Children Education In Australia

(Last Updated On: February 21, 2023)
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    The National Education Council is responsible for developing the Australian Curriculum and Standards (ACS), which are then implemented in Australian schools. The ACS provides a breakdown of both the content that should be taught to children at various ages as well as the instructional methodology.

    When they enter kindergarten, which typically occurs between the ages of 5 and 6, children in Australia get their first taste of formal education.

    The majority of parents decide to enrol their children in kindergarten despite the fact that it is voluntary.

    This is due to the fact that kindergarten helps children develop their social skills and prepares them for elementary school.

    The vast majority of students enrol in primary school, which spans grades 1 through 6, and then move on to high school, which spans grades 7 through 12, if they continue their education beyond the secondary level. There are some private schools that provide education at every level, all the way up to university degrees.

    What are some of the key differences between the educational systems in Australia and the United States?

    When moving to a new country with their children, a lot of parents have this very concern on their minds.

    There is no denying the fact that children in Australia have it pretty good, despite the fact that there are a variety of schools to choose from.

    Every child in Australia is required to attend school for a total of at least 12 years, with the first 11 years spent in elementary school and the final year spent in high school.

    You can rest assured that your child will receive a well-rounded education beginning at a young age because the curriculum for all grade levels places an emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills in addition to science, history, geography, and economics.

    There is also no political bias in the curriculum. In addition, the high school curriculum offers elective courses that are not required for graduation, such as the composition of music or the design of graphics.

    These courses are open to students who have met the prerequisites established by their respective high schools.

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    Schools in Australia

    Preschool, preparatory school (also known as kindergarten), primary school, secondary school (also known as high school), and senior secondary school are the levels of education available to students in Australia (or college).

    Schooling lasts for 13 years, from preparatory to senior secondary. School is compulsory until at least the age of 16.

    Types of schools include government schools, non-government schools (including faith-based schools such as Catholic or Islamic schools) and schools based on educational philosophies such as Montessori and Steiner.

    Every school is required to register with the education department of the state or territory in which it is located, and it is subject to requirements imposed by the government regarding infrastructure and the registration of teachers.

    The students in Australian schools receive more than just an education at these institutions.

    They teach them life skills such as communication, self-discipline, and respect for themselves, their peers, and the world around them. This prepares them for adulthood.

    Schools offer a broad curriculum in the key learning areas – English, mathematics, studies of society and the environment, science, arts, Languages Other Than English (LOTE), technology, health and physical education.

    They also believe strongly in the benefits of a rounded education – including teamwork, self-expression and personal development that happens outside the classroom.

    In Australia, students will enjoy a diverse learning environment that is as personally enriching as it is educational and develop the skills and qualities needed in a changing world.

    A Higher Standard Of Learning

    Australian schools are among the finest in the world. See for yourself what makes an Australian education so valuable:

    • Small class sizes (a maximum of 30 students in a class).
    • University-trained and qualified teachers and specialist teachers in subject areas.
    • Facilities of a high standard – including a high level of technology, with all schools having computers and internet access.
    • 'Gifted and talented’ programs to extend students who are high achievers.
    • ‘High Achievement’ programs, which see the top students studying university-level subjects for advance credit.
    • Individual learning programs for students who require additional learning support.
    • Quality assurance frameworks where schools must meet required standards.

    Producing Thought Leaders

    The curriculum at Australian schools will prepare you for life after graduation.

    Students at our schools are encouraged to become self-directed and successful learners, self-assured and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

    This is done with the goal of equipping students with all of the skills, knowledge, and capabilities necessary to thrive in an increasingly globalised world.

    The primary goals of education in Australian schools, from Kindergarten through Year 12, are to provide equitable opportunities for all students and to pursue educational excellence across the board.

    Teaching Styles And Assessment Methods

    A variety of teaching methods are used, including teacher-directed learning, student research, group projects and presentations, visual presentations, e-learning and interactive classrooms.

    In addition, a variety of assessment methods are used to assess student outcomes.

    Individual research projects, group assignments, oral and visual presentations, the use of technology such as PowerPoint, podcast or vodcast presentations, and more traditional class tests and assignments may all fall under this category.

    In addition, there are testing programmes on both the national and state levels to guarantee that standards are met and kept.

    School Qualifications

    Students are required to take exams and receive an official qualification certificate once they have completed the final two years of secondary school (Years 11 and 12).

    This certificate goes by a variety of names within the state-based education systems that make up Australia; however, regardless of what the certificate is called, it is acknowledged and accepted by all universities, higher education institutions, and vocational education and training establishments located in Australia, as well as by many institutions located in other countries.

    All Australian schools offer a strong welfare structure to ensure the ongoing support of every student. These include:

    Support for school students

    • International student coordinators present in every school
    • A student welfare team
    • Year advisers
    • School counsellors
    • Careers advisers to assist students with planning and applying for post-secondary study
    • English as a second language support staff and programs
    • Students learn with local Australian students
    • Accommodation in homestays: all host families must have a police check to meet requirements of child protection legislation, and homes must meet required standards; students have a 24-hour emergency contact number. Some schools offer boarding.

    Education In Australia


    Education in Australia encompasses the sectors of early childhood education (preschool) and primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (high schools), tertiary education (universities and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

    Regulation and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, however, the Australian Government also plays a funding role. Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of four, five, or six and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the state or territory and the date of birth.

    For primary and secondary education, government schools educate approximately 60 per cent of Australian students, with approximately 40 per cent in non-government schools.

    At the tertiary level, the majority of Australia's universities are public, and student fees are subsidised through a student loan program where payment becomes due when debtors reach a certain income level.

    Underpinned by the Australian Qualifications Framework, implemented in 1995, Australia has adopted a national system of qualifications, encompassing higher education, vocational education and training (VET), and school-based education.

    In addition, for primary and secondary schools, a national Australian Curriculum has been progressively developed and implemented since 2010.

    In 2012, Australia was ranked as the third-largest provider of education to international students, behind only the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Australia is a leading provider of education to students from other countries around the world.

    With 812,000 international students enrolled in the nation's universities and vocational institutions in 2019, Australia has the highest ratio of international students per head of population in the world by a wide margin. Australia also has the highest ratio of international students per head of population in the world.

    The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2018, based on data from 2017, listed Australia as 0.929, the second-highest in the world.

    In 1966 the Australian Government signed the Convention against Discrimination in Education, which aimed to combat discrimination and racial segregation in the field of education.

    Regulation And Funding

    The regulation, operation, and funding of education is the responsibility of the States and territories because the Australian Government does not have a specific constitutional power to pass laws with concerning education.

    However, the federal government helps fund schools that are not run by the government, contributes to the funding of public universities, and subsidises tertiary education through a national student loan programme.

    Additionally, the federal government regulates the providers of vocational education.

    The Australian Qualifications Framework is a unified system of national qualifications that is used in schools, as well as the vocational education and training sector, as well as the tertiary education sector.

    This framework is used to regulate post-compulsory education.

    The Australian Government's involvement in education has been the responsibility of several departments over the years, Government’s with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment being formed in 2020.

    The academic year in Australia varies between States and institutions, however generally runs from late January/early February until early/mid-December for primary and secondary schools, with slight variations in the inter-term holidays and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute.


    In Australia, preschool and pre-prep education is not mandatory and is subject to a relatively lax regulatory environment.

    As a consequence of this, the first opportunity that many children in Australia have to interact with others outside of the context of traditional parenting is at daycare or in a playgroup that is run by parents.

    Except in Western Australia, where preschool education is taught as part of the primary school system, and Victoria, where the state framework, the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF), covers children from birth to 8 years old, and is used by some schools over the national framework, this kind of activity is not generally considered to be part of the educational process. Preschool education is treated as a distinct entity from primary school education in all states and territories.

    In the state of Queensland, preschool education is more commonly referred to as Kindergarten or Pre-Prep.

    These programmes are almost always privately run, but they are eligible for funding from the state government if they are held for at least 600 hours per year and are taught by a registered teacher.

    Preschools are usually run by the state and territory governments, except in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, where they are more often run by local councils, community groups or private organisations.

    Preschool is available to children ages three to five, and while the percentage of children who attend varies greatly between states, overall, 85.7% of kids had attended preschool the year before they started kindergarten.

    The most important year for a child's preschool education is the year that comes immediately prior to the start of primary school.

    This year, attendance is significantly higher than in previous years, and the activities may be condensed into a few hours that take place during the week.

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    Primary And Secondary Education

    10,584 registered schools were operating in Australia in 2019, of which 7,092 were government schools. As of 2019, government schools educated 65.4% of all students. In 2017, there were just under 282,000 teachers in Australian primary and secondary schools.

    Of the non-government schools, nearly two-thirds were Catholic schools.

    The major part of government-run schools' costs is met by the relevant state or territory government.

    The Australian Government provides the majority of public funding for non-government schools, which is supplemented by states and territories.

    Non-government schools, regardless of whether they are religious or secular, will typically require students to pay tuition in addition to other fees.

    Although students are not required to pay tuition to attend government schools, many of these institutions do request "voluntary" contributions in order to help defray the costs of certain activities.

    Regardless of whether a school is a government or non-government, it is regulated by the same curriculum standards framework.

    The framework is administered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

    In addition, most schools require students to wear prescribed school uniforms. A school year in Australia starts in January and finishes in December.

    Compulsory Attendance Requirements

    In Australia, students must attend school between the ages of a certain minimum and maximum, depending on which state or territory they live in. For instance, the minimum age for enrolment in a public school ranges from five or six years old up to fifteen or seventeen years old, but this varies from state to state and territory to territory.

    In the ACT, NSW, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia, children are legally required to attend school from the age of six years old until the minimum leaving age. In Tasmania, the compulsory school starting age is 5 years old.

    However, the majority of children begin their first year of formal education, known as Pre-Year 1, between the ages of four and a half and five and a half years old. This stage of education is also referred to as kindergarten (sometimes referred to as Year K), reception, preparation (also abbreviated as "prep"), and transition.

    As of 2010, the national apparent retention rate (ARR), a measure of student engagement that provides an indicator of the success of education systems in keeping students in school beyond the minimum leaving age, was 78 per cent for all full-time students in Year 12.

    Types Of Schools

    The types of schools in Australia fall broadly into two categories; government schools, which are operated by state or territory departments or agencies; and non-government schools, which are not operated by government departments or agencies.

    Non-government schools can be further classified based on the self-identification of the school's affiliation. For example, non-government schools are grouped for reporting as Catholic schools (including Catholic-affiliated independent schools) or independent (other non-government schools).

    The governments of the respective states and territories provide financial support to the nation's public schools. In most cases, parents are required to make a co-payment towards the cost of their child's education.

    This is the case even though non-government schools receive funding from both the federal government of Australia and the relevant state or territory government.

    As of the year 2019, approximately two-thirds of all students enrolled in primary and secondary education attended government schools, while the remaining one-third of students were educated in non-government schools.

    A relatively small number of students are educated at home legally, and this percentage is significantly higher in rural areas.


    Data on students, staff, schools, rates and ratios for government and non-government schools for all Australian states and territories.

    Key statistics

    • there were 4,006,974 students enrolled in 9,542 schools.
    • Teachers made up 68.1% of in-school full-time equivalent staff.
    • the Year 7 to 12 full-time apparent retention rate was 83.6%.
    • The average student to teaching staff ratio for all schools was 13.5 students to one teacher.


    In 2020

    there were 4,006,974 students enrolled in schools across Australia, an increase of 58,163 (1.5%) since 2019

    government schools held the greatest share of enrolments (65.6%), followed by Catholic schools (19.4%) and independent schools (15.0%)

    Total student enrolments have continued to increase in the five years to 2020, with a 5.5% increase. Independent schools had the largest increase with 9.5%, followed by government schools with 5.9%.

    Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia reported the highest annual growth rates of student enrolments in 2020 (2.8%, 2.5%, 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively), while the Northern Territory reported the lowest growth rate (0.3%).

    These patterns are consistent with changes to the total population aged 5 to 19 years living in these states and territories, with the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria experiencing the highest growth rates for this age group (1.7%, 1.4%, 1.3% and 1.1% respectively), and the Northern Territory with the lowest growth rate (0.1%) (National, state and territory population).

    In 2020, the proportion of students enrolled in non-government schools was

    • highest in the Australian Capital Territory (38.5%) and Victoria (36.0%)
    • lowest in the Northern Territory (25.5%)
    • lower for students enrolled in schools in very remote areas (12.7%) than for remote areas (21.1%), outer regional areas (26.2%), inner regional areas (33.9%) and major cities (35.9%)

    Dr Study provides an early childhood program that is tailored to each child’s needs. We make sure that kids enjoy their start to formal education while also building confidence and a love of learning.

    Retention Rates

    • the Year 7 to 12 full-time apparent retention rate for Australia remained relatively steady at 83.6%, compared to 84.0% in 2019
    • the retention rate for females (88.0%) was higher than for males (79.3%)
    • independent schools had the highest retention rate (93.6%), followed by government schools (81.4%) then Catholic schools (81.2%)
    • South Australia had the highest retention rate at 92.7%, and the Northern Territory had the lowest retention rate at 57.8%

    Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Students

    • there were 240,180 Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in Australian schools, 4.1% more than in 2019
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students accounted for 6.0% of all students
    • the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were enrolled in government schools (83.4%)
    • the Northern Territory had the highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at 39.0%
    • the Year 7 to 12 full-time apparent retention rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students was 59.6%, a slight increase from 58.7% in 2019


    • there were 9,542 schools in Australia, a net increase of 39 schools since 2019 (16 government, 17 independent and 6 Catholic schools)
    • Queensland reported the largest increase in total school counts (15 schools), followed by Western Australia (11 schools) and Victoria (7 schools)

    Schools in Australia fall into two categories: government and non-government. Government schools are mostly free for Australian citizens and permanent residents. ... You will also need to pay for school uniforms, books, stationery and any other items your child requires for school.

    School education in Australia includes preschool, preparatory (or kindergarten), primary school, secondary school (or high school) and senior secondary school (or college). Schooling lasts for 13 years, from preparatory to senior secondary. School is compulsory until at least the age of 16.

    School education is compulsory for all children across Australia, although the child age entry requirements vary by jurisdiction (SCRGSP 2019b). ... Primary school education extends to Year 6 (Year 7 in South Australia). Secondary schools provide education from the end of primary school to Year 12 (SCRGSP 2019b).

    The Australian education system is considered one of the best education systems in the world for both domestic and international students. It enjoys high standards, a comprehensive curriculum, and highly qualified teachers.

    School hours vary slightly across Australia but are generally from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm each school day. Schooling in Australia, compulsory from age 5 to age 15 or 17, depending on the state you live in, starts with a kindergarten or preparatory year followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school.


    • Dr. Olga Abeysekera

      Olga has a PhD in Management from Monash University. Her research focused on how personal differences and social networking impact creativity in the tech industry. She has extensive teaching experience at universities and private tutoring centers, praised for her engaging methods and clear insights. Olga also writes for top academic journals and creates innovative programs that enhance skills and consulting methods. She believes in the power of education to inspire ongoing growth in both studies and careers.

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