APPENDIX 1 DIFFERENCES IN SCHOOLING STRUCTURES
CURRENT GRADE STRUCTURE OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLING
1 The structure of primary and secondary schooling in Australia varies between states and territories. In 2008 the Northern Territory moved to exclusively include Year 7 students in secondary education. The two basic patterns evident in current formal schooling in Australia are illustrated below:
- In New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory primary education comprises a Pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 6. In New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Pre-Year 1 is called Kindergarten, in Victoria and Tasmania it is called Preparatory and in Northern Territory it is called Transition. Secondary education comprises Years 7 to 12 for these jurisdictions.
- In Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia primary education comprises a Pre-Year 1 grade followed by Years 1 to 7. In Queensland Pre-year 1 is called Preparatory, in South Australia it is called Reception, and in Western Australia it is called Pre-Primary. Secondary education comprises Years 8 to 12 for these jurisdictions.
Each state and territory also has a preschool sector which is separate from primary and secondary schooling. Data on preschool education within schools have been excluded from primary enrolments and staffing estimates in this publication.
Variations to the structure of schooling also occur over time. See Explanatory notes, paragraphs 9 to 11, for examples of changes to schooling structures.
AGE OF SCHOOLING
The age at which children may attend school is the subject of separate legislation within each jurisdiction. In 2009, the age at which a child's attendance at school becomes compulsory was 6 years for all states and territories except Tasmania, where it was 5 years. In practice, the majority of children start earlier, with minimum starting ages restricting enrolment to children aged between four and a half to five years at the beginning of the (Pre-year 1) school year.
In 2009, children were required to be at school (or undertaking the school curriculum in the case of home schooling) until:
- reaching 15 years of age (NSW, NT and ACT) or
- reaching 16 years of age (Vic., SA and Tas.) or
- reaching 16 years of age or completing year 10 (Qld) or
- the end of the year in which students turn 17 (WA).
- From January 2009, students in South Australia are required to be in full-time education or training until the age of 17, or until they gain a qualification (whichever comes first). This is different from the compulsory school age which stays at 16.
From January 2010
- students in Victoria will be required to attend school until the age of 17
- students in the ACT will be required to remain in education until achieving Year 10 and then will be required to participate in full-time education, training or employment until completing Year 12 or equivalent, or reaching age 17, whichever occurs first.
This page last updated 27 January 2011