Newfoundland & Labrador School System

Newfoundland & Labrador School System

The school system in Newfoundland and Labrador offers K-12 and post-secondary education. The K-12 system consists of 260 public schools, 3 First Nations schools, and 7 private schools, offering education to 63,722 students. There are two school boards, Francophone and English.


Students begin kindergarten at the age of 5 and continue through grades 1 – 12, moving from primary to high school. While most schools in the province are publicly-funded, private schools also offer K-12 programs. French immersion programs are available in English schools as well.

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District consists of 4 regional offices, including St. John’s, Gander, Corner Brook, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Their staff is responsible for areas such as information technology, facilities, finances, human resources, and programming. Established in 2013, the board oversees secondary and primary education in the province, with jurisdiction over a body of over 65,000 students. It combines 4 boards that previously existed, the Western, Labrador, Eastern, and Nova Central School Boards.

Maximum class sizes are: grades 7 – 9: 31, grades 4 – 6: 28, grades 1 – 3: 20. The current pupil – teacher ratio is 12.4.

When it comes to early childhood programs, different forms are available in the province, including family child care agencies, family child care, and child care centres. The latter offer services either full-time or part-time. Family child care homes also operate in the province to offer temporary care or supervision of children. They are regulated either by the Family Child Care Agency or an Early Learning and Child Development Division. Different programs are available as well, one being Healthy Baby Clubs. The goal of the program is to offer support and guidance to families with the help of regional nutritionists, public health nurses, and family resource centre team members.

The Operating Grant Program aims to make education widely accessible and affordable by offering lower rates for school-age children, pre-schoolers, toddlers, and infants.

Postsecondary Education

The province is the home to a number of colleges and universities and a preferred choice because of the affordable cost of tuition, room and board, and living expenses. Universities offer Bachelor’s Degrees and Doctoral and Master’s Degrees. Publicly-funded colleges offer vocational programs across different areas, including social services, skilled trades, technology, applied arts, etc. There are also institutes for students who wish to enrol in programs in fields such as agriculture, paramedical technology, and fisheries. Some colleges feature applied degree and bachelor’s programs as well. Good institutions of higher education in Newfoundland and Labrador are the Memorial University of Newfoundland, College of North Atlantic, and Western College. Student aid is available to part-time and full-time students, including grants and loans, with additional benefits offered to students with permanent disabilities.

Distant Learning

The Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is responsible for K-12 education in Newfoundland and Labrador. A total of 1,140 students enrolled in 44 courses in 2018 – 19. The main method of education is synchronous instruction. The centre is tasked with developing and offering technology integration initiatives, teacher professional development, and high school distance education. At present, students enrolled in 103 schools are offered 38 courses, and the majority of students live in isolated, remote, and rural areas.

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