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Expat Exchange - Educational System in Australia
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Educational System in Australia

By Joshua Wood, LPC


Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Australia repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Australia. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Australia is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Australia.

Relocating to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to understanding the educational system for your children. Australia boasts a high-quality education system that is both diverse and flexible, catering to a wide range of learning needs. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the Australian educational system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language support, public and private schooling options, homeschooling and online schooling possibilities.

What are the main stages of education in Australia?

The Australian education system is divided into three main stages: Primary education, Secondary education, and Tertiary education. Primary education includes preschool and primary school. Secondary education covers high school, and Tertiary education includes vocational education and training (VET), undergraduate degrees, and postgraduate studies.

Primary Education in Australia

Primary education in Australia starts with preschool (or kindergarten) for children aged 3-5, followed by primary school for children aged 6-12. The focus during this stage is on building foundational skills in literacy, numeracy, science, arts, and physical education. Each state and territory has its own curriculum, but all follow the Australian Curriculum Framework.

Secondary Education in Australia

Secondary education, also known as high school, caters to students aged 13-18. It is divided into junior secondary (years 7-10) and senior secondary (years 11-12). The curriculum expands on the foundational subjects, introducing students to more specialized subjects. In the senior years, students can choose subjects based on their interests and career aspirations.

Tertiary Education in Australia

Tertiary education in Australia includes vocational education and training (VET), undergraduate degrees, and postgraduate studies. VET provides practical skills for work, while universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

To enroll your child in an Australian school, you will need to contact the school directly. Requirements may vary, but generally, you will need your child's birth certificate, passport, visa details, and previous school reports. Some schools may also require an English language proficiency test.

Can children still learning English enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning English can enroll in public schools in Australia. Many schools offer English as an Additional Language (EAL) programs to support non-English speaking students.

Are there public bilingual schools?

Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Australia. These schools offer instruction in both English and another language. Admission requirements vary, so it's best to contact the school directly for information.

What types of private schools are common in Australia?

Private schools in Australia include Catholic schools, Independent schools, and International schools. Catholic and Independent schools often have a religious or philosophical orientation, while International schools follow an international curriculum and cater primarily to expat students.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

The choice between public and private schools depends on individual circumstances. Some expats prefer private schools, particularly International schools, for their multicultural environment and English language instruction. Others choose public schools for their affordability and immersion in Australian culture.

How expensive are Private schools in Australia?

Private school fees in Australia can vary widely, from a few thousand dollars per year to over $30,000 per year for some elite schools. It's important to check with individual schools for specific fee information.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Australia?

Yes, homeschooling is legal in Australia. However, each state and territory has its own regulations and requirements, so it's important to check with the relevant education authority.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Australia?

Yes, online schooling is an option in Australia. There are several accredited online schools that offer a full curriculum from kindergarten to year 12. However, it's important to ensure that the online school is registered with the Australian government.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.



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