Given that education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of the states and territories, there are slight differences in the schooling structures and requirements of each.
So what are the rules and regulations in your state or territory?
Get tips in our latest guide.
In the Australian Capital Territory, children must be five by April 30 to begin kindergarten and must be enrolled in Year 1 if they turn six by April 30. Students are required to complete Year 10 and then continue in either education, training or employment until they finish Year 12 or turn 17, whichever happens first.
New South Wales requires children to start school if they turn five by July 31 of that year and all children must be enrolled by the age of six. Students need to complete Year 10 and until they turn 17 they must either remain at school, undertake training or employment, or a combination of these.
In the Northern Territory, children turning five on or before June 30 can enrol in Transition and all children must be enrolled in school by the age of six. Students must complete year 10 and until they turn 17, they must either be in full time education, approved training courses or employment.
Children in Queensland must be five by June 30 in order to enrol and all children must be enrolled in the year they turn six years and six months. Students must complete year 10 or remain at school until the age of 16, whichever comes first. They then must participate in ‘learning or earning’ (further education or training) for two years or until they turn 17.
In South Australia a child who turns five before May 1 will start school that year; if they turn five on or after May 1, they will commence the following year. Students can leave high school at the age of 16, but they must remain in some form of education or training until they turn 17.
Children in Tasmania must be five by January 1 in order to start school. They must then stay in school, approved training, work or a combination of these until the end of the year in which they turn 17 and 6 months or until the age of 18.
Victoria requires children to be five by April 30 in order to enrol in Prep and all children must have started school in the year they turn six. Students cannot leave school until they complete year 10 and must attend school, training, employment or a combination of these until they turn 17.
In Western Australia, children can start school if they turn five by June 30 and must start school in the year they turn six. They must stay in school, training, approved work or a combination of these until the end of the year they turn 17 and 6 months or the age of 18.
Of course, the age your child starts or finishes school largely depends on their own development and the decision to ‘hold a child back’ a year will be influenced by many factors. Each child will be different, so it’s important to consider what is best for yours.
Australian Education System: State by State
|State/Territory||Pre-Prep||Prep Year||Prep age requirement||Primary School||Grade 1 age requirement||High School|
|ACT||Preschool||Kindy||5 by April 30||Grade 1-6||6 by April 30||Grade 7-12|
|NSW||Preschool||Kindy||5 by July 31||Grade 1-6||6 by July 31||Grade 7-12|
|NT||Preschool||Transition||5 by June 30||Grade 1-6||6 by June 30||Grade 7-12|
|QLD||Kindy||Prep||5 by June 30||Grade 1-6||6 by June 30||Grade 7-12|
|SA||Preschool/Kindy||Reception||5 by May 1||Grade 1-7||6 by May 1||Grade 8-12|
|TAS||Kindy||Prep||5 by January 1||Grade 1-6||6 by January 1||Grade 7-12|
|VIC||Kindy||Prep||5 by April 30||Grade 1-6||6 by April 30||Grade 7-12|
|WA||Kindy||Pre-primary||5 by June 30||Grade 1-6||6 by June 30||Grade 7-12|