1870 The Common School Amendment Ordinance is passed by the Colonial Legislature of British Columbia in April 1870. The Amendment Ordinance makes provision for a Board of Examiners to certify teachers and creates the position of Inspector-General of Schools. E. Graham Alston is appointed Inspector-General in May 1870.

Rules and Regulations for the Management and Government of Common Schools are published in the Government Gazette for the benefit of parents, teachers and school trustees. Appendices to the Rules and Regulations list prescribed textbooks and provide prayers to be used in religious services.

Boundaries of school districts, including Nanaimo, are defined and published in accordance with the Common School Ordinance, 1869.

1871 20 July: British Columbia enters Confederation and becomes the sixth province of Canada.

1872 In March the provincial legislature adopts the Public School Act (1872). This statute creates a Public School Fund and a Provincial Board of Education.

In April, John Jessop is appointed the first provincial Superintendent of Education. In May, an Education Office (or "Branch") is established within the Provincial Secretary's Department.

In August, Jessop presents the First Annual Report on the Public Schools in the Province of British Columbia, For the Year Ending July 31st, 1872 to the Provincial Secretary, Alexander Rocke Robertson. This landmark First Annual Report includes appendices and a supplementary notes with detailed descriptions of all school districts, a list of public school teachers, and a list of authorized text books. The Report also includes remarks on the "denominational and private Schools" in the province.

1873 Jessop draws up the Rules and Regulations for the Government of Public Schools in the Province of British Columbia. His Rules and Regulations provide the basis for the day-to-day operation of public schools for the next thirty years.

A public school is established at Granville, on the south side of Burrard Inlet, on 12 February 1873. The school's first teacher is Julia Sweeney, daughter of a machinist at Hastings Sawmill. Until 1886, Granville was the only school in the Vancouver area.

1874 In June, the Central Boarding School at Cache Creek is opened. In July, a common school at Okanagan Mission is formally established.

1875The "Indian school" run by the Sisters of St. Ann at Cowichan on Vancouver Island is enlarged when two dozen girls from the Sisters' orphanage in Victoria are transferred to the facility.

1876 The first provincial high school opens in Victoria on Monday, 7 August 1876. The first students of Victoria High School are accommodated in the old Colonial Schoolhouse.

In September, the Reverend Alexander B. Nicholson, newly-appointed principal of the high school, resigns following criticism that had allowed sectarian religious sentiments into the school curriculum. Mr. Nicholson is succeeded and replaced by Stephen D. Pope who later (1884 - 1899) serves as provincial Superintendent of Education.

The Public School Act, 1872 is subsequently amended to exclude all clergy from holding any position -- voluntary or otherwise -- in a provincial public school. The amendment also restricts religious exercises in schools to the public recitation of The Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments.

R. M. Clemitson is appointed Assistant Superintendent of Education. (The position of assistant superintendent was eliminated in 1878 and was not re-established until 1913.)

1877 In May 1877 the Sisters of St. Ann open a convent school in Nanaimo. The inaugural class of the Nanaimo Convent School consists of 29 students and a syllabus of music, drawing, needlework, French, English, and mathematics. A larger, two-storey convent school is opened in the winter of 1879.

1878 In August, Jessop and the Board of Education resign because of political differences with the Walkem government. Colin Campbell McKenzie succeeds Jessop as Superintendent of Education in September 1878.

1879 Public School Act, 1879. The position of Superintendent of Education is retained, but the Board of Education is abolished under the new act. Control of the public school system is placed with the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council (i.e. the Cabinet).