If you are planning to come to Australia with school-aged children, their education will be an important consideration. We’ve listed a few options to suit every family depending on whether you come to stay for a year or two, or if you are wanting to migrate permanently.
The education system in Australia is separated into three different categories: Government, Independent and Catholic Schools.
Local government primary schools (grades Kindergarten/Prep – 6) in Australia are divided into catchment areas. Meaning that in most cases, your children will be eligible for a placement depending on the proximity of your home to the local school. Class sizes in government schools tend to be higher than independent schools (up to 35 students per teacher).
When it comes time to go to high school (Grades 7 -12), the number of state schools decreases but the relevant catchment areas become much larger. The reputation of state high schools can vary considerably. Some schools achieve much better results and have far better onsite facilities. The number of children attending a school increases the funding allowance.
There are several state selective high schools that have a strong academic slant and a good reputation. To gain admission to these schools, students must sit the Selective High Schools Test the year before entry. For some, entry is in Year Seven. Others have entry in Year Nine. There is a high demand for these places and exams are taken the year prior to entry, so it is often not an option for expats moving to Australia mid-way through the school year.
Students can finish their schooling in Year 10 or continue through to Year 12 at which stage they will receive a high school graduation certificate. Students wishing to continue to University must complete year 12 of high school to receive an admission score.
Some states charge an overseas student tuition fee for dependents on temporary visas.
|State or Territory
(Grades K – 6)
|Junior High School
(Grades 7 -10)
|Senior High School
|South Australia||$5,100||$6,100||$6,100||10% discount for subsequent children|
|New South Wales||$5,000||$5,000||$6,000||+$110 Admin and Education Fee|
|Australian Capital Territory||Kindergarten
|$13,900||$13,900||As GPs are on the Skilled Occupation List, dependants may be eligible for a fee exemption|
|Victoria||No higher fee. Standard school fees apply||No higher fee. Standard school fees apply||No higher fee. Standard school fees apply||Standard school fees are approximately|
+ levies $300-$750
+ levies $300-$750
+ levies $300-$750
|457 Visa Holders Exempt|
|Western Australia||$4,000 per family||$4,000 per family||$4,000 per family||$1000 refundable bond must be paid + overseas health cover fee of $553 per year|
|Queensland||$12,204||$13,364||$15,112||Discounts provided if students are not attending a full year|
Roughly 15% of children attend private or independent schools. Many of them are single sex schools and some have boarding facilities. Many of these schools have a link with the church or an alternative teaching philosophy such as Montessori or Rudolph Steiner.
There is some prestige associated with attending private school and despite the high fees, demand for places is high, especially with those considered the ‘best’. The earlier you can apply/enrol your children, the better.
Tuition Fees at independent schools can range from $11,000 to $35,000 per year per student.
Catholic schools account two-thirds of non-government schools and the school fees are usually considerably lower than in the rest of the private sector. Although the majority of students accepted are Catholic, the schools are not exclusive. The costs at these schools can often be less than the levy paid by overseas residents at public schools, making it a popular option with expats. Most Catholic schools will take Catholic students as a priority and will expect you to show a baptism certificate and to live within the parish zone.
Another option for families visiting Australia is international schools that follow the northern hemisphere school calendar. This is a popular option among expats who aren’t certain on whether their move to Australia is going to be permanent. These schools have an International Baccalaureate learning pedagogy and can offer students a diploma that is recognised for college and university admission globally.
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