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K12 Education System in Australia

K–12 (pronounced "k twelve", "k through twelve", or "k to twelve") is a designation used in Australia for the sum of primary and secondary education. P–12 is also occasionally used in Australia.

Education System

The Australian education system provides primary, secondary and tertiary education. School education is similar across all of Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10).
  • Primary Education school - Runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Preparatory through to Year 6 or 7.
  • Secondary school - Runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.
  • Senior secondary school - Runs for two years, Years 11 and 12.

The Education System in Australia starts with a total of 12 years of Primary and Secondary Schools.

Primary Schools

Primary education in Australia is seven years of preliminary classes, where children commence their education at the age of 5 years (Year-1) and will be completed at the age of 12 (Year-7).

  • Day Care: There are many types of education for children up to 5 years, but the main ones are the "Child Care" regulated centers or families in registered residences who take care of the kids in a system called "Family Day Care".

  • Kindergarten: Children typically attend Kindergarten at around the age of four to five.
This level of education provides general education to the students and gets them ready for a role in society and for the next level of education.

Secondary School

Secondary schools are known as High School. Schools are divided into "junior" and "senior" schools in recognition of the different roles they play in the overall education system.

Students move to secondary school (Year-8) at the age of 12 and it is mandatory to complete their two years of ‘junior high school’ till the Year-10, after which they have the option to discontinue their education or can pursue their further course of study. Students have to accomplish another 2 years of ‘high school diploma’ (Year-12).

Most Secondary schools offer a general curriculum, including English, Math, science and humanities subjects. Australia also has some language and technical schools that offer vocationally focused curriculum. On successful completion of Year 12, students are issued with a Senior Secondary Education Certificate. In Australia each State gives this certificate a different name, but they all denote the same level of education and are reciprocally acknowledged by each different State. Some schools also offer international award programs such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) as an alternative to the Year 12 school-leaver certificate.

Education is compulsory in all states of Australia from K-10 (between the ages 5 to 15)
Effectively, almost all Australian citizens have access to elementary and junior educational provision, under state legislation in the six states (New South, Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania) and in the Australian Capital Territory, while citizens in the Northern Territory obtain education under Federal funding provisions channeled through the Northern Territory administration.

Education is in English, though most primary schools now have access to community language programs. Italian, Japanese, and Spanish are among the most common in state schools, French and German in several of the international language schools in the capital cities, and indigenous languages in Aboriginal schools, particularly in Western Australia, northern Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Australian School Education System at a Glance:


 Age (years)School/Grade
BandCompulsory
 3-5 Preschool Nursery No
 5-11 Kindergarten

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       1
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       2
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       3
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       4
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       5
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       6
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Primary school*

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Yes/No

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Yes
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12-18
7
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8
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9
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10
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11
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12
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High School

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-------------

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Yes/No**
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No
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* Primary school is years 1 through 7 in QLD, WA and SA
** Legal leaving age is 16 or 17, depending on the state
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