Ontario Newsroom

Helping Youth Return To School And Graduate

Archived Bulletin

Helping Youth Return To School And Graduate

McGuinty Government Ensuring More Students Succeed In School

Ministry of Education

Ontario youth experiencing unique challenges but who want to return to school will now have greater support from their local school and board to help them re-enter the education system and succeed in the long term.

New school board requirements will provide more structure, clarity and consistency for excused pupils throughout the province. School boards will now be required to offer teens aged 14 to 17 who have been excused from school for a lengthy period of time with:

  • a transition plan to help re-engage with the school system,
  • an individual learning plan approved by a board committee,
  • monthly monitoring to assess their progress,
  • an identified board or school contact to help guide and support them.

Recognized alternative learning opportunities for these students may include workplace certifications, full or part-time employment at approved workplaces, volunteering, and participation in life skills courses and counselling.

Helping students reach their full potential is an important part of the Open Ontario Plan.   Students who remain engaged in learning -- even under difficult circumstances -- are more likely to perform well in school, graduate and go on to postsecondary education. 

Quick Facts

  • The new requirements for school boards to help youth who want to return to school are outlined in the Supervised Alternative Learning And Other Excusals From Attendance At School regulation.
  • Youth must attend school until the age of 18 or until graduation unless excused for accepted compelling reasons such as illness, or satisfactory instruction at home.
  • 37 school boards offered programming for excused students in 2008-09.
  • In 2007-08, there were about 2,100 students excused across the province.

Additional Resources


“Our government understands how important a good education is - especially in today's knowledge economy. To give young Ontarians their best chance at success in life, our government has put in place Student Success programs, a re-engagement strategy and other opportunities such as Supervised Alternative Learning.”

Leona Dombrowsky

Minister of Education

Media Contacts



Education and Training Home and Community Children and Youth Women