Stratford Hall (school)

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Stratford Hall
Stratford Hall, Vancouver, BC 2.jpg
One of the buildings of Stratford Hall in May 2017
3000 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia, V5N 4E2
Coordinates 49°15′27″N 123°04′10″W / 49.25763°N 123.06954°W / 49.25763; -123.06954Coordinates: 49°15′27″N 123°04′10″W / 49.25763°N 123.06954°W / 49.25763; -123.06954
School type Independent IB
Founded 2000
Head of school Mr. Jason McBride
Grades K-12
Enrollment 511
Language English with Spanish, French, and Mandarin
Area Vancouver
Color(s) Burgundy with navy blue and white
Team name Stratford Hall Sabres
Tuition Begins at 15,225

Stratford Hall, an independent coeducational school located on the east side of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, opened on September 5, 2000. Stratford Hall is one of five Western Canada schools to complete International Baccalaureate experience with IB offered from Kindergarten through Grade 12 to all students. The school teaches the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, and Diploma Programmes. In accordance with the IB philosophy, the school emphasizes multilingual ability and a global perspective. Graduates obtain an IB diploma recognized by universities worldwide.

Stratford Hall is an 'urban' school located on Commercial Drive, with a separate building for each IB program, and each has characteristics specially designed for students. Common to each building is a sense of openness and student spaces, and for collaboration.


Stratford Hall was founded in the late 1990s by two Burnaby mothers, Elaine Lee and Cindy Leung, who wanted a university preparatory option for their own children. They formed a not-for-profit society, the Burnaby Independent School Society (now the Stratford Hall (School) Society), and in October 1999, they appointed Jim McConnell as Head of School. They also secured a temporary site, the Italian Cultural Centre, which served the school for its first nine years.

Classes began in September 2000; at this point, the school had 40 students from kindergarten to grade 6. Since then, the school has added approximately 40 new students each year. A second kindergarten class was created in 2001, and in May 2007 the first set of students graduated from grade 12. Stratford Hall's current enrolment is 511 students from kindergarten to grade 12 and accepts up to 70 students per year.

The founders chose to embark on the International Baccalaureate Programme in October 1999, and Stratford Hall was one of the first schools in the world to establish itself using all three IB Programmes. In 2003, the school was awarded authorization for the IB Primary Years Programme, and was the first school in Western Canada to do so. In 2005, it achieved authorization for the IB Diploma Programme, ensuring that its first graduating class would be IB Diploma candidates. It achieved full authorization for the Middle Years Programme in 2009. It is now one of 5 schools in the Lower Mainland, one of 12 in Canada, and one of 185 in the world to offer the full IB Continuum Programme.

Stratford Hall was accepted into the Independent Schools Association of BC in 2003, and into the Canadian Association of Independent Schools in 2005.

In September 2005, the grade 6-12 program was moved from the Italian Cultural Centre to its current building, the former Ailanthus Centre on Commercial Drive. The DP Building, located in a state-of-the-art facility that formerly housed a performing arts centre for youth, offers its students an enriched academic curriculum, which includes music (e.g. taiko drumming and marimba), visual arts, performing arts (e.g. circus, theatre, and theatre production), sports science, and outdoor education.

The first Stratford Hall grade 12 class graduated in May 2007. There were only 6 graduates. The smallest graduating class, consisting of 1 student, graduated in 2008.

In 2007, Stratford Hall purchased a lot on the same block of Commercial, and in 2008, construction began on the new Primary Years facility. The new building, designed specifically for the IB Primary Years Programme, opened in November 2009.

In 2012, construction began on the a new Middle Years Programme building for grade 6-10 students, located at 3150 Commercial Drive. This building opened in January 2014. The school has now three distinct buildings, one for each of the IB programmes.

Experiential education[edit]

Stratford Hall emphasizes educating the whole child through a balance of academic and experiential courses – courses that require less ‘book work’ and more ‘hands-on’ activities.

In the Primary Years Programme, the formal experiential courses are physical education and music until grade 4, when outdoor education is added. Physical education is designed to focus on fitness and skill development, and is taught by a specialist from grade 1 on. Music utilizes Orff concepts, beginning in kindergarten. Specialist teachers engage students in activities that are related to music and that encourage creativity. Outdoor education exposes students to wilderness-related experiences, beginning with age-appropriate introductions.

In the Middle Years Programme, the experiential program plays an even more important role. Outdoor education becomes a three-hour-per-week block where students embark on activities such as sea kayaking, snowshoeing, sailing, climbing, and hiking. Social service activities are also included. Each grade has at least one overnight trip.

Music focuses on Taiko drumming, taught by a professional Taiko player. Taiko is a Japanese art form that combines music and action. Music students also learn to play the marimba, and by grades 9 and 10, students perform complex pieces using a variety of instruments.

Theatre is based on Cirque du Soleil-style activities. In grade 6, students are introduced to some of the basics, such as tumbling, juggling, and building human pyramids. As students progress through the grades, they learn more complex skills, such as flips and aerial work.

Physical education, taught by a specialist, includes traditional sports and fitness, and it complements the outdoor education and fine arts programs. There is a fitness room at the school.

A final course, called Connections, involves itself with community building and personal planning. Part of the course helps students create links between their different courses.

In the IB Diploma Programme, the experiential component is accomplished through Creativity, Action and Service.

Athletics and co-curricular programs[edit]

Stratford Hall offers many clubs, beginning in the Primary Years Programme and increasing through to the Diploma Programme. These clubs offer opportunities for students to participate in activities that interest them, and broaden their experience. Examples of existing clubs are Model United Nations, cooking, music (choir, rock band), Global Humanitarian Club, and debate.

Athletics play an important part at Stratford Hall. Beginning in grade 4, students may participate in a number of school teams including cross-country running, soccer, volleyball, basketball, ultimate, track and field, badminton, floor hockey and softball. Stratford Hall is a member of a number of independent school leagues.