What's the Australian education system? At what age kids have to go to school? Is it free or payable?


  • Are you moving to AUS and want to know at what age your kids need to start education? Do you want to find out whether it is free or you need to pay any fees? Will your children have to ware uniforms? Do you want to know when the school starts so you can plan when to go?

Australian Education System

Australian education system

Schools and colleges in Australia

In Australia, the education system involves pursuing studies for twelve years. The student's age determines the stage he will be in during the primary and high school years. This ensures that every room used for studies carries people who are in the same age group. Students repeating classes in Australia are hardly seen since those with academic problems are put in some special classes that help them understand the deficit. The age of five is the age that most children start school with and they will be in primary school for seven years till they are averagely twelve years of age.

Primary and Secondary Schools

Primary school in AustraliaIf you are moving with children the the Down Under country you should get familiar with the following information. Regulated centres called Child care centres are the main education system for children below the age of five. This is also done by families who take in children for family day care services. After attaining the age of five, one goes to primary school where they will spend seven years.

At the age of 12/13, students progress to high school. It is compulsory for students to be in school for the first ten years in school or ten grades.

After attaining and reception of the junior high school certificate, you are always at liberty to choose whether you will proceed to the eleventh year or whether you will stop there. Year 11 and year 12 (when the students are 15/16 year of age and 16/17 years of age respectively) are optional years of study. If you get to year 11 and complete year 12 you get a high school diploma. If you leave school at year ten, you have the option of undertaking apprentice studies or going for vocational schools.

It is the high school diploma that is used to select students for joining the universities. This is gotten from the results of the two last years of study. You get your rank by comparison of your results for individual subjects in comparison to the other students. The overall position is thereby calculated by the board of secondary education by the use of a test known as the QCS in Queensland and is taken by all the students who are on the 12th year of studies. This system takes the students high school results and compares it with the results of children in other schools within the Queensland state.

During the last two years of study, students are at liberty to choose the subjects that will lead them to professions of their choice. There are easier subjects that are generally designed to be chosen by international students. For instance, we have maths A, B, C and so is English. Education in Australia is free. However, it is not free for international students. Check our article aobut student life in Australia.

School Year Timetable and Calendar

What age do children start and finish school in Australia? The Australian academic calendar generally runs from January to December with some breaks in between, the summer that takes six to seven weeks being the longest vacation for the students.

Secondary School Year Timetable and CalendarMost of the other breaks mostly take between ten to fourteen days coming between the two terms. Each semester has got two terms meaning there are four terms in total. Vacations are not always at the same time for all states.

However, the vacations are generally in April, July and September. Private schools also tend to have their holidays start around a week later than that for public schools.

Private schools are mainly affiliated to some religion or denomination and will in many cases have a wider option of co curriculum activities.

The timetable caters for learning from Monday to Fridays with classes starting at 8:45 am and ending at 3 pm with short snack and lunch breaks. Extra curriculum activities catered for in the program are soccer practice and dance classes among others. This is done after 3 pm and Saturday mornings. All the high schools do prepare their students for the same final national exams for the award of a high school diploma.

Technical courses

Vocational schools offer diplomas and certificates thereby allowing students to be able to have access to different academic levels. Certificate courses are door ways to either diplomas or degrees in the Australian universities.

Higher education

Under graduate, graduate and post graduate programs are all offered in both private and public Australian Universities.  A graduate certificate averagely takes 6 months, masters of philosophy an average of a year, master Honour an average of one and a half years and doctorate studies taking averagely two years. These are just in average but the number of subjects you do per semester can make the time to be even longer. However, most of the post graduate studies have been allocated time that a student should ensure they are through with the studies. Would you like to go to school in Australia find out how to get a sudent visa?

English Tests for University and Foundation

Higher educationIELTS test is done by international students before being accepted in Australian universities to gauge their mastery of the English language. Although it is the most preferred English proficiency test, TOEFL that is very popular in the USA as also considered. Foundations English courses are offered in many Australian universities to prepare internationals students for joining these universities.

If you would like to find out answers to the following questions: when are school holidays in Australia, what time does school start, at what age do you start school, what are the fees and do you have to ware uniforms? please contact our relocation agents! We are always happy to guide you through the long moving process.