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Schooling and education in Australia - book in early!

Posted in: education

It might seem like a long time before you have to enrol your little one in school, but it pays to be prepared. Here is our quick guide to education in Australia ...

When is school compulsory?

School is compulsory between the age of 6 and 16 or 17 (Year 1 to 10).

Formal schooling includes:
  • a preparatory year before Year 1 (not compulsory but almost always taken)
  • primary schooling: 6 or 7 years – Years 1-6 or 1-7
  • secondary schooling: 5 or 6 years – Years 7-12 or 8-12.
Australian children often do a year of preschool or pre-prep before formal schooling starts.

What are the differences in schooling between Australian states?

The education system in each Australian state is run by that state's government. Some of the main differences are what each level is called (for example Prep in Queensland is the same as Kindergarten – or K - in NSW).

Another difference is that primary school is from Grades 1-6 in some states and from 1-7 in others, which means a Grade 7 student will be in high school in some states but in primary school in other states.

From 2015, Queensland high schools will include Year 7 students.
See www.flyingstart.qld.gov.au


Australian Education System: State by State

 State/
Territory

Pre-Prep
Prep Year
Primary School
Secondary School
 ACT  Preschool  Kindergarten Grade 1-6
Grade 7-12
 NSW  Preschool  Kindergarten Grade 1-6
Grade 7-12
 NT  Preschool  Transition Grade 1-7 Grade 8-12
 QLD
 Kindergarten  Prep Grade 1-7 Grade 8-12
 SA  Preschool/Kindy  Reception Grade 1-7 Grade 8-12
 TAS  Kindergarten  Preparatory Grade 1-6 Grade 7-12
 VIC
 Kindergarten  Preparatory Grade 1-6 Grade 7-12
 WA  Kindergarten  Pre-Primary Grade 1-7 Grade 8-12


How old does my child have to be when they start school?

The age your child needs to be to start school varies from state to state. Although prep is not compulsory it is considered to be the start of formal full-time schooling.

Many parents chose to send their children to preschool or pre-prep when they are 3-4 years old - in preparation for formal schooling. Some private preschools/kindy may have different rules for enrolment, and if places are available may let you enrol a younger child (one that turns four later in the year, for example). However, those children won't be able to attend formal schooling until they meet the enrolment requirements for the Preparatory Year.


 State/
Territory
 Pre-prep/
preschool

Preparatory
 ACT Must be 4 by April 30 in the year they enrol in Preschool Must be 5 by April 30 in the year they enrol in Kindergarten
 NSW Must be 4 by July 31 in the year they enrol in Preschool Must be 5 by July 31 in the year they enrol in Kindergarten
 NT Must be 4 by June 30 in the year they enrol in Preschool Must be 5 by June 30 in the year they enrol in Transition
 QLD Must be 4 by June 30 in the year they enrol in Kindergarten Must be 5 by June 30 in the year they enrol in Prep.
 SA Must be 4 by May 1 in the year they enrol in Preschool
Must be 5 by May 1 in the year they enrol in Reception
 TAS Must be 4 by January 1 in the year they enrol in Kindergarten Must be 5 by January 1 in the year they enrol in Preparatory
 VIC Must be 4 by April 30 in the year they enrol in Kindergarten
Must be 5 by April 30 in the year they enrol in Preparatory
 WA Must be 4 by June 30 in the year they enrol in Kindergarten
Must be 5 by June 30 in the year they enrol in Pre-Primary
 

What else do I need to know?

Basically the most important thing is to get in early – especially if you want to enrol your child in private school.
 
Even if you don’t know where you’ll be living when your child is due to start school you should investigate your options and put their names down where necessary. Some waiting lists at private schools are so long you’d be well advised to have your child’s name down at birth!

Education in state schools is free. Non-state schools and pre-preps are generally fee paying.


More useful links:




ACT

ACT – Department of Education and Training

Catholic Education Office – Canberra and Goulburn

The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT


NSW

NSW Department of Education and Training

Catholic Education Commission NSW


Catholic Education Office Sydney
 
The Association of Independent Schools of NSW

 
NT
 
NT Department of Education and Training
 
Northern Territory Catholic Education Office
 
Association of Independent Schools of the Northern Territory


Queensland


Education Queensland

Queensland Catholic Education Commission

Independent Schools Queensland

C&K Queensland

Home schooling in Queensland


South Australia


Department of Education and Children’s Services

Catholic Education Office South Australia

South Australian Independent Schools


Tasmania

Department of Education - Tasmania

Catholic Education Tasmania

Association of Independent Schools of Tasmania

Christian Schools Tasmania


Victoria

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
 
Catholic Education Commission of Victoria
 
Independent Schools Victoria


Western Australia
 
Department of Education Western Australia

Catholic Education Western Australia
 
Association of Independent Schools Western Australia

 

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