Consider School Rankings Before Choosing a Neighbourhood

One of the most important considerations for any family looking for a new home is the question of school rank and the quality of education available for your children. In Ontario, all elementary schools are assessed based on Grade 3 and Grade 6 testing, and province wide rankings are made available each year. Secondary schools in each community are similarly ranked based on Grade 9 tests, and the results can be quite telling, showing trends upward or downward as well as any school's standing in relation to other schools in the vicinity.

The danger of the rankings is that they are performance-based, and may not accurately reflect recent in curriculum or policy. Miniscule differences in performance can move a school's position several spots in either direction, and dynamic efforts to redirect overall performance may not be immediately evident, and could require a span of several years to be accurately reported.

By using the statewide rankings in conjunction with local impressions and actual school visits, however, parents should be in a better position to judge the quality of local schools. By all standards, Oakville has some exemplary schools. Iroquois Ridge, Oakville Trafalgar and Abbey Park High Schools are listed as the top three secondary schools in the area, with a total of 9 public and private schools surveyed.

High Marks for French Immersion

Interestingly, on the elementary level, all but one of the top five schools offers the French Immersion Program from Grades 1-8. These are the high-ranking schools and the neighbourhoods where they are located:

Munns Elementary draws students from Iroquois Ridge and Falgarwood, even though it is not physically located in either neighbourhood.

E.J. James is in the Oakville East community in Eastlake. It is a Grade 1-8 school, fully French Immersion, and is a top rated school in an affluent neighbourhood. It also serves students from Morrison, Charnwood and Maplegrove.

James W. Hill , located in Clearview, is a great school in a pleasant family-friendly community that provides a stable environment for raising children. The French Immersion program is not mandatory here, and there is kindergarten.

West Oak Public School is the only non-French Immersion school in the top 10. Homes in this area, are varied in price and style. It is a good community, offering townhomes and semi-detached homes at reasonable prices, in addition to detached family homes priced from $500,000 to $1.5 million.

Forest Trail Public School , also in West Oak Trails, is a total French Immersion school. The school boundaries in this neighbourhood are confusing, so if you're are adamant about being in a particular attendance zone, be certain to check boundary lines carefully.

Catholic elementary schools with the highest ratings are St. Luke, St. Vincent's, St. Andrew, St. Michael's, St. Marguerite d'Youville and St. Bernadette.