BC Guide for Independent Schools

Independent School Distributed Learning (DL) Program

Independent Schools Offering DL Programs (PDF, 27KB) as of October 2013

This section includes:

Distributed Learning – A Method of Instruction

Distributed Learning is a method of instruction that relies primarily on indirect communication between students and teachers, including internet or other electronic-based delivery, teleconferencing or correspondence.

Distributed Learning (DL) provides another choice for learning within the current K-12 system. DL takes place outside of the regular classrooms typically when a student is at a distance from the teacher and the school building. Students may opt for distributed learning when they live in remote locations or due to scheduling conflicts for required courses or sometimes because of learning preferences. Students in DL programs have increased flexibility in determining their academic schedule as school calendars are not bound by time and space. Students may enroll at any time during the school year, subject to school policy.

Distributed Learning – Legislative Framework

Authorities of independent schools classified in Group 1, 2 or 4, are enabled to provide all or part of an educational program by means of distributed learning, only with the prior agreement of the minister. A new DL school will be funded as a Group 2 school in the first year of operation upon verification of compliance with the Independent School Act through an external evaluation.

The Independent School Distributed Learning Agreement (PDF, 276KB) and Schedule A - Standards for Delivery of K-12 Independent School Distributed Learning in British Columbia (PDF, 78KB) outline the requirements and expectations for delivering the DL program.

An independent school authority may, upon agreement with the minister, offer instruction by means of DL in:

  • an independent DL school that meets the requirements of Group 1, 2 or 4 classification, for students in K-12. This independent DL school offers instruction by means of DL only.
  • an independent non-DL school that meets the requirements for Group 1, 2 or 4 classification, for students who take courses by means of distributed learning in Grades 10-12.

Independent school authorities operating an Independent DL School must provide the full Graduation Program so that each student can earn the 80 credits required for Graduation through the DL school.

Students in Grade 10-12 taking instruction through DL can be enrolled in courses at more than one independent DL or public DL schools and at the same time can be enrolled in non–DL independent or public schools as well as be registered as a homeschooler.


Students registered as homeschoolers:
  • in Grades K-9, can not at the same time enroll in a Group 1, 2 or 4 independent DL school for a program in Grades K-9
  • in Grades 10-12 are able at the same time to enroll in a Group 1,2 or 4 independent DL school for instruction in courses in Grades 10-12.

Enrolling in a Distributed Learning Program

Students wishing to be enrolled in DL programs offered by independent school authorities may do so directly through the independent DL school.

Funding for Distributed Learning

External Evaluation and Monitoring of Distributed Learning

Group 1, 2 or 4 independent schools offering a DL educational program will:

  • undergo an external evaluation, after the initial external evaluation, at least once every 2 years, and
  • receive a monitoring inspection in the alternate years.

Inspections are based on compliance with the Independent School Act and the supporting regulations and orders and the education requirements set out in the Schedule A - Standards for Delivery of K-12 Independent School Distributed Learning in British Columbia (PDF, 78KB)

Supplementary Special Education Funding for Distributed Learning Students

Supplementary special education funding is available for Group 1 and 2 Independent Schools upon approval of application for level 1, 2, or 3 funding, for authorities that offer a funded DL program.

Funding is designed for additional services provided and as outlined in the Ministry manual Special Education Services – A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines.

When students are enrolled in more than one school, funding will be made available to only one enrolling school. The boards or authorities must inform the ministry which school, based on an agreement between the boards or authorities, will be responsible to provide the special education service.

Sharing of Student Records

Authorities or boards of independent or public schools that have students enrolled in both independent and public schools must provide to the other access to information in student records that is necessary for the authority or board to satisfactorily perform its obligations under the Independent School Act or the School Act.

Other Home Based Learning Options

For more information on home based learning options see the following areas: