Schools in Australia

Schools in Australia

Australian Government, Independent or Catholic Schools

Each Australian State and Territory oversees its own education system, and there are small variations between the education systems of each State and Territory. To view the individual educational systems for each state of Australia, please click on the following link:

There are two main education sectors within each State - Government schools and Non-Government schools. Non-Government schools are classified as either Catholic schools or Independent schools. Most Independent schools have a religious affiliation, but some are non-denominational. All Government schools are non-denominational.

Types of Australian schools

Most Australian schools use modern education methods within a traditional education framework. Children wear a school uniform, which is individual to their school. There are also a few schools which follow a particular educational philosophy, such as Steiner or Montessori.

There are Special Needs schools and special education programs within mainstream schools for disabled children, or children with other specific needs.

Schools often use remedial and extension classes or other approaches to meet the needs of students with differing levels of abilities. Some schools offer specialised programs in areas such as sport, the arts, or academia, for children who are gifted or talented.

There is a range of Boarding schools at Primary and Secondary level in the Private school sector throughout Australia. There are a few Secondary boarding schools, or accommodation, in the Government sector, in some States - mainly for students from remote rural areas. International students can study in schools in Australia.

You can search the the Australian Schools Directory for a comprehensive list of Australia schools, including Religious schools (Anglican schools, Uniting Church schools, Jewish schools, Christian schools etc), Special Needs schools, Alternative schools (such as Montessori or Steiner schools) or Boarding schools (

Boys Girls Co-educational

Most Australian schools are co-educational - for boys and girls. Some Catholic and Independent schools are single-gender, mainly at Secondary level, but sometimes in the Primary years as well. Some Independent single-gender schools offer co-educational classes in the early years.

Nearly all Government schools are co-educational. There are a few single-gender Government Secondary schools in some States in Australia.

Prep Primary and Secondary

Australia children usually attend a Preparatory year of school (often called Prep or Kindergarten), followed by Primary school and then Secondary school (often called High School). Including the Pre-School year, most students are at school for 13 years.

Students usually start in Preparatory school around the ages of four or five, and must start school by the age of six. Entry age requirements can vary by more than six months between schools and States.

Primary and Secondary schools are mostly in separate locations, but some Catholic schools and many Independent schools have Primary and Secondary schools on the same campus.

Australian Schools Curriculum

At Primary school level there is an emphasis on English reading and writing, mathematics and the Study of Society and the Environment (SOSE). Students usually also have music, sport, drama, computer studies, science, art, and learn a language (LOTE). Often there are many extra curricular activities offered outside of class time, such as choir, orchestra, chess or sport.

In the early Secondary years students continue to study English and Mathematics and other core subjects. As they progress through their Secondary years, students must study English, but can start to select which other subjects they study and they begin to specialise in certain areas of learning. Again there are many extra curricular activities on offer, such as debating, school musicals or sports competitions.

Finishing school

Secondary school finishes at Year 12. Depending on the State, students must continue their education until 15, 16 or 17 years of age. Further studies can be continued at Universities or TAFE (Technical and Further Education).

Australian School Term Dates

Unlike New Zealand schools, which all have approximately the same school holidays, Australian school holiday's vary depending on the school and state.

Please visit the website of the Education Department of the State of your choice for information about Government school term dates, or visit the Australian Government website here:

For Independent or Catholic schools please check with individual schools. Their term dates can vary a little from the Government schools and from one another.

List of Australian Schools

You can find a list of Australian schools by state or territory on the following Wikipedia page ( or on the Australian Schools Directory (

Below are a couple of websites that rank the Australian schools:

Further Information

If there is anything else you would like to know about, please ask me a question using the below comment system and I will do my best to find the inforation you need.

Add comment


0 # ANSWER: ChildcareMTA Team 2015-08-20 09:57
Hi Melanie,

Thank you for your enquiry.

From the information I can find you are entitled to the childcare benefit on a SCV. Along with family payments, including family tax benefit, baby bonus and parental leave pay, and medical care under MediCare.

For a list of exclusions for a SCV follow the below link:

Good luck with your move.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ChildcareMelanie 2015-08-19 09:23
Hi There, my partner and I and our 2 children (aged 3 months and 2 years - all of us are New Zealanders) are moving to the Gold Coast in October. Just wondering if we are entitled to the child care benefit for when we put them into daycare?
Kind Regards
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ANSWER: preschool/ kindergartenMTA Team 2015-08-17 06:03
Hi K,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Unfortunately there is not a lot of information online regarding Australian schools, as it depends on what state and what type of school you are looking at registering in.

However, Australian schooling does start at 6 years, not 5 like NZ.

To find out costs you will need to contact schools in the states and areas you are considering, which you can find information on here:

Good luck with your move.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # preschool/ kindergartenk 2015-08-15 11:17
I have a soon to be four year old and a 5 and a half year old, what grade will they be in and what is the cost of schooling at these ages?
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ANSWER: Temporary SchoolingMTA Team 2015-05-12 06:16
Hi Megan,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Unfortunately there is nothing on the internet that answers your query.

You are going to have to contact a school in the area you are moving to. However, I know of a family that went overseas for a year and they home schooled their kids through the New Zealand schooling system. They found it fantastic. Worth looking into if the Australian school's aren't being helpful.

Good luck with your move. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Temporary SchoolingMegan 2015-05-11 11:45
We are planning on moving to the Gold Coast from New Zealand for six months at this stage. Are we allowed to go to school if we are not permanently living in Australia?

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # preschool and schoolsusanw walker-tahana 2015-02-21 04:43
Hi There,
We will be moving to Sydney in the next month or 2 and we have 4 year old turning 5 on the 5th october. Im very confused with all the dates etcc. Will he go into a school or a preschool? and if a preschool is it hard to get into with limited spaces? and would that mean he would start school in january 2016?
so different from NZ
thanks for al the info on your site, its great
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ANSWER: ....MTA Team 2014-02-03 05:40
Hi Steven,

Thanks for your comment.

The Australian system does the same number of years as NZ. She would be in Year 5 this year in Oz. In OZ (kindergarten to Year 12) in NZ (year 1 to year 13).

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Steven 2014-02-01 15:15

We are looking to move to Queensland in the coming years and are trying to work out what year our daughter will be in. She is almost 10 and will be year 6 this year in NZ

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ANSWER: Before and after school careMTA Team 2013-05-15 06:45
Hi Angela,

Thank you for your enquiry.

As you are probably aware your childcare decision will be greatly based on where you are living and working in Melbourne.

I personally like to visit a centre before I commit to sending my child there and if possible get recommendations or reviews from other parents.

Therefore I have found some resource websites that appear to list all childcare centres categorised into suburbs and some have reviews. Please follow the below links:


I would also recommend asking the schools you are planning on sending your kids too, as I am sure they will know a lot about the centres close to them.

I hope the above will make your decision easier.

Good luck.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Before and after school careAngela 2013-05-14 11:13

I have a 7 year old and a 7mth old we are looking to move at the end of the year to Melbourne. Due to me being a shift worker and my husband working 9-5 my oldest goes to casual before school care and afterschool care everyday and my youngest goes to a nursery that is open at 7am till 6pm. Where would I find this sort of information out.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ANSWER: Special Needs SchoolsMTA Team 2013-03-12 04:10
Good morning Joy,

Thank you for your comment.

This is quite a specialised area that I do not know much about sorry and from what I have researched it depends a lot of the type of assistance they require.

Here is a link to special needs schools in SA: schools

However, you will probably get the best help by participating in community websites in Australia, as you will be able to communicate and ask questions to parents and organisations who can help point you in the right direction. Here is one I found:

Sorry that I can't be of more help.

Good luck.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Special Needs SchoolsJoy 2013-03-12 04:09
My partner is working in adelaide and has a house in Sellicks beach myself and 4 children are moving over bout june/july 2013, 2x 16yrs YR 11 who require special needs assistance but still in mainstream and 2x 9yrs YR 5. Can you help me out to find schools to meet their needs, bus transport,zonin g etc...I would appreciate any assistance you maybe to help with.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Joy 2013-02-03 15:31
My partner is working in adelaide and has a house in Sellicks beach myself and 4 children are moving over bout june/july 2013, 2x 16yrs YR 11 who require special needs assistance but still in mainstream and 2x 9yrs YR 5. Can you help me out to find schools to meet their needs, bus transport,zonin g etc...I would appreciate any assistance you maybe to help with.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # ANSWER: Middle/Intermed iate SchoolMTA Team 2012-05-01 06:44
Hi Kara,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Our intermediate years are included in their primary schools (ages 5–12).

Please find a comprehensive list of Australia schools on this Wikipedia page, which you may find helpful:

Please let me know if you require further information.

Kind Regards,
MTA Team
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Which schoolDeborah 2012-01-31 09:05
I have 2 primary aged children. How will I know what is a good school or not a good school. For instance do they have a decile for their schools? Are there ERO reports somewhere? And are their schools zoned like they can be in NZ? Any info would be good cheers.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote