Structure of Australian Schools

Australian schools are divided into four stages. It is compulsory for all Australian students to attend school until Year 10 or age 16.

The table below shows details of each stages.

Duration = 1 year.
Student ages = 3 to 4 years.
(Offered 2 years before Year 1)
– It is not compulsory.
– It is provided by public and non-government schools.
Preparatory Year
Duration = 1 year.
Student ages = 4 to 6 years.
Offered = the year before Year 1.
– It is not compulsory in some states.
– It is sometimes known by other names in different States and Territories such as ‘Kindergarten, ‘Transition, ‘Reception, or ‘Primary.
– Its curriculum is linked to the primary school curriculum.
– It focuses on the overall development of the students.
Primary School
Duration = 6 or 7 years.
Student ages = 5 to 12 years.
– This level is compulsory for all students.
– There is no entrance examination for public primary schools.
– Co-educational and single-sex schools exist.
– Students learn with others of a similar age.
– Learning occurs by group and individual activities.
– There is one teacher in each class for all subjects except for some specialist subjects (e.g. Art).
– There is no standardised exam at the end of primary school.
– Students do not receive a formal certificate after completing primary school.
– The early part of children\’s education is very important since it is in these formative years that attitudes and behaviour begins to take shape. Emphasis is put not only on the educational side of primary schooling, but also on students developing communication and cooperation skills, which will serve them well in later life.
Secondary School
Duration = 5 or 6 years.
Student ages = 12 to 18 years.
– To enter secondary school, international students must provide their academic records and demonstrate appropriate English proficiency.
– The general tone of secondary education is much more independent and student guided than primary school. Students have many course options which reflect their interests and goals. Some schools emphasise certain subjects more than others. Choice and diversity is increased by schools which specialise in areas such as languages, music, sport, information technology, agriculture or vocational education.
– Co-educational & single-sex schools are available.
– Students have different teachers for most subjects.
– Students move from room to room according to their timetable, and they study in classrooms that are specially designed for subjects such as art, music and science.

Junior High School – usually Years 7-10
– Students take a number of compulsory courses in English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science.
– After completing junior high school, a student may choose to continue into senior high school programs, begin a vocational program, or enter the workforce. However, most students choose to continue to Year 11.
– In some States, a student leaving Year 10 may be awarded a formal certification of completion of that year.

Senior High School – usually Years 11-12
– Students in Years 11 and 12 have a wider range of choices in selecting elective courses such as Computing, Art, and Drama.- Students study subjects that they excel in or that relate to their future career or educational goals.
– Students in Year 12 can study for a government-endorsed certificate that is recognised for further study by all Australian universities and vocational education and training institutions. This is generally known as a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, and it is recognised for entry into many international universities.
Scroll to Top