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Quick Facts about Aussie Schools

If you have made the decision to immigrate your family to Australia one of your motivations might be to give your children access to one of the best educational systems in the world, but what do you know about Australian schools? 


We took a look at a couple of trusted websites and spoke to a few Aussies and migrants who now live Down Under and we came up with a bit of a list.  Hope it helps!

Did you Know?

  • 99 per cent of all Australians are literate with around 20 per cent of the Australian population enrolled in some form of education at any given time?
  • education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five or six and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the State or territory and date of birth.
  • the majority of Australia's universities are public, and student fees are subsidized
  • The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index rates the Australian education system amongst the top 1 per cent
  • the academic year in Australia varies between States and institutions, but generally runs from late January/early February until early/mid-December for primary and secondary schools, with slight variations
  • 85.7 per cent of children attended a formal pre-school the year before they start primary school
  • international students studying in Australia reached record numbers in 2017 with more than 583,243 students enrolled at Australian educational institutions

Educational Career

A typical educational career in Australia would start with Early Childhood Education.  At around age 5 preschool kids move on to their Primary School education.  Primary school is followed by secondary education, or high school, which they typically finish around 17 years of age.

Most Australian children go on to study at a tertiary level.  Tertiary education would be universities, TAFE colleges, and vocational education and training providers.


In Australia it is not compulsory to attend a preschool but the vast majority of children do. The first exposure many Australian children have to learning with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a parent-run playgroup.

Only in Western Australia pre-school education is taught as part of the primary school system and in some Victorian schools. In Queensland, preschool programmes are often called Kindergarten or Pre-Prep, and are usually privately run but attract state government funding if run for at least 600 hours a year and delivered by a registered teacher.

The average cost per day for preschool is around AUD 40.00 for a 12-hour service.

Primary and secondary education

School education in Australia is compulsory between certain ages as specified by that state or territory’s legislation. Depending on the state or territory, and date of birth of the child, school is compulsory from the age of five or six to the age of around the ages of 15 - 17.  You can find out from your local school what the specific age requirement for that state is.

In recent years, over three quarters of students stay at school until they are seventeen. Government schools educate nearly three quarters of Australian students, with the balance attending Catholic and independent schools.

Government schools

Government schools (also known as public schools) are free to attend for Australian citizens and permanent residents, while Catholic and independent schools usually charging tuition fees.

All Australian schools are required to adhere to the same curriculum framework of their state or territory. The curriculum framework however provides for some flexibility in the syllabus, so that subjects such as religious education can be taught. Most school students wear uniforms although there are varying expectations and some Australian schools do not require uniforms.

Private and independent schools

Independent schools include schools operated by secular educational philosophies such as Steiner or Montessori; however, the majority of independent schools are religious, being Anglican, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic or non-denominational. In addition, many private schools are also Catholic.

Private schooling could cost anywhere between AUD 23 000 and AUD 40 000 per year.


Tertiary education

As is the case in South Africa tertiary education (or higher education) in Australia is primarily means studying at a university or a technical college to obtain a diploma or degree.

There are several prominent universities located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. There are 43 universities in Australia: 40 public universities, two international universities, one private university. The largest university in Australia is Monash University in Melbourne: it has five campuses and 75,000 students.

How Australia Compares to the Rest of the World

Australia’s educational system features 15th overall on a list compiled by British multinational publishing and education company, Pearson. The criteria of the ranking are the education in primary, secondary and high school, as well as the higher education institutions and international schools.  This places Australia amongst the crème de la crème on the world stage.

Australia managed to score better than the traditional winners (of everything else), the Nordic countries!  Switzerland came in 20th followed by Norway and Sweden placed 24th

Australia was also named under the Top 5 university destinations by international students.


Source: , Wikipedia and The Guardian

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Australia schools education