Going to School Is Mandatory

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In Quebec, children must go to elementary school starting at six years old. However, parents can choose to send their child to kindergarten starting at four years old if they wish.

Beginning at Age Six

Not only do children have the right to go to school, but they are also required to attend. Children must attend elementary school from the first day of the school calendar (usually September) in the school year following that in which they turn six years old.

Until What Age?

Young people must go to school until

  • the end of the school year during which they turn 16, or
  • the end of the school year during which they get their high school diploma, if they are under 16.

Important! Young people cannot quit school the day they turn 16: they must finish the school year.

During the time young people are supposed to be in school, the school principal can notify their parents if they are often absent without an explanation or if they stop going to school. If the student’s attendance does not improve, the principal can also report the situation to the Director of Youth Protection (DYP).

When School Is Optional

Some young people do not have to go to school. Here are some examples:

  • People with certain health problems.
  • People with disabilities or learning difficulties that prevent them from attending school.
  • People with permission to be home-schooled.
  • People who have been expelled from school. (These situations are reported to the Director of Youth Protection.)

Important! People who are not legally required to go to school don’t lose the right to go to school. The law says everyone has a right to a high school education until age 18, and age 21 for people with disabilities.