School Review and FAQ

List of 25 frequently asked questions.

  • Do you have to be French to come to TFS?

    No. While some TFS families have a French background, the large majority of students come from an Anglophone home and often, other languages are also spoken at home.
  • What are the entry years to your school?

    Students with little to no previous knowledge of French can enter TFS up to and including Grade 7. Students starting in JK up to Grade 7 will enter our Intro French program, which brings students up to a bilingual standard in just one year, while still following their grade’s curriculum. The following year, the student moves up to the next grade level, joining his/her whole class.

    Students who are bilingual in French and English can join TFS in any grade, even in the high school grades.
  • When does homework start?

    In PK and JK, parents can expect to see informal homework, such as a library book to read together. Formal homework begins in Grade 1 with approximately 10 minutes a night.

    The amount of homework gradually increases on average by 10 minutes a night as students move up through the grade levels.
  • How can I help my child with his/her homework if I don’t understand French?

    The majority of our parents do not speak French, so this is a common situation. The homework aims to practise or review a lesson that was taught during the day. It is not new material that students must learn on their own. The teacher explains the homework and makes sure that the children bring home the required materials, before going home. From early on, students are taught to use an agenda to develop their organizational skills. If material is not understood, it should be brought back to the teacher for further learning. Since homework is the responsibility of the student, not the parents, we find that our students become independent learners and resourceful problem-solvers from an early age.
  • How can I get involved in my child’s education if I do not speak French?

    The TFS community is largely anglophone, yet widely diverse, with our families collectively speaking more than 60 languages. There are many opportunities for parents to become involved at the school, including volunteering with the Parents’ Association, attending a Principals’ Breakfast session, or joining in mindfulness training for parents. As well, there are many points during the year when you will meet your child’s teachers, watch your child shine at a concert, dance, fashion or art show, or join in at an international potluck for families or one of our special cultural weeks.
  • Because the program at TFS is largely in French, do students’ English skills suffer?

    Au contraire! Students begin English-language studies in Grade 2, and on the Canadian Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), taken by students across Canada in Grades 3, 5 and 7, our students consistently perform in the 99th percentile. As well, research shows that students who are immersed in a second language at school find that their English-language skills are actually stronger.
  • What is the percentage of French vs. English being taught throughout the grades?

    Starting in Jardin d’éveil (age 2) to Grade 1, our program is entirely in French. Our educators communicate with children in English only when needed, for instance to comfort a child or when safety is an issue. From Grade 2 to Level II (Grade 9), 70% of the subjects such as math, science, history and geography are taught in French, and 30% of the program is in English, representing approximately one hour a day of formal English instruction. From Level III to Level V (Grade 10-12), the percentage is more flexible, depending on what course options students choose. Students often elect to take some of their sciences courses in English, if available.
  • What kind of French will the children learn?

    Our students learn an international standard French, with course materials largely drawing from the French national curriculum. That said, one of the distinct advantages for our students is that their educators are from all parts of the French-speaking world, including France, Belgium, Quebec, and Francophone countries in Africa, among others. Throughout their time at TFS, students are exposed to many different French accents, yet they will be perfectly bilingual, and able to study at top universities in English or French programs in Canada, U.S. and Europe.
  • How well do students do in math and science if they are taught in French?

    Our graduates are taught in both languages and use both languages interchangeably at the Senior School at TFS. They have learned the terminology of the various subjects in both languages and are therefore comfortable in the subjects regardless of the language of instruction.
  • What is the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB) ?

    As a school that is accredited by the Ministry of France, TFS students have the opportunity to take the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB), which is a series of examinations in support of the curriculum of France. The DNB assesses the knowledge and skills students have acquired by the end of middle school, and includes tests in math, French, history-geography, science and an oral exercise that could focus on art or citizenship. Tests are externally marked, providing students with an external measure of their competencies, skills and knowledge. As well, students gain the opportunity to broaden their academic portfolio with a recognized diploma from France.
  • My child is identified as gifted. How will my child be challenged at TFS?

    Many of our students are identified as gifted prior to joining TFS. All TFS students follow a curriculum that is challenging, following the curricula of France and Ontario through the framework established by the IB programs.

    Families often discover TFS when they are researching schools known for an enriched, challenging program at a time when their child has been identified as gifted.

    Your child will be in good company at TFS, with other students who are also looking to be challenged. Learning French at a mother tongue level and following an enriched curriculum is a good way to keep students stimulated and engaged!

    A resource such as our Learning Forum helps all students become better, stronger learners, and supports teachers in providing differentiated learning at all grades. Students who are particularly strong in an academic area may be able to learn at an accelerated rate, and may take on the challenge of additional coursework beyond their current level.
  • Do you have geographic boundaries in terms of where a family must live to attend the school?

    No. Students attending the Toronto Campus come from all parts of the GTA. Students at our West Campus, located in Mississauga, generally live in the West end including Mississauga, Oakville and Etobicoke.
  • Where do the teachers come from and what are their qualifications?

    Our teachers are all qualified teachers, with a minimum of a Bachelor of Education. Many of our teachers hold specialist or advanced degrees.
  • What does it mean that TFS is an accredited independent school?

    As an independent school, TFS is a not-for-profit organization with a Board of Directors who oversee our Head of School. No profits are generated, and all tuition fees are entirely invested into the program and for the benefit of our students. In order to expand our program offerings or improve our facilities, we rely on fundraising.

    We are accredited by a number of educational organizations such as the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), Council of International Schools (CIS), Ontario Ministry of Education and French Ministry of Education (up to Level II/Grade 9). We are accredited and regularly inspected by these bodies to ensure that we meet the strictest operational guidelines, as well as deliver on our objectives.
  • Is TFS ranked against other schools in Canada?

    EQAO testing and subsequent ranking of schools are done within the Ontario public school system. As the Ministry of Education states, “the EQAO is used to help improve student achievement and ensure the accountability of public school boards.”

    Similarly, the Fraser Institute ranks public schools in some the Canadian provinces. TFS often does not appear in these rankings, but we like to let our students’ successes speak for themselves.

    Our students participate in a national standardized test, the Canadian Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), in Grades 3, 5 and 7. We consistently rank in the 99th percentile compared to schools across the country.
  • What is the mix of boys and girls?

    Each grade level in the school is different, however, the gender split is typically 48:52 (boys:girls). We strive to maintain a balance between boys and girls with our yearly recruitment.
  • Who do you compete against in sports?

    TFS Toronto is part of the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association (CISAA) including schools all the way to the Niagara region, and TFS’ West Campus compete within the Private Schools Athletic Association (PSAA).
  • Does a child need to be really good at a sport to participate in team sports at TFS?

    TFS offers competitive sports starting in Grade 3. However, our philosophy is to encourage participation of all students. We have recreational, development and competitive sport teams, so that students who are athletically focused have every chance to hone their skills and compete at top-tier levels.
  • Do you participate in various academic and arts competitions?

    TFS participates each year in the Conference of Independent Schools Music Festival, Model UN conferences (including our own!), and TFS students participate in a number of different mathematics competitions. In addition, there are many different competitions and showcases in which students can participate.
  • What is the difference between TFS’ immersion program and the public system?

    As the pioneers of French immersion in Canada, TFS offers a unique type of immersion, what we like to call a program “beyond French immersion.” We teach French at a mother tongue level and the expectations are that our students live and participate in school life using the French language as much as possible. In fact, when a study of our students was undertaken by researchers at York University, they found that our students learn French as a first language, as opposed to a second language. The intensity of their experience in a French environment helps facilitate their language acquisition, fluency and comfort level.
  • Do you help international applicants obtain immigration and/or visa documents for your international applicants?

    Families must complete their visa applications independently of the school.
  • Is the TOEFL exam part of the application?

    No. However, the applicant must demonstrate a good command of the English language.
  • Are the tuition fees different for an international applicant?

    No, tuition fees as listed are the same for all applicants. The application fee for international applicants is $250 ($200 for domestic applicants).
  • Should my child be tutored to take the entrance assessment?

    We strongly recommend that students do not study for the entrance assessment. Our goal is to find the right fit for your child, so no prior studying is necessary.
  • How do you facilitate the transition of a new student?

    Students and their parents of students from Jardin d'éveil to Grade 5 are invited to a welcome day on the first day of school, with activities where they can meet other students and their teachers. Students joining the Senior School will engage in a day of welcome activities led by our WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Leaders. As well, students in all grades participate in mentorship sessions, along with a mentor teacher and a small group of students from different classes, so that they can meet and learn alongside even more of their peers.