Policies to Consider for your School

As an independent or private school operating within the Ontario Ministry of Education, it is essential to have policies and procedures in place that promote a safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment for your students. Policies serve as the framework for how your school operates and can help to establish expectations and guidelines for behaviour, decision-making, and communication.

In order to operate within the Ministry’s regulations, private schools must adhere to a range of policies, from admission and curriculum policies to health and safety and financial policies. These policies help ensure that your school meets the requirements set out by the Ministry, while also providing a clear roadmap for how your school operates. Some resources that these policies are built from include Growing Success (2010), Ontario Schools: Policy and Program Requirements (2016), Policy/Program Memoranda, the Ontario Human Rights Code, and others.

In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, having policies in place can also help to promote a positive school culture and support the academic success and well-being of your students. Policies can provide a sense of structure and consistency, which can be particularly important for students who may be transitioning from other schools or educational systems.

Moreover, well-crafted policies can help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings between students, staff, and parents, and provide a clear pathway for addressing concerns or disputes that may arise. They can also promote accountability and transparency, helping to build trust and confidence in your school’s leadership and management.

Having a robust and comprehensive set of policies in place is essential for any independent or private school in Ontario. It provides a framework for decision-making and can help promote a safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment for all students.

Here are 12 policies to consider developing for your school:

  1. Admission Policy: The school should have a clear policy on student admission, including the criteria for acceptance and the process for reviewing applications.
  2. Curriculum Policy: The school should follow the curriculum guidelines set by the Ministry of Education and develop a policy outlining assessments, grading, pedagogical approaches to learning and details on how the curriculum is delivered. Make sure the policy is appropriate for different grade levels and/or subjects.
  3. Faculty Policy: The school should have a policy for hiring and retaining staff, including qualifications, credentials, performance evaluations and other human resource issues.
  4. Health and Safety Policy: The school should have policies and procedures in place to ensure the health and safety of students, staff, and visitors.
  5. Student Conduct Policy: The school should have a policy outlining acceptable behaviour for students, as well as consequences for unacceptable behaviour. This can be customized for different settings, like on field trips, outdoors, in the gymnasium, etc.
  6. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy: The school should have a policy outlining how it will prevent discrimination and harassment based on race, gender, religion, and other factors. It should include ways to instill diversity, equity and inclusion into school routines.
  7. Complaints and Appeals Policy: The school should have a process for receiving and responding to complaints and appeals from students, parents, and staff. This is important to link to your enrollment contract.
  8. Financial Policy: The school should have a policy outlining its financial management procedures, including budgeting, accounting, and auditing.
  9. Communication Policy: The school should have a policy outlining how it will communicate with students, parents, and staff, including the use of social media, email, and other forms of communication.
  10. Records Management Policy: The school should have a policy outlining how it will manage student records and other confidential information. There are some Ministry of Education policies that are required to be followed, especially as pertains the Ontario Student Record (OSR) and Ontario Student Transcript (OST).
  11. Technology Policy: The school should have a policy outlining the use of technology in the classroom, including guidelines for internet use, device policies, and security protocols.
  12. Emergency Preparedness Policy: The school should have a policy outlining emergency procedures, including lockdowns, evacuations, and other safety measures.

If you’ve just read this blog post, it’s likely that you’re interested in developing policies in your private or independent school. The Independent and Private School Forum (IPSF) offers tailored support to educators just like you who are looking to make a positive impact in their schools. By joining our Forum, you’ll gain access to a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about education and making a difference in the lives of students. Our team of experts can provide you with the necessary guidance and resources to help you develop effective policies that will improve the learning experience for your students. We welcome you to join us and be part of this dynamic community. Let’s work together to make a difference!

Book a consultation by emailing info@ipsf.ca