4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2011   
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1 The structure of primary and secondary schooling in Australia varies between states and territories. The two basic patterns evident in current formal schooling in Australia in 2010 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. 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. Secondary education comprises Years 8 to 12 for these jurisdictions.

2 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. In Queensland Pre-year 1 is called Preparatory, in South Australia it is called Reception, and in Western Australia it is called Pre-Primary.

3 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. The first release of the Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) is scheduled for release on 4 March 2011.

4 Variations to the structure of schooling also occur over time. See the Explanatory Notes, for information on changes to schooling structures.

  • The age at which children may attend school is the subject of separate legislation within each jurisdiction. In 2010, 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, minimum starting ages restrict enrolment to children aged between four and a half to five years at the beginning of the year commencing Pre-year 1.
  • The National Youth Participation Requirement describes the changes that have come into effect from 1 January 2010 for each state and territory.
  • All States and Territories will implement the National Youth Participation Requirement. (footnote 1)
  • The National Youth Participation Requirement includes:
      • a mandatory requirement for all young people to participate in schooling (meaning in school or an approved equivalent) until they complete Year 10; and
      • a mandatory requirement for all young people that have completed Year 10, to participate full-time (defined as at least 25 hours per week) 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 Requirements will continue in line with existing State and Territory practice.

1 Source: 'National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions,' 2009, Council of Australian Government, p6. <back