Parents, you're not alone when it comes to figuring out where your child should go to school. Deciding which primary schools in the area to apply for is an important decision that can be tough on parents and kids alike.
Every parent wants their child to have the best education possible, but it can be difficult to find a school that is just right. Finding one that has all of your requirements for location, curriculum and other important factors can be an exhaustive process. With so many options available, how do you know where to start?
To help you get started on your primary school hunt, we’ve rounded up our best primary schools from right across Melbourne, Victoria.
Ultimate List of Primary Schools in Melbourne, Victoria
Presbyterian Ladies' College - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
+61 3 9808 5812
Girls are encouraged to develop respect and concern for others, leadership skills and self-discipline, and a sensitive, informed understanding of other cultures in a Christian environment. We are adamant that every opportunity should be explored for our students, that any goal is attainable, and that every girl has her own excellence waiting to be discovered.
We are excited to work with your daughter to encourage, inspire, and support her as she prepares to take her place as a modern woman in tomorrow's world.
Haileybury College - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
+61 3 9904 6111
Our remarkable academic results are the result of a highly successful parallel education model, outstanding teachers, small class sizes, and an unrivaled level of individual attention - as well as over 125 years of history and achievement.
Haileybury was named Australian School of the Year at the 2018 Australian Education Awards and was ranked as the number one primary school for boys and girls in Victoria and the number two secondary school in Victoria based on national academic testing results by the Australian.
St Andrews Christian College - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
+61 3 8847 8301
St Andrews Christian College is a school of teaching and learning excellence, with Christ at the heart of everything we do. We are a school community that seeks to inspire and encourage students to grow spiritually, emotionally, socially, creatively, physically, and cognitively by nurturing the whole child.
Students thrive in a safe and caring environment, and at St Andrews Christian College, where all of our students are known, we work with parents to support and nurture our children as they grow into the young men and women God has created them to be.
Huntingtower School - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
+61 3 9807 8889
Our wonderful students and staff will greet you with a smile and make you feel very welcome when you visit Huntingtower. Our beautiful gardens and grounds provide a peaceful setting that makes Huntingtower a wonderful place to learn.
Beverley Hills - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
(03) 9842 1429
Beverley Hills Primary School (BHPS) recognizes the inextricable link between student well-being and student learning outcomes. As part of the Victorian Curriculum, we continue to emphasize the importance of social and emotional learning for children.
Children participate in class discussions and collaborative activities that focus on safety, appropriate behavior, positive social interactions, and personal growth on a regular basis. We promote a culture of personal responsibility, independence, resilience, and self-regulation/self-control.
Serpell Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
(03) 9842 8182
Serpell Primary School is a vibrant, thriving learning community with students from a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
The commitment to educational excellence and personal growth is shared by parents, staff, and students. We have developed a distinct philosophy in collaboration that is based on the maximization of individual potential and the recognition that we are a community of learners. We are dedicated to providing learning opportunities that foster a thinking culture, accommodate individual learning styles, engage and extend our students, and foster independence, resilience, and collaborative learning.
Oakleigh South Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
I am honored to serve as principal at Oakleigh South Primary School. In 1987, I started working at the school as a teacher at the former Beryl Street location. The school had 109 students at the time, and I have seen it grow to around 1000 students. We oversaw the school's relocation to its current location, the former Huntingdale High School, in a quiet area of Oakleigh South with beautiful grounds nestled between the Metropolitan and Huntingdale Golf Courses.
Camberwell Grammar School Melbourne - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
03 9835 1775
Every boy in our care receives the best education possible at Camberwell Grammar School, enabling us to prepare them for life after graduation. Our school's founding father, A.B. Taylor, established it in 1886 for "the boys in the neighborhood," and our motto, Spectemur Agendo (By Our Deeds May We Be Known), inspires our students to act honorably and keep their promises.
Learning takes many forms and shapes here. Students have the opportunity to fully participate on the athletic field, the stage, and the debating platform.
Strathcona Girls Grammar Private School - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
03 8779 7509
Strathcona is the driving force behind a life-changing momentum, ensuring that each girl discovers a path as unique and full of potential as she is. Strathcona girls break the stereotypes of private education on their respective journeys, and we are proud of them. The School motto, 'Bravely, Faithfully, Happily,' expresses the importance of action, meaning, and fulfillment.
At Camberwell Grammar School, we work hard to give every boy in our care the best education we can in order to get them ready for life after school. Our school's motto, Spectemur Agendo (By Our Deeds May We Be Known), encourages our students to act with integrity and to be people of their word. A.B. Taylor founded our school in 1886 for "the boys in the local community."
Wesley College - Primary School Melbourne, Victoria
03 8102 6509
Wesley College has been recognized for educational excellence and as a pioneer in teaching and learning since 1866. Wesley's holistic approach to learning, embodied in true education, prepares our graduates to succeed in all aspects of life and to contribute to making the world a better place.
Girls and boys are given a strong foundation for establishing respectful and enduring social and professional relationships when they grow and learn in a coeducational environment. As they develop into balanced, all-around people, our students become stronger and more independent.
Primary Schools FAQs
Consider your child & your family.
Start your search for the best school by thinking about what you want a school to do for your child. Perhaps your child has special language or education needs. Keep these in mind. After all, you know your son or daughter better than anyone else does.
Gather information about schools
Suppose you were looking to buy a car, vacuum cleaner, or refrigerator. In that case, you could talk to friends and family and find information online, in consumer magazines, or other published resources. Similarly, when investigating schools, you may also have to make phone calls, collect written material from different schools and look for reports in your local paper to get the information you need.
In addition, you can check public school report cards (see Parent Tip) and go to parent fairs and school open houses. Finally, you can find reliable school information online on sites such as www.greatschools.net and www.schoolresults.org, as well as other sites listed in the Resources section of this booklet. The hard work will be worth your while if you find a school that brings out the best in your child.
Visit and observe schools.
Contact the schools you are interested in and make an appointment for a visit. If possible, tour the schools during regular school hours and visit a few classes. Avoid visiting schools during the first or last week of a term to get a realistic sense of how the school operates.
A good way to have your questions answered is to schedule an appointment with the school principal. If possible, attend an open house, parent-teacher meeting, or other school function that would also provide valuable information about the attitudes of staff, students, and parents.
Listen closely to what teachers say about the school. The teachers will be the adults closest to your child, and you will want to know if they are well prepared, dedicated, and happy in their work.
Apply to the schools you choose
Once you select the school(s) that you think will be best for your child, you will go through a process of applying to a school (or schools) of your choice and enrolling your child. Consider applying to more than one school in case your child is not admitted to their first choice.
You will want to begin this process as early as possible to ensure you meet all the deadlines.
Admissions processes can vary. Your child may need to be tested or interviewed, and you may need to provide a school transcript, recommendations, or other information. It would be helpful to learn about admissions criteria for the schools. You will want to double-check to be sure you have accurate information on when and how to apply.
The curriculum is an important factor in evaluating the standard of a school. Even in the early years, the curriculum should be designed for the children to explore full learning opportunities and experiences. The curriculum of the primary schools in Ipswich must be engaging, authentic, flexible and challenging. The students should be engaged in different problem-solving situations. Sometimes, they are taught by incorporating play and different physical activities.
The reputation of a school massively depends on the expertise of its teachers. Most of the skilled and experienced teachers are attracted to the popular primary schools. Most of those teachers are trained or experienced with the teaching patterns of primary education. Hence, they can guide the children for overall development in different spheres of life.
It is quite natural that the best primary school must provide their students with the best facilities. When choosing a school, you need to consider its sports facilities, catering facilities, and infrastructure. For example, if you send your child to an Ipswich boys school, he gets involved in further education and lifestyle programs. These activities will ultimately help him develop self-worth and confidence.
Location and Transport
Location is an important factor in deciding on a good primary school. Sometimes, the good primary schools are aligned with good transport. If the school provides transport, more students and teachers are attracted to that school.
When parents send their children to a primary school for the first time, it is important to consider the relevant features of different educational institutions to choose the best for their children.
When they start school, most children have already had some experience of a pre-school or nursery setting. They have already faced some big challenges:
- leaving home with its familiar people and ways of behaving
- managing on their own – being independent
- meeting different people, both children and adults
- learning new skills and performing new tasks
- competing and comparing themselves with others.
All changes are stressful, and going to school for the first time is a big event for children, whatever their previous experience.
With the rhythm of the school year – periods spent at school interspersed with holidays – children have to adjust to beginnings and endings and the feelings these evoke. In addition, memories of other changes and losses may be stirred up.
- School hours are shorter than some nurseries or family centres, so children and parents may face another upheaval with different childcare arrangements. Children who had a close tie to their carer may take time to adjust and get used to the separation.
- Some children may find the more formal structure and demand for obedience and concentration too much. They may want to do their own thing and resent what they see as adults imposing limits on their freedom. Reception class children are too young to put much of their experience into words. They learn to manage situations and master their anxieties through play. Playing games with strict, stroppy or kind teachers provides children with ways of thinking about their new experiences with unknown adults and unfamiliar tasks.
It is normal for children’s behaviour to regress at this time. For example, while they struggle to manage at the new school, children may become more babyish or demanding at home.
Getting on with other Children
It may take children some time to sort out their place amongst the others. Children who have problematic relationships at home, for whatever reason, may not start out feeling confident in school. Jealousy at home may spill over into relationships with classmates. However, children who have felt highly competitive at home may find life easier at school amongst a mixed group of children and create better relationships.
Groups and ‘best friendships’ usually emerge during the first year, although they may not survive for a very long time. The ups and downs of friendships may be painful for children, but most of them establish ways of relating to one another in a more or less harmonious way. These are amongst the most powerful experiences of childhood, outside the home.
As they move on to junior school, children tend to divide into same-sex groups, often expressing contempt for the other sex. This seems to be a preparation for adolescence – a way of establishing interests and attitudes appropriate to the culture of being a boy or a girl. Boys and girls will get together again in a few years.
Children who have ‘girl friends’ and ‘boy friends’ at primary school may be responding to social pressures or what they see on television rather than their real wishes and capacity for relationships.
Most children will settle in well amongst the others. But children who are not able to feel comfortable amongst other children may have difficulties. If you think there is a problem, it is worth discussing this with the class teacher, sooner rather than later.
Getting on with Teachers
Children have to adjust to a range of new adults when they start school. Most children enjoy meeting different adults but are likely to feel more comfortable with some than with others. For example, a child who is used to an easy-going or chaotic atmosphere at home may find a more structured classroom environment more difficult than a child from a home where boundaries are tighter.
Children who do not have fundamental problems with authority are likely to have good and bad experiences with teachers over the years and find ways to manage and learn from the differences. However, a few children have ongoing problems with every teacher they meet and may have deeply rooted problems with authority. In this case, it is helpful for parents and teachers to get together and think about how their authority is applied and how this may affect the child. If parents and teachers can think together, changes may then be made at home and school.
Getting Down to Learning
Schoolwork can arouse several anxieties in children and their parents. Can they do the work? Do they understand it? What do they do if it doesn’t make sense?
Children who are afraid to make mistakes will never be able to learn from them, which will affect their learning as a whole. Therefore, making mistakes is important for learning.
Children respond to difficulties in various ways:
- Some children have no difficulty in asking for help and can persevere until they understand. Children who can ask for help when they don’t understand will make progress whatever their ability.
- Some feel, optimistically, that they understand or pretend to understand when they don’t and get thoroughly out of their depth.
- Some children who know that they don’t understand feel reluctant to ask for help. They may enlist the help of a friend, but this can cause further problems in the long run as they may understand when they don’t.
Every child needs to make progress with their work. Worrying about other things will affect their capacity to concentrate on the task at hand. Falling behind with the work will then add to the worries.
Leaving Primary School
The move from primary school to middle or secondary school is a major change for everybody. Children and their parents are bound to have mixed feelings about leaving behind a familiar environment. Moreover, children going to secondary school will have been used to being a ‘big fish in a small pond’, which changes overnight. In secondary school, newcomers may not be able to distinguish senior pupils from staff.
They often face anxiety about choosing a new school, applying, and waiting to hear if they’ve been successful.
There will no longer be the main relationship with one teacher throughout the year and the opportunity for some play in the new school. While many younger children have already been given some homework, the demands increase after primary school.
At this stage, children have to be more organised than ever before, getting their work and kit together for each lesson and getting their homework in on time. All children need support when they make this move, and many schools recognise this. Visits to the new school in the final primary year can be very reassuring for anxious pupils, as well as their anxious parents!
The primary education sector includes state-funded primary schools, special schools and private primary schools. The state-funded schools include religious schools, non-denominational schools, multi-denominational schools and Gaelscoileanna (Irish-medium schools).
For historical reasons, most primary schools are state-aided parish schools, although this pattern is changing. The state pays the bulk of the building and running costs of state-funded primary schools, but a local contribution is made towards their running costs. In addition, the Department of Education and Skills pays teachers’ salaries, and the Department’s Inspectorate inspects the schools.
Although children are not obliged to attend school until six, almost all children begin school in the September following their fourth birthday.
Nearly 40% of four-year-olds and almost all five-year-olds are enrolled in infant classes in primary schools (sometimes called national schools). Primary education consists of an eight-year cycle: junior infants, senior infants, and first to sixth classes. Pupils normally transfer to post-primary education at the age of twelve.
The general aims of primary education are:
- To enable the child to live a full life as a child and realise their potential as a unique individual.
- To enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and contribute to society’s good.
- To prepare the child for a continuum of learning.
The primary curriculum aims to provide a broad learning experience and encourages a wide variety of teaching and learning approaches that cater to the different needs of individual children.
The revised primary curriculum, launched in 1999, was the first complete curriculum revision since 1971. The revised curriculum is designed to nurture the child in all dimensions of their life—spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical.
The curriculum is divided into the following key areas:
- Language – Irish and English
- Social, Environment and Scientific Education
- Arts Education, including Visual Arts, Music and Drama
- Physical Education
- Social, Personal and Health Education.
Talk about What to Expect
Buy some books about what to expect at primary school. Then, spend some time together talking about what a day in primary school will be like. Encourage your child to share any concerns that they might have and address them together.
Attend the School Orientation Together
Most schools will hold an orientation session before the classes begin. Bring your child. The school tour is a great time to figure out what the classroom will look like, the canteen, washrooms and bus pick up and drop off points. Prompt your child for any new questions which they might have after visiting the school. If your child will be attending your alma mater, then sharing some stories about your time at the school will help to make the experience more interesting and relatable.
Buy School Supplies
Go shopping with your child and make sure that you get everything they need before the first day of school. Buy a good school bag, shoes, uniforms, books and stationery too.
Recess Tips and Tricks
Recess is probably going to be the most confusing time for your child. The rush of students to the canteen, the choices they will need to make, and the need to manage money within the 30 to 45 minute time allowed for recess are usually quite stressful initially.
Talk to your child about managing payments, dealing with queues, and making decisions about what to have for recess. To make it easier, you might want to pack a small sandwich or snack for your child for the first 2 weeks of school so that they will still have something to eat if they find it too difficult to manage at recess time.
Talk about Making New Friends
Going to a new school often means saying goodbye to old friends and making new ones. Talk to your child about what they can do to make new friends. Reassure them that they will still be able to see their pre-school friends. Set up some playdates with their pre-school classmates within the first 2 months of primary school so that your child can continue to maintain these friendships.
Do a Transport Dry Run
Whether you will be walking to school together, taking public transport, or using the school bus, it is always a good idea to do a dry run together. Practice waking up in the morning and going to school. Then do it all in reverse for the ride back home.
Establish a Routine
Set up the routine which you will be keeping to during the school week. Get your child used to going to bed early and waking up earlier. Talk about when they should be doing their homework and if there will be any restrictions on TV time in the evenings. Try to start following this routine about 1 month before school begins.
Teach Your Child About Safety
Go through all the different situations your child might encounter at school that are a threat to safety. For example, discuss what to do if an adult or another child makes them feel uncomfortable, talk about fire safety procedures, the dangers of leaving the school grounds unattended and road safety issues.
What should kids know before primary one?
Reading, Writing & Numeracy Skills
In kindergarten, your child would have acquired basic reading, writing and numeracy skills. These essential study skills form the foundation of their education bedrock. The stronger the foundation, the easier their learning journey will be.
The Numbers Game
Numbers are everywhere. From buying food from the canteen to telling time to go to school or head back to class when recess is over, your child needs to know how to count and how to tell the time.
Ability to Follow Instructions
One of the essential primary skills that many kindergarteners have to acquire is understanding what rules are and knowing to follow them. They need to sit still in class to listen to the teachers, stand in line with their “queue partners”, raise their hands if they have questions in class and know the proper way to wear their uniforms.
Organise and take care of their belongings
Primary one students are known to misplace their belongings. Therefore, do not be surprised if water bottles and stationery go missing during the first year at primary school.
Asking for permission to go to the toilet
This is one of the essential things to know before primary 1 that parents often overlook because their kids are usually toilet trained by this point. However, being in a big class or new school environment can be scary for your child.
Social Skills – Communication and Making Friends
In primary school, your preschooler will be placed in a class of up to 40 students. Class discussion in such a large group can be intimidating for your young child. Making friends can also be a daunting task if your child is shy or an introvert by nature.