Australian school system

Schooling in Australia starts with a kindergarten or preparatory year followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school. In the final year of secondary school, Year 12, you can study for a government-endorsed certificate that is recognised by all Australian universities and vocational education and training institutions. This Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is also recognised by many international universities.


Australia has a national curriculum framework to ensure high academic standards across the country. All schools provide subjects in the eight key learning areas: English, mathematics, studies of the society and the environment, science, arts, Languages Other Than English, technology, and personal development, health and physical education. Schools have English language programs for international students to support their studies.

At secondary school level, choice and diversity are increased as schools are able to offer a wide range of subjects, delivered by highly trained and experienced teachers, and using state-of-the-art technology including the Internet, multimedia equipment and laboratories.

Many students use senior secondary study to gain university entry qualifications. Around nine out of every 10 Australian secondary schools also offer vocational education programs in addition to the standard school curriculum.

Academic year

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.

Culture and sport

Australia's school curriculum caters for a wide range of student skills and interests. Drama, music, art, debating and public speaking skills, along with team and individual sports activities, are all enhanced through interschool collaboration and competition. Schools also arrange for private tuition and provide elite programs designed for talented international students. Purpose-built learning centres and sports facilities offer the ideal environment for the academic and personal development of international students. This wide variety of artistic and sporting pursuits can help students develop organisational and leadership skills, also their independence and confidence.

International Baccalaureate

There are 24 government and non-government schools in Australia offering the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) Only schools officially approved by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) are authorised to offer the two-year pre-university curriculum for students aged between 16 and 19 years of age. Many students within and outside of Australia take the IB Diploma for admission to leading universities in the Asia-Pacific region. However, students considering a vocational career path should discuss their options with the school.