Schooling System in Australia

Coming to Australia as a student with kids? Or do you want to enrol in a local secondary school before applying to a university?

Then, this article is for you.

If you come to Australia as an international student with kids, you will need to pay for their school regardless of whether it’s a private or public school. If you study in an Australian secondary school before proceeding to a university, you will also need to cover tuition fees.

However, some territories offer a tuition fee waiver for the kids of international students. Read more on the Study in Australia website.

The Australian school education can be divided into 3 groups:

1. Primary school

7-8 years, starting at Foundation (also called kindergarten/preparatory/pre-school) through to School Year 6 or 7

2. Secondary school

From School Years 7 or 8 to 10

3. Senior secondary school

from School Years 11 to 12

NOTE : The Australian academic year begins in late January to early February and runs until mid-December. Most schools have 3-4 terms a year.

School Types

There are 3 school types in Australia:

  • Government schools: state and territory government responsibilities in relation to the regulation of school education and the administration and funding of them. They are almost or completely free of charge for local kids.
  • Independent schools: self-funded. They have their own curriculum, set up tuition fees and have a selection process for student enrolment.
  • Catholic schools: funded mainly by state and federal governments and have low fees.

Number and proportion of all students enrolled in schools by school level and school sector, Australia 2020

Government Catholic Independent Total
No % No % No % No %
Primary 1,597,052 70.4 403,784 17.8 268,055 11.8 2,268,891 100.0
Junior Secondary 736,615 59.8 265,148 21.5 229,576 18.6 1,231,339 100.0
Senior Secondary 295,476 58.3 109,673 21.6 101,595 20.0 506,744 100.0
Total Secondary 1,032,091 59.4 374,821 21.6 331,171 19.1 1,738,083 100.0
Total 2,629,143 65.6 778,605 19.4 599,226 15.0 4,006,974 100.0

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