Ontario School Rankings

A common concern for parents when moving and buying a house is what the best school options are for the kids, especially if you want your kids to attend the best public schools in the neighbourhood. This could mean consulting EQAO test scores or the Fraser Institute School Rankings or searching for schools with additional programs, such as French Immersion programs.

School Catchment Area

A major factor for families to consider when choosing where to buy a house is the quality of schools in the neighbourhood. Each school has its own "school catchment area", which is the area that maps out who is eligible to attend based on their home address. Homes located within the boundaries of desirable schools are highly sought after and can be more expensive compared to other areas. 

However, just being in a school’s attendance boundary does not guarantee that you will be assigned to that school. Capacity limits might mean that you are assigned to a different school if your original school is full.

If your school board allows Optional Attendance, you may be able to send your child to a different school, rather than the school assigned to you based on your address. Your request will need to be approved by the school board, and is dependent on whether the school still has space.

Fraser Institute School Rankings

The Fraser Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank, examines education policy through their report cards on Ontario elementary and secondary schools. The Fraser Institute's elementary school rankings are based on EQAO reading, writing, and math test scores in grade 3 and in grade 6. Their secondary school rankings are based on EQAO math test scores in grade 9 and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

Their ranking makes it easy for families to compare schools, and makes it straight-forward to see which schools are more effective in their teaching. Parents can also look at historical results to see how schools are doing over time. 

Not all Ontario schools are ranked by the Fraser Institute. Elementary schools that do not have students in grade 6 are not included in the Ontario Elementary School Rankings. This can be due to the region's school board having middle schools, senior public schools, or junior high schools, which may include students from grade 6 to grade 9. These schools are excluded from the rankings.

Private schools, and First Nations operated and federally funded schools are not required to conduct EQAO tests, and so are excluded. Schools with less than 10 students enrolled per grade are also excluded.

The best ranked Ontario high school in 2019 was Havergal in Toronto, and the best ranked high school in 2020 was Wali ul Asr in Caledon. The best ranked elementary school in Ontario in 2019 was Al-Risala in Mississauga, and for 2018 it was Ahlul Bayt Islamic in Ottawa.

Ontario Elementary School Rankings (Fraser Institute Report Card)

RankSchool (2018)City (2018)School (2019)City (2019)School (2020)City (2020)
1St Michael’s ChoirTorontoAl-RisalaMississaugaAhlul Bayt IslamicOttawa
2Abbey ParkOakvilleAvondale AlternativeTorontoAhmadiyyaMississauga
3St RobertThornhillHavergalTorontoAl-AmeenBrampton
4Colonel ByGloucesterIQRA IslamicMississaugaAl-FalahOakville
5St Therese of LisieuxRichmond HillIslamic FoundationAjaxApplewoodSt Catharines
6Ursula FranklinTorontoIslamic Institute of TorontoTorontoAvondale AlternativeToronto
7Ange-GabrielBrockvilleIslamic School of CambridgeCambridgeIQRA IslamicMississauga
8ConfédérationWellandKhalsa CommunityBramptonIslamic FoundationAjax
9BayviewRichmond HillKhalsa School MaltonMississaugaISNA IslamicMississauga
10St Joseph'sRenfrewLagganDalkeithKhalsa CommunityBrampton

Source: Fraser Institute School Rankings

Note: In cases of a tie, the above table ranks based on alphabetical order. For 2019, 16 elementary schools tied for first place. The other schools that ranked first are: Northmount, Safa & Marwa, Sathya Sai, St Justin Martyr, St Mildred's-Lightbourn, and St Sebastian.

For 2020, 17 elementary schools tied for first place. The other schools that ranked first are: Khalsa School Malton, Safa & Marwa, Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys, Satha Sai, St Justin Martyr, St Mildred's-Lightbourn, and Whitney.

Ontario High School Rankings (Fraser Institute Report Card)

RankSchool (2018)City (2018)School (2019)City (2019)School (2020)City (2020)
1St Michael’s ChoirTorontoHavergalTorontoWali ul AsrCaledon
2Abbey ParkOakvilleWali ul AsrCaledonSt Michael’s ChoirToronto
3St RobertThornhillSt Michael’s ChoirTorontoMarkvilleMarkham
4Colonel ByGloucesterColonel ByGloucesterCanadian Intl. School of Hong KongHong Kong
5St Therese of LisieuxRichmond HillUrsula FranklinTorontoISNAMississauga
6Ursula FranklinTorontoSt RobertTorontoColonel ByGloucester
7Ange-GabrielBrockvilleMarkvilleMarkhamUrsula FranklinToronto
8ConfédérationWellandOakville TrafalgarOakvilleBayviewRichmond Hill
9BayviewRichmond HillNorth TorontoTorontoSt Therese of LisieuxRichmond Hill
10St Joseph'sRenfrewSt Therese of LisieuxRichmond HillAbbey ParkOakville

Source: Fraser Institute School Rankings

Note: In cases of a tie, the above table ranks based on alphabetical order. For 2020, two schools tied for tenth place, Abbey Park of Oakville and Iroquois Ridge of Oakville.

EQAO School Rankings

The Education Quality and Accountability Office, and agency of the Government of Ontario, provides annual standardized tests for students in grade 3, 6, 9, and 10. Tests are given for both French-language and English-language school systems.

Grade 3 and Grade 6 EQAO tests are based on literacy and math, including reading and writing. The grade 9 EQAO test only tests math, and is in the first year of secondary school. The grade 10 test is based on literacy, and is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. Passing this test is required for graduating from high school.

Students attending public schools are required to take EQAO tests. Students at private schools and federally-funded First Nations schools are not required to take EQAO tests.

EQAO results are used to help identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, and are used by teachers and school administrators to improve teaching and learning. Results for individual schools and school boards can be found at EQAO.com.

School Rankings and Home Prices

Homes in the catchment area of a high ranking school can see premiums above homes elsewhere as parents seek to give their children the best education possible. The New York Times found that a 5% improvement in test scores can raise home prices in the area by 2.5%. Likewise, homes located next to the best-ranked schools in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) cost up to 36% more compared to the city average home price. For Toronto when looking at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), the premium for townhouses next to a top-ranking school can cost up to 42% more compared to the city average.

While these premiums can be quite hefty, going to a quality public school can mean that you can avoid having to send your children to private school. While some private schools in Ontario can cost as little as $10,000 per year, private boarding schools can cost well over $50,000 per year. Purchasing a home near a top-ranked public school can be a worthwhile investment.

Price Premiums For Homes Next to Top-Ranked Schools in the GTA

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Price Premiums For Homes Next to Top-Ranked Schools in Toronto

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Source: MoneySense