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Australian School System – Everything you need to know

School education is similar across all of Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. The school year runs from January until December. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AGF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.

The Australian Government leads school education and invests in areas of national educational significance. States and territories have responsibility for the delivery of school education in Australia with schools operated by government and non-government education authorities, including Catholic and independent systems and schools. Work is co-ordinated through the Education Council. More details can be found at: http://www.education.gov.au/school-education

Pre-school education is not compulsory but recommended for children between the ages of three-five.

School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of five/six and 16 (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years long and divided into:

  • Primary school – This runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Preparatory through to Year 6 or 7. Subjects covered in the curriculum are maths, english, the arts, technology, society and environment and P.E. Languages are offered from Year 3 onwards.
  • Secondary school – This runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10. It is compulsory to stay at school until you are at least 16. In Year 10 you can leave once you have completed your Schools Certificate.
  • Vocational/Tertiary Education – Work or vocation related studies usually continue after Year 10. VET (Vocational Education and Training) and TAFE (Technical and Further Education) are often work-based learning programmes.
  • Senior secondary school – Years 11 and 12 see students studying for their Senior Secondary Certificate of Education after a series of exams, usually chosen in subjects suitable for chosen professions. This is an official certificate and recognised by all Australian universities, higher education and vocational education and training institutions, as well as many institutions internationally.
  • Higher Education – Undergraduate degree courses take three years but there is an option to take double degrees and post-graduate courses which will be longer in duration. Tuition fees apply, although there are means for students to defer these payments until they have started work. There are 43 universities in Australia.

To find out how to enrol your child in different states and territories visit this link: CLICK HERE

For more information about the Australian education system visit: CLICK HERE

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