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Elementary and High Schools in Australia


The elementary and secondary school systems in Australia, often referred to as primary and secondary education, provide students with a foundational education and prepare them for higher education or entry into the workforce. Here is an overview of both systems:

Primary Education (Primary School):

Age Group: Primary education in Australia typically starts at age five or six, depending on the state or territory, and continues until approximately eleven or twelve.

Grade Levels: Primary school generally encompasses grades prep or kindergarten (preparatory year) through to grade 6 or 7, depending on the state or territory. The specific grade structure may vary slightly among regions.

Curriculum: Primary education in Australia focuses on establishing fundamental skills in subjects such as English (language arts), mathematics, science, social studies, and physical education. The Australian Curriculum sets the standards for learning outcomes in primary schools nationwide.

Holistic Development: Primary education places a strong emphasis on the holistic development of students, encompassing academic, social, and emotional growth. Schools often incorporate extracurricular activities, arts, and physical education into the curriculum.

Assessment: Primary school students are assessed through a combination of regular classroom assessments, assignments, projects, and teacher evaluations. Report cards are issued to parents or guardians to provide student progress feedback.

Secondary Education (High School):

Age Group: Secondary education typically begins at around twelve or thirteen and continues until students reach the age of approximately seventeen or eighteen, depending on the state or territory.

Grade Levels: High school generally spans grades 7 or 8 through to grade 12 or 13, with some variations based on the region. Grade 12 is considered the final year of high school.

Curriculum: Secondary education builds upon the foundation in primary school and offers a broader range of subjects. Students can explore various disciplines, including mathematics, English, science, humanities, arts, and vocational education. Some states offer specialized high school programs, such as those focused on technology or the arts.

Pathways: High school students can choose from different academic pathways, including pursuing the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), depending on their state. These certifications are required for university entrance.

Assessment: Assessment in high school includes standardized exams (e.g., the HSC, VCE, or state-specific exams), coursework assignments, projects, and practical assessments. Students' academic performance during high school is crucial for university admission.

Career Guidance: High schools provide career guidance and counselling to help students make informed decisions about their future academic and career pathways. This guidance includes information about university options, vocational education and training (VET), and apprenticeships.

Extracurricular Activities: High schools offer a range of extracurricular activities, including sports, clubs, arts programs, and leadership opportunities, allowing students to explore their interests and develop well-rounded skills.

Transition to Tertiary Education or Workforce: The completion of high school opens doors for students to pursue further education at universities or vocational institutions or enter the workforce directly. Australia's education system provides flexible pathways for various career goals.

In summary, Australia's elementary and secondary school systems provide students with a comprehensive and well-rounded education, emphasizing foundational skills in primary education and offering a diverse range of subjects and opportunities in high school. The system prepares students for future academic and career endeavours while fostering personal and intellectual growth.


Below are some of the websites of government educational authority by state and territory.


Australian Capital Territory (Education Directorate)


New South Wales (Department of Education)


Northern Territory (Department of Education)


Queensland (Department of Education)


South Australia (Department for Education)


Tasmania (Department for Education, Children and Young People)


Victoria (Department of Education)


Western Australia (Department of Education)

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