School education

To ensure Australia’s future prosperity and to remain competitive internationally, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring that all Australian students have access to a high-quality school education through its Students-First approach.

The Australian Government plays a leadership role in school education and invests in areas of national educational significance. States and territories have responsibility for the delivery of school education in Australia with schools operated by government and non-government education authorities, including Catholic and independent systems and schools.

All education ministers work together to progress national objectives through the Education Council. Education ministers released a national declaration on 12 December 2008 on the educational goals for young Australians. The Melbourne Declaration has two national goals:

  • Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence; and
  • that all young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

Formal schooling in Australia starts with a Foundation Year (the year before Year 1, which is known variously as Kindergarten, Preparatory Year, Pre-primary, Transition or Reception), followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school. In the senior secondary years, (Years 11 and 12) students can study for the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (commonly referred to as Year 12 certificate), which is required for entry by most Australian universities and vocational education and training institutions. It is also recognised as an entry requirement by many international universities. For more information visit the Australian Qualifications Framework website.

A list of school term dates is available. Families can also contact individual schools to get more information on their term dates.

Further information on state and territory government education is available from the following websites:

Information about non-government school education can be found at the National Catholic Education Commission  and Independent Schools Council of Australia websites.


The following is a list of all the news items that are associated with School education.

National History Challenge Award winners

News | 29 November 2016

Incredible young Australians delve into history

News | 3 December 2015

An elite group of the nation’s finest young minds were honoured at the National History Challenge (NHC) awards presentation ceremony held at the Mural Hall at Parliament House on 1 December 2015.