Australia’s school system

The Education system in Australia is split into four categories. These are Pre-school, Primary School, Secondary or High School and Universities. The educational institutions are primarily the responsibility of the states and territories in which they are based. They provide the funds and regulate the private and public schools in their governing region. The federal government of Australia provides funding for the schools and institutions but does not enforce a set curriculum.

As an Expat with children of school age you will have to register your child into a primary school you must speak directly with a schools head teacher. For a secondary school registration is automatically made by the area in which you live. To be registered on the schools system you must notify your areas local authority and provide a birth certificate, passport, school certificates and a letter from a previous education establishment.

School is obligatory for children from the ages of 6 to 15 years old with the school year beginning at the end of January and ending in December. Children under 6 can attend preschool for a year but it is not obligatory.  6 to 12 year olds go primary school and then move onto secondary school which lasts for four years and ends with the student achieving a School certificate. Moving onto college and further education is optional but doing so will earn a pupil a diploma which is necessary to qualify for university.

If university is not an option then a child could attend one of over 200 Technical and Further Education Colleges (TAFE). These colleges specialise in vocational courses and have over a million students enrolled.  TAFE colleges are state run and are similar throughout the country, many having a number of campuses and training centres (including some universities). Most courses last for around two years and can be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis or combined with a job when the employer allows time off to attend classes.

Australian Universities

Overall there are 39 universities in Australia, 37 of which are financed by the Australian government with 2 of them being private establishments. An Australian degree is highly respected and recognised by other countries. The academic year is split into two semesters and begins in the middle of February and ends in November.

If you want to apply for a place at an Australian university you should begin by applying in writing to the Tertiary Admissions Centre in the state of your choice. Each state TAC allows you to make one application, on which you list a number of preferences. Acceptance depends on your qualifications and how many places are available. You should make sure that you spread your preferences to include some courses on which you’re almost certain to gain acceptance. It’s possible to change preferences once you know your score, e.g. if you score considerably higher or lower than anticipated. Alternatively, you can re-sit your exams or take a year off and re-apply the following year.

As an international student, you must pay your tuition fees up-front.

Your institution will provide you with information on how and when to pay your tuition fees.Aside from tuition fees, some institutions may also charge for other student costs, such as library, laboratory or sports facility costs. Excursions, books and stationery are other costs to consider, and your course may also require specific essential materials, such as lab coats or photographic supplies.