Private vs Independent School

Are you thinking of a private or independent school for your child? And what’s the difference?

Any school that is not part of the public education system, which in Halifax is the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE), is a private school. In Halifax, we typically distinguish a private school as a for-profit organization owned by an individual or group, while an independent school is a not-for-profit organization.

Sacred Heart School of Halifax, which was established in 1849, has a long and storied history as a not-for-profit school founded on the belief of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat that education can transform society. We have built our reputation on providing an education and experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia.

Of course it’s not always the case, but independent and private schools are generally recognized as having smaller class sizes, advanced academics, more individualized or tailored instruction, and a specific mission or set of operating principles that guide the school. At Sacred Heart School of Halifax, all of these are true.

And, we go many steps further.

For instance we offer:

  • single-gender education in Grades 7-12 because research shows and our experience bears out that students at this age learn better this way;
  • double accreditation: through CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) and SHCOG (Sacred Heart Commission on Goals) both of which provide independent validation of our program;
  • unparalleled travel and exchange opportunities as part of a global network of Sacred Heart schools around the world;
  • remarkable history, traditions, and character that give definition to what it means to be a student here;
    an outstanding arts program; and
  • a community filled with faith, hope, and love that supports and cares for one another.

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“We are incredibly grateful that our girls had the privilege to grow up in a school environment that so wonderfully supports, nurtures, and cares for the needs of each individual child. However it was not until after graduation as they transitioned to university that we fully realized the return on our investment in a Sacred Heart education. The impact of their Sacred Heart foundation is evident in their ability to meet any academic challenge, their commitment to social justice, and their confidence to step into leadership and make their mark on the world.”

– Dr. Cathy Driscoll and Dr. Michael Sangster