What “Ministry Inspected” means & why it matters

With the tumultuous education environment of the 2020s, many families may find themselves exploring alternatives to find the educational platform that is best for their learner. One issue they’re likely to encounter is just how many options exist! With so many educational institutions to choose from, how do you decide? One important way to narrow the field is to look specifically for schools that are Ministry-Inspected, like Ontario Virtual School (BSID #665804).

What does “Ministry-Inspected” mean anyways?

Firstly, know that this is not simply a new buzzword brought about by the recent global shift to online learning. For more than 15 years, the Ontario Ministry of Education has been conducting annual inspections of Ontario schools, both public and private, to ensure that schools comply with Ministry policies. Each year, the list of inspected schools is updated on the Ministry’s website to ensure Ontario families have access to the data they need to make informed decisions about their children’s education. Schools that do not pass inspection are listed here.

How do I know if a private school is “Ministry-Inspected”

There are a number of ways. Typically, schools will proudly display their accreditation report or school number on their website. If they do not or you can’t easily find it, ask! A school representative should be able to easily and readily provide you with their school’s BSID or MIDENT number – the number used by the Ministry and other educational institutions to recognize that school within the provincial framework. If all else fails, or you want to be absolutely sure, you can check the Ministry’s annual list of inspected private schools.

Why should I care if a school is “Ministry-Inspected”

The primary reason is that only schools that have met this requirement are eligible to grant credits toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. While non-accredited schools may teach valuable information, their courses and curricula do not count towards the achievement of the official OSSD. By extension, credits earned in non-accredited schools are often not accepted by colleges and universities.

Attending a Ministry-Inspected school also ensures that your credits are recognized by other secondary schools, allowing students the freedom to change schools freely within Ontario, without needing to backtrack or repeat completed credits.

What does it mean to say a credit is “transferrable”

Credits taken through accredited schools (whether they are public or privately-run) are guaranteed to be transferrable between all Ministry-Inspected schools. This is because these institutions uphold the standards of the province-wide curriculum. By attending a Ministry-Inspected school, you ensure that you are learning material that is considered not only valuable, but of an appropriate difficulty, and structured in a way that follows modern educational understanding and standards.

There are many ways to learn, and many schools that can teach you similar material, but it’s important to understand that when considering your options, only schools who have been certified as “Ministry-Inspected” will provide you with these all-important benefits that come from upholding province-wide educational standards. Do your research ahead of time to ensure that you are getting exactly what you sign up for, with no surprises down the line.