Enrolling your child in school

There is a wide choice of public (government) and private schools in ​Australia and it’s important that you register your child for school as soon as possible.

Non-English-speaking children

If your child is assessed by the school as having few or no English skills, they may be referred to an Intensive English Centre. Such referrals are available only to students with permanent residency status. Students on some temporary visas may also be eligible.

Schools in Australia

Every child from pre-primary to year 12 on a permanent visa is guaranteed a place at their local public school.

If your children are dependants on a Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa, you will be required to pay a tuition fee of $4 000 per family per year.

Children on certain visa subclasses may need to enrol as full fee-paying students with enrolment at the discretion of the school’s Principal and subject to capacity.

As private schools can be competitive, it’s a good idea to register your child early to secure them a place.

Children must attend school from pre-primary through to the age of 16. If your child is 16 or 17 years old, they must be:

  • enrolled in a school or a training organisation;
  • employed; or
  • in a combination of school/training/employment.


Kindergarten is the first year of schooling for your child and although it is not compulsory, it is highly recommended as the learning programs are based on children’s interests with a focus on social, emotional, pre-literacy, pre-numeracy and physical development. Programs are part time and it’s a good idea to contact your local public school to find out just how their kindergarten is set up.

If your child is four years old by 30 June, they are eligible to go to kindergarten at the start of the following year. 

If they were born after 1 July, they will be eligible to start kindergarten the year after.


This is the first compulsory year of schooling  and your child must be enrolled at school and attend every day. 

Primary school

Once your child has completed pre-primary, they move on to primary school where they attend from years 1–6 and cover eight core subject areas – English, mathematics, science, society and environment, technology and enterprise, languages, the Arts, and health and physical education.

Secondary school

Your child then goes to secondary school from years 7–12 ​. Most children start year 7 in the year they turn 12 and year 12 in the year they turn 17, with many attending the public secondary ​school​​ closest to their home.

Private schools

You may choose to send your child to a non-government or private school.
These generally have their own fee structures and receive a subsidy from both Commonwealth and State Governments.​​