The Rainbow District School Board is dropping French in all its English schools from Grade 1 to Grade 3.

As of September, French will be offered starting in Grade 4.

Norm Blaseg

Norm Blaseg, Rainbow District School Board education director. (Supplied)

And for people living in rural areas who want their children to learn French, immersion is not always an option.

Tilston says starting French in grade one is necessary in order for his children to be successful in northern Ontario, where nearly 30 per cent of the population is French.

Greater Sudbury resident Warren Tilston's said all three of his children will be in elementary school within the next few years.

The local Rainbow school attended by his eldest child doesn't offer French immersion — something that Tilston said doesn't leave him many options.

"Seeing as our first child has already started in the Rainbow District School Board, it would be difficult to remove her from her comfortable surroundings and friends now," he said.

Norm Blaseg, the director of education with the Rainbow District School Board, acknowledged the difficulties switching schools may cause.

"Obviously that poses some challenges for them, but we can't be all things for all people," Blaseg said.

The board is also suggesting to parents who who want their children to learn French earlier to enroll them in a French immersion program.

Krissie Vanier, who has three children in elementary school at A.B. Ellis Public School in Espanola, said two of them will be affected by the change.

"Had we wanted French immersion, we would have to go switch over to the Catholic school system or we [would] have to go straight French," she said. "And for some of us, that just isn't an option."

Blaseg noted the change is necessary to help schools meet the mandatory curriculum requirements set out by the provincial government.