Moving to Montreal with children? How do you navigate the often-tricky Quebec educational system.
The Christina Miller Real Estate Group often works with families relocating to Montreal. We spoke with educational consultants Giselle Murphy and Emily Ritchie from Murphy & Ritchie Educational Consulting about some of the difficulties families face when relocating to Montreal.
The quality and availability of schools are major factors in a family’s decision to relocate. One of the main concerns relocating clients face in moving to Montreal is understanding the complex Quebec education system and Bill 115; Quebec’s Charter of the French Language and Eligibility Laws. Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions one faces as a parent. The restrictions imposed by Bill 115 make the decision even more stressful and difficult in Quebec.
French is the first language of over 80% of the population of Québec. In addition to being the language of everyday life in most regions of Québec, French is the language of educational instruction.
“In its simplest form, the Charter states that all children must be educated in French until the end of their secondary studies, whether in a public school or a subsidized private school”, explains Emily Ritchie. The Charter does not apply to Québec’s colleges and universities or non-subsidized private institutions. “The majority of our clients relocating have children in elementary and/or highschool and are often overwhelmed by both the number of school options and the restrictions that they face” says Giselle Murphy. “The Charter does provide for certain special cases where children are permitted to pursue their elementary and secondary school education in English at English-language public schools or subsidized private schools.”
“When we were considering our move to Montreal from the United States, one of our major concerns was understanding the educational laws. Our daughter was entering Grade 2 and it was important for us to understand whether or not she would eventually gain access to an English secondary school. She had had limited exposure to French and we worried about having to put her in an all French school. Emily and Giselle helped us understand our options and the consequences of the decisions we would make. Some schools allow you to earn eligibility, some have plans to become independent from government subsidies. This is all information we could not have easily known without them.”.
Using educational consultants like Ms Murphy and Ms Ritchie, has become more common practice. The restrictions placed on students by the Quebec government make their role even more beneficial to our clients. Choosing schools and neighbourhoods goes hand-in-hand and working with a real estate agent and an educational consultant can make the transition to a foreign city much smoother.
Decisions about your child’s education should be exciting, not overwhelming. Murphy & Ritchie, based in Montreal, work with you to help make informed decisions. Learn about Murphy & Ritchie HERE.