Can a School Refuse to Enrol a Student?

The short answer is ‘yes’, a school can refuse to enrol a student.  School boards assign ‘catchment areas’ for each school, and the families who live within the catchment area are entitled to attend that school.  There are very few exceptions, but they do exist.  Sometimes, a school is so overcrowded that there is no room for new families moving into the neighbourhood.  Those families may be declined a placement, even if it is their local school.

The situation is slightly different for specialty programs.  Programs such as French Immersion may use a lottery system to select students if there are more families who are interested in the program than spaces available.  Those students who do not get a space in the program may not be allowed to enrol in the school.  Specialty and alternative schools may also use a lottery to determine which students are eligible to enrol.  Some specialty schools may have other requirements, such as an audition process or specific pre-requisites for entry.

Finally, students who have been expelled from a particular school can be declined re-entry to that school.

Source: People for Education

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