APPENDIX DIFFERENCES IN SCHOOLING STRUCTURES
STRUCTURE OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLING
The structure of primary and secondary schooling in Australia differs between states and territories and has also changed over time.
The two basic patterns evident in formal schooling in Australia in 2013 are:
- Primary school consisting of Pre-Year 1 to Year 6, and secondary school consisting of Year 7 to Year 12 in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, and
- Primary school consisting of Pre-Year 1 to Year 7 and secondary school consisting of Year 8 to Year 12 in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
Pre-Year 1 is known as:
- Kindergarten in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
- Preparatory in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
- Reception in South Australia
- Pre-Primary in Western Australia
- Transition in the Northern Territory, and
- Foundation Year in the Australian Curriculum.
In the year before Pre-Year 1, each state and territory has a preschool year (also known as Year 1 minus 2), however these are excluded from the scope of the NSSC. Data on preschool education are available annually through Preschool Education, Australia
(ABS cat. no. 4240.0).
In Queensland from 2015, Year 7 will become the first year of high school. Twenty state schools will pilot Year 7 in a secondary setting before 2015, to ensure the schools' transition is smooth. For the purpose of reporting in Schools, Australia, Year 7 in Queensland will be treated as primary until the transition has been completed. Western Australian Education authorities are in the process of moving Year 7 from primary level to secondary level. For the purpose of reporting in Schools, Australia, Year 7 in Western Australia will be treated as primary until the process has been completed.
AGE STRUCTURE OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLING
The age at which children must attend school is the subject of specific legislation within each state and territory. In 2013, the age at which a child's attendance at school was compulsory under state and territory legislation was 5 years for Tasmania and 6 years for all other states and territories.
Generally, minimum starting ages restrict enrolment to children aged between four and a half and five years at the beginning of the year looking to commence Pre-Year 1. However, in South Australia, most children start school at age five, and it is common for children to start school at the beginning of the school term following their fifth birthday. Students in South Australia who commenced in Term 4 in 2013 will not have been at school on the Schools Census date, and are not included in this publication.
In addition, the National Youth Participation Requirement, which was effected through relevant state and territory legislation on January 1, 2010, includes:
- a mandatory requirement for all young people to participate in schooling (meaning in school or an approved equivalent) until completion of Year 10, and
- a mandatory requirement for all young people who have completed Year 10 to participate full-time in education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities, until age 17.
For the purpose of the National Youth Participation Requirement, education or training will be considered full-time if the provider considers the course to be full-time or if it includes 25 hours per week of formal course requirements. Exemptions from the National Youth Participation Requirement will continue in line with existing state and territory practice. For further information, see: http://transitions.youth.gov.au
Information on changes to schooling structures over time is also available in the Explanatory Notes.
This page last updated 4 February 2015