In St. Thomas-Elgin, there are three school systems that provide kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school education:
- Thames Valley District School Board - Administers public education. Children can attend school in English or French Immersion at all grade levels.
- London District Catholic School Board - Provides public education in English or through French Immersion. Catholic schools include spiritual development and religious foundations in the curriculum. Students from all religious backgrounds are welcome to attend.
- Private schools - Each private school in St. Thomas-Elgin has its own admission requirements and tuition fees and many offer faith-based education programs. International students and newcomers are welcome. For more information about private schools, visit the Ontario Ministry of Education website.
Elementary & Secondary School
Elementary schools provide education from Kindergarten through Grade 8.
When you child is approximately four years old, they can begin junior kindergarten and when they are approximately five years old, they can begin senior kindergarten.
Both the Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board offer full-day kindergarten programs. You should begin the registration process as soon you can show proof of residency in St. Thomas-Elgin. Many schools begin registering new students in February, March, and April for programs that begin in September of the same year.
For more information about kindergarten, see Ontario’s full day kindergarten program.
Typically, when your child is six years old, they will graduate from kindergarten and transition to elementary school. Children begin in Grade 1 and move up one grade per school year until they reach Grade 8 and are approximately 13 years old. Subjects taught in elementary school include English, math, science and technology, social studies, art, music, and physical education. Instruction is available in English or French Immersion at select schools.
Children and youth who do not have strong English language skills may be able to access the English as a Second Language (ESL) program through the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board. Students attend the regular classes for their grade, but will receive some time with an English teacher along with other students in the school who require support.
When your child graduates from elementary school at the end of Grade 8, they will continue their education at secondary school, also known as high school. Secondary schools offer Grades 9 through 12. Some specific courses are required in order to graduate, such as English and math, while other courses can be chosen based on the students’ interests and post-secondary plans.
To see local schools on a map, visit the Explore the Area page.
There are also options for newcomer adults who want to improve their English skills or complete a high school diploma.
Permanent Residents can learn basic conversational English through the free LINC program in St. Thomas and Aylmer. The program uses the Canadian Language Benchmarks system to assess adult learners and help track their progress over time. These classes are organized by YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin and are designed for beginner to intermediate learners. Contact the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin for more details about eligibility.
Adult ESL classes are available through the Thames Valley District School Board at the Balaclava Street Centre for Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education. These classes help adult learners earn high school credits that may be necessary for further post-secondary study or upgrading. Permanent residency is not required, although an intermediate level of English may be helpful for more advanced classes.
University & College
There are excellent university and college options close to St. Thomas-Elgin. Western University is a research-intensive, world-class institution located only 35 minutes away in London, Ontario. Western University is home to the top-ranked Ivey Business School and Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. The university offers many undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs, as well as numerous academic and research job opportunities.
St. Thomas is also home to Fanshawe College's St. Thomas-Elgin campus and is a short drive from the college's main campus in London. Fanshawe College is one of Ontario’s largest colleges, offering many skilled trades, apprenticeship, and training courses. Fanshawe College also offers courses to upgrade your skills or programs for adults who wish to change careers. The close proximity and range of full-time, part-time, and online programs makes it easy and convenient to study.