School System

The Australian school system is divided into public schools and private schools. In each system are two levels of schools, primary and secondary schools. The primary school, referred to as “elementary”, usually comprises the grades of prep year through the seventh grade.

Secondary school, called “high school”, normally offers education from the eight through the twelfth grade. Progression from one grade to another and from one level of school to the next is predicated on successful completion of the previous grade or school.

Graduation from each grade and from each level of school takes place upon successful completion of required course work. There is no comprehensive examination required for passing from year to year or for graduation. High school graduation is regarded as the end of basic education and follows the completion of the twelfth grade. Basic education is compulsory in all states, and, depending on the state, a child is required to attend school until the age of 16. High school graduation is not mandatory.

Colleges offers the next two years after high school and is generally accepted as equivalent to two years of college.

Senior Secondary Education Australia

Most international students enter the Australian school system in the final two years of high school, Years 11 and 12. Successful completion of these two years prepares students for further study at technical institutes or universities in Australia.

Study Senior Secondary Education 

Are you thinking about getting into an Australian high school, are you a parent concerned about your child future success, or are you simply thinking of doing something different – our Senior Secondary Education Advisor for Australia will answer your questions! Senior Secondary School covers the last two years of secondary education in Australia, and is the best pathway for entering an Australian university. What’s more, Australian schools provide a standard and quality of education equal to the best in the world. They take into account the needs, talents and interests of individual students and offer excellent support services.  The syllabus between public and private schools has only minor variations.

In any school you will take a public (external) exam at the end of Year 12 which indicates satisfactory completion of secondary education.  Senior Secondary schools in Australia teach compulsory as well as elective courses. Around two thirds of secondary school students attend government secondary schools and one third attend private or independent schools.

Compulsory subjects include:

* English
* Mathematics
* Humanities (History and Geography)
* Science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry)
* Foreign Languages (European and/or Asian)
* Physical Education

Elective courses vary from school to school, and might include classes such as:

* Art
* Drama
* Music
* An expanded choice of foreign languages, technical and business subjects

Academic year / school terms

The school year is divided into four terms and runs from late January/early February until December. There is a short holiday between terms and a long summer holiday in December and January.

Students attend school from Monday to Friday each week. School hours vary slightly across Australia but are generally from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm each school day.

Average Tuition Costs
$A6 000 – $A13 000 per year

Secondary education is the stage of education following primary school. Secondary schools are generally the final stage of compulsory education. The next stage of education is usually TAFE, private college or university.

Secondary Schools Australia – Student Age

Year 7: 12-13 year olds (ACT, NSW, TAS, and VIC,) Middle School NT
Year 8: 13-14 year olds
Year 9: 14-15 year olds
Year 10: 15-16 year olds (high school NT)
Year 11: 16-17 year olds
Year 12: 17-18 year olds

NB: In some states students may be slightly younger, it varies between states. Some Independent schools also vary in whether grade 7 is secondary or primary as well as the existence of middle school.

Secondary students in Australia are required to complete 12 years of schooling, including a preparatory year. Year 12 students can obtain a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education that is nationally recognised for the purpose of admission to universities, TAFE colleges & Technical Institutes. Students may also be eligible for admission to international universities since Australia’s qualifications framework is renowned internationally.

The key learning areas in Australian secondary schools are English & Maths, Study of Society & The Environment, Science, Foreign Languages, Technology, Health & Physical Education. These are the priority areas as identified by the Australian Federal government.

Students can use their final year qualification to gain entry to universities & colleges. Others may choose to attend schooling that is complemented by vocational training in order to better prepare themselves for the job market. If you wish to study at an Australian secondary school, it is highly recommended that you first consult a trained education counsellor in order to make an informed choice. The AA Education Network offers the services of a trained counsellor with indepth knowledge of the Australian secondary system.

Australia Education

Australia Education: The Australian education system is highly regarded, internationally recognized and has high academic standards. The AA Education Portal is a gateway to more than 5000 articles that give reliable information about education and training in Australia.

Australia's education system offers valuable opportunities for international students and interns looking for an academic and personal challenge in an English-speaking school system that is compatible with their own. International students are invited to enroll in individual international study programs and workexperience programs. All international education programs are considered "accredited" and education and cost of education in Australia are closely monitored by the Australian Government.

Interested in high school, language school, college or university study in Australia? Australia experts offer free education advice assisting in enrolment, also provides a range of support services for overseas visitors wishing to study, holiday or work in Australia.

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