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.
Australia is a provider of high quality schooling
We are devoted to maintaining and improving their international position as a renowned quality education provider. Australia manages this by only appointing qualified and registered teachers in Australian schools. The teaching staff are also provided with ongoing professional development to enhance their skills. Furthermore, the Australian government ensures its high standard of teachers, teaching materials, curricula and school facilities by conducting rigorous and ongoing quality checks on all schools in Australia.
Australia’s national educational delivery standards are world class. Australia always maintains high standards of delivery. The systems of education may vary by degrees from state to state, but the curriculum conforms to high national benchmarks that are the norm in every state throughout Australia. Australia’s numerous international schools are accredited on the basis of providing specialist English courses in Australia to international students.
Effective teaching and learning style
The teaching and learning style is highly interactive in Australian schools. Students are encouraged to develop their confidence and to develop their communication, interpersonal and problem solving skills. Students learn about self discipline and how to respect themselves, others and the society. Students are active participants in the learning process because students interact and receive regular feedback from their teachers about their progress, needs and their in-class behaviour.
All Australian schools, both public and private, follow the national curriculum framework which includes eight key learning areas, and they are:
Society and Environment studies;
Languages other than English (LOTE); and
Personal development, health and physical education.
In addition to the eight key learning areas as described, all students will also receive education in the area of cultural and linguistic diversity. In these studies, students will begin to understand the value and the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity not only in the Australian society but also in other parts of the world.
On top of all the compulsory subjects as described above, students also have other specialised subjects available to them for selection. The subjects available may differ according to the particular school and state of which you are at. However, you can usually expect subjects such as drama, computing and graphic design etc.
As well as classes, students are usually required to participate in study periods, physical education classes, sex education and development classes, chapel services (if the school has a religious influence), and interschool sporting competitions.
Australia is a young, vibrant and safe place to be. Australia has low crime rates and it is also a harmonious and multicultural society where cultural and linguistic diversity is celebrated. Australians are very friendly and helpful people with a great sense of humour. Australians are also very dedicated to preserving their natural resources. So, since most of Australia is sunny all year round, it is therefore an everyday occurrence to see many Australians enjoying outdoor activities such as surfing, biking and fishing in the clean and beautiful mountains, rivers, forest and oceans all across Australia.
The lifestyle of an Australian high school student, especially in the last few years of study, is an even mix of challenging schoolwork, extra-curricular responsibilities, part time work, and an active social life.
Australian students attend school from Monday to Friday every week; the school day usually starts around 8.20am and finishes at 3.30pm.
During the weekend, most Australian students usually have a healthy social and family life. Most weekends include birthday parties or social functions, as well as more casual social outings including going to the movies, cafes, and the beach with friends. During the final year of high school, most Australian students turn 18, which is considered quite a milestone in Australia as being 18 years old allows you to obtain a drivers license, legally drink alcohol, and vote. For these reasons, students usually choose to have 18th birthday celebrations on weekends, which is seen by many as a highlight to the final year of their schooling, and a refreshing comparison to the demanding school work hours they have every week.
Parents of all students attending Australian schools have open access to information regarding the well-being and progress of their child. This may come in forms of either quarterly or annually reports on their childs’ academic performance, and some can even provide comparison of the childs’ results against national standards.
Most Australian high schools aim to cater for all types of learners and abilities. Discipline and strictness varies, some schools are by definition the ‘tough’ high schools.
What differentiate schools are the unique cultures, philosophies, learning environments and facilities, especially sports and computer facilities.
Typically there is a tendency for schools to rely on parent participation: help with tuck shop, excursions and fund raising, in some cases, for even some basics equipment such as air conditioning. Parents also do need to equip their children with uniforms, sports kits, books and lunch.
Australian High Schools are typically resourceful and can point you in the right direction if your children have adjustment difficulties, learning difficulties, behavioural adjustment issues or you need more family help.
Extra curricular activities
Some students will choose to participate in extra curricular activities, which is a good way to take a break from study. Extra curricular activities can include sport teams, such as Australian rules, basketball, swimming teams, soccer and netball. In year 10 and 11, some students will choose to take on part time work on a weekend or after school to earn extra money. However, a school generally does not encourage part time work during year 12, as the school prefers students to be 100% committed to studies.
The Australian school curriculum offers a wide range of cultural, artistic and sporting opportunities. We recommend that you communicate with us what your prefered extra curriculum activities are so that we can try our best to select and place you in a school that already offer them.
However, if you did not notify us prior to placement or if you have just discovered a new activity that you would like to take part in while you are at your host school, you can still communicate this to your host school because arrangements can usually be made for you to do the activity outside of school.
Private tuition and elite programs may also be arranged through your host school should you be interested.
Vocational Education and Training in Schools
In Australian high schools, there are job-specific courses which cater to the needs of the industrial sector. The teen students are provided with hands-on learning so that they find better employment opportunities and career pathways in Australia.
Vocational training has increasingly become prevalent in Australian schools. Many schools have realised the potential that vocational training can bring to students lives.
Such courses provide students with useful work skills and at the same time give them a holistic education that will benefit them in times to come.
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:
* 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:
* 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.