Australian schools: Opening doors to the future

Australian schools are acknowledged world leaders in the fields of curriculum development, academic progress, the use of information technology in the learning environment, and outdoor education as part of the child’s development. These unique features, combined with a supportive and safe living environment, have made Australian school education increasingly popular with international students and parents.

 

Australia is a safe, multicultural society. Parents know their children will be well looked after in the school and in the community as a whole.

 

Australia-wide assurance of quality

The Australian school system

A choice of Government or independent schools

Pathways for tertiary learning

School facilities and extra-curricula activities

Accommodation options

Australia-wide assurance of quality

The Australian Qualifications Framework ensures that school programs around the country are at the same high standard. For example, students sitting final year exams in Melbourne and Perth will be undertaking a similar level of study to gain their final year certificates.

 

Australian quality assurance is also ensured by the Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act. This law governs the quality and delivery of education to international students. Institutions which offer education to non-Australians must register with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and comply with educational, pastoral and consumer standards.

The Australian school system

Australians start school at four or five years old and have 12 years of primary and secondary school. While the States and Territories have slightly different school structures, generally:

 

  • primary school is Kindergarten to Year 6 (age 5–12)
  • secondary school is Year 7 to Year 12 (age 12–18)

 

In Year 12, students sit the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. This certificate is recognised for entry into further study in all Australian universities and vocational institutes. It also recognised for entry into many international universities.

 

Your IDP counsellor can help determine which level of schooling your child should go into. You may need to provide academic reports or records from your child’s current school.

 

The school year is from January/February to December and is divided into three or four terms with short holiday breaks. The long summer holiday is at the end of the year.

 

Students attend school from Monday to Friday, from around 9am to 3pm. Extra-curricula activities such as sport, music and drama may be held after school or on Saturdays. Often students are involved in team sports (eg tennis, netball, soccer, rugby and hockey) which are usually played on Saturdays.

A choice of Government or independent schools

In the Australian school system, there are two types of schools. Both types of school must meet the Australian Government standards.

 

  • Government schools (run by each State and Territory Government Department of Education)
  • Independent schools (usually have a religious affiliation and are controlled by a school board).

 

Government schools (public)

These schools are under the authority of the State Department of Education and are regulated by a centralised Government body. Governments offer a strong platform of education without a religious denomination behind it, but will include a similar curriculum as an independent school.

 

Most Government schools are co-educational (both boys and girls). Only a few schools are single sex (only boys or only girls).

 

Independent schools (private)

An independent school operates separately from Government administration – while in accordance with Government standards and regulations – as their curriculum is often supported by a religious denomination. Funding comes primarily from the schools administration, and the school is controlled by a school board. Independent schools may also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) along with the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

 

Independent schools may be co-educational (boys and girls) or single sex (only boys or only girls).

Pathways for tertiary learning

Each State and Territory has a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education that is awarded on successful completion of the final year of study. Each State’s award is transferable across all States and Territories in Australia and is accepted by many universities internationally.

 

Some schools also offer the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB). The IB is a rigorous pre-university course of studies, leading to examinations that meet the needs of highly motivated secondary school students in the final two years of senior secondary education. The IB is an internationally transferable and recognised award that can be used to apply for university entrance worldwide.

 

Australian schools have developed strong links with local universities and vocational education providers. Each institution takes great care to prepare its students for the intellectual and emotional demands of further education, and takes pride in the number of students graduating into university. It is their aim to give students a solid foundation from which to develop into the best person they can be.

School facilities and extra-curricula activities

Australian schools have modern facilities and state-of-the-art equipment. Generally schools have smart boards in the classrooms, comprehensive libraries, computer labs, science labs, music rooms, gymnasiums, halls or theatres and sporting facilities. Schools are well-resourced technologically. For international students, there are numerous resources for learning English and adjusting to the Australian lifestyle.

 

Schools aim to develop their students into well-rounded adults. This means they encourage a wide range of extra-curricula activities, in addition to the academic program. For example, your child may play the violin, get involved with debating at lunchtimes, compete in the cross-country against other schools, learn a new language, join the IT club or play soccer on the weekends.

Accommodation options

International students at Government schools are likely to live in homestay arrangements. Homestay means staying with a local Australian family for a fee. Your school can assist in arranging homestay with a family that suits your child. Homestay means security as your child is living in a family environment with responsible adults.

 

Independent schools usually have boarding school facilities on campus or near the school. Boarding usually means sharing a dormitory or room. In some schools, final year students have their own room. Students are given all meals and have common lounge-room and entertainment facilities. In a boarding house, students are supervised at all times. Some independent schools may also arrange homestay accommodation.

 

Studying in an Australian school opens the door to unique pathways into the future. For more information, contact your nearest IDP office.