Schools Matter, Whether You Have Kids or Not
Schools and home valuation are tied to each other, so knowing about the schools in a neighbourhood you're considering is important even if you don't have kids. Homes in great school catchments sell for more, and more quickly. If you're a parent or planning to have kids soon, you probably don't need us to tell you that schools are key for families shopping for a home. Parents are often willing to pay top dollar for homes in great school catchments, and compromise on other factors in order to make that happen.
Researching schools before you buy
Depending on the city, school catchment boundaries can be firm - the school boundaries your home is in are the only public schools your kids can attend. Other school boards or individual schools allow out-of-boundary applications. And in some areas, particularly brand new housing developments, the local school can be full or not built yet, and your children may be temporarily assigned to another school, which could be pretty far away.
Our SchoolLife Neighbourhood Guides and our School Profiles provide a wealth of information about schools in neighbourhoods overall as well as each individual school. In the School Report for a particular address, you can find out what school catchments apply to that home, and what other school options exist, like specialty arts schools, religious schools, and private schools. We also provide links to the school websites so you can check into the school further and contact them to find out about visiting the school, the teachers at the school, and any specific attendance requirements.
To quickly and easily find information on a particular school, just search for the school's name in the HoodQ Hub search bar to see its School Profile. You can also search for a neighbourhood to see the school information for the neighbourhood overall, and then click into each School Profile.
When you're doing your research, be sure to check out the schools for all grade levels - your preschooler will eventually attend middle and high school, and the families who might buy your home in several years could have kids of any age.
What makes a good school?
Most people think of school scores first. For Ontario, scores are based on results provided by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), an Ontario provincial agency, and standardized testing occurs in grade 3, 6, 9, and 10.
But a school is more than a score. Are you interested in special programs like French Immersion or Montessori? Would you and your kids prefer a smaller school where everyone knows everyone, or a larger school with the most comprehensive program options? The best way to get to know a school is to visit it, but there's plenty you can find out online from HoodQ and the school itself beforehand.
Your real estate agent will be able to tell you what local families think of the schools and the teachers, and if there are any hidden gem schools you wouldn't otherwise know about.