have schools located on reserves. These schools are administered by the bands and/or Tribal Councils.
Distance education courses at the secondary level are available from a number of Saskatchewan school divisions. You can find more information about distance education at www.skdistancelearning.ca.
Home schooling is also an option for those parents who have sincerely-held religious or philosophical beliefs that cannot be met in a public school and who wish to take responsibility for their children’s education. Parents must register with their local school division and follow the regulations established by the Ministry of Education. For more information about home schooling, please visit www.education.gov.sk.ca/ISHBE.
English or French Support for Children in School
Many schools throughout Saskatchewan offer English classes called “English as an Additional Language (EAL)”. The students attend regular classes, but receive additional language instruction according to their individual needs. Students over the age of 18 who need English language instruction should contact their local high school or regional college in order to find out what types of programs are available.
Support at school is also available for students whose language of instruction is French.
Additional Support for Students
Student diversity is valued and accepted in Saskatchewan. Schools in Saskatchewan help students who need additional learning supports or services in a variety of ways. In general, parents do not pay for the additional tools or services the school decides the children need.
Your child’s school division will assess the level of support or assistance needed and will provide resources.
Students who need additional support follow the regular program of instruction as much as possible. Sometimes, if the school decides that it is needed, they may give your child different materials, teachers, or learning environments.
If your child experiences developmental delays or is at risk for developmental delays, the Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) can help. ECIP staff are located throughout Saskatchewan. They link families of children with special needs with professional help, such as medical specialists, speech pathologists, nurses, and psychologists.
Your child's school may also decide that special equipment is needed. For example, children in wheelchairs may need special work tables and children who are blind may need Braille materials. You can find out more about this program at Student Support Services.
School divisions in Saskatchewan also support academically talented students by providing:
- enriched academic programs within the regular classroom
- teaching methods that further develop academic abilities
- individual or group lessons in “advanced” courses
Parents who are new to Saskatchewan should always speak with their child’s teacher or school principal if they have questions about education.
Family involvement in education is important in Canada because it helps students complete their studies successfully. Parents are welcome to volunteer their time and talents to help the school or their child’s teacher in the classroom in a variety of ways. To find out what you can do, speak with your child’s teacher or school principal.
Schools try to keep parents or guardians informed about activities at the school. Schools may publish regular newsletters with important notices and reminders or put announcements on the school’s website. Parents are encouraged to read the newsletters or check the website to be informed about events at their child’s school.
School community councils (including parents, school staff and community members) make decisions, provide advice, and develop plans for their local school. These councils are made up of parents, school staff and community members.
Schools communicate regularly with parents or guardians about student progress. This may be formal, such as written progress reports, or informally through telephone calls or visits. Parent-teacher interviews and conferences that include parents, the student, and the teacher are arranged by the school to discuss progress reports. This is a regular part of schooling in Saskatchewan. All parents are asked to come to the school to learn about their child’s progress.
It is important for parents to provide updated contact information to the school when moving, such as new home telephone numbers and cell phone numbers.
For more information on parent involvement in school and other information on parenting, visit Parenting in Saskatchewan.
Attendance at School
You have the right to keep your child at home for religious holy days, if the child has a medical or dental appointment, or if your child is sick. If there are school activities which are contrary to your religious beliefs or philosophy, you can ask that your child not take part in them.
Students are expected to arrive at school on time and attend regularly. If your child is absent, you must report it to the school on that day by contacting the school as early as possible.
Guidelines are in place to promote respect and safety for children, teachers, staff and school property. Discrimination, racism, bullying, and harassment are not tolerated. Students and staff cannot be physically or verbally abused. Generally, Saskatchewan schools approach discipline through kindness and fairness. No physical discipline is used with students. Violence is not tolerated under any circumstances.
Schools in Saskatchewan are committed to gender equality, and student diversity is both valued and accepted. The school system is committed to respect all students of ethno-cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs. Saskatchewan schools teach First Nations and Métis (indigenous) subjects, perspectives and ways of knowing.
Students are expected to arrive at school on time and attend regularly. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain proper behaviour in speech and actions while in school, and to study diligently, including completing any homework assigned by the teacher.
Appropriate Clothes to Wear to School
In Saskatchewan, boys and girls share classrooms. They do not wear uniforms, but schools have expectations of what is appropriate and acceptable clothing to wear to school.
Saskatchewan winter can be severe. Warm appropriate clothing, such as coats, boots, mitts, caps, and scarves, is essential. On extremely cold days, students may stay indoors during recess and during the lunch hour.