School attendance is compulsory for all children in Australia aged between six and fifteen years of age, with most children commencing school at five years of age. School students are generally required to attend school from Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 3.30pm. The academic year commences in late January and is divided into four terms of about 10 weeks each.
In Australia there are two main types of schools: government (public), and independent (private) schools. There are many types of independent schools and many are connected with a particular religion, for example, Catholic schools. Fees for independent schools vary greatly and you will need to contact the schools directly to find out what they charge. Some are very expensive and others are less expensive.
For a list of all schools in South Australia, click here. Schools are listed as either Primary or High School/Secondary. A College is often a secondary school but can also cater for junior primary through to secondary. Area schools generally include both primary and secondary levels.
For information on Government (Public) Schools refer to:
- Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS)
- Department of Education, Training & Employment
- Department of Education, Training & Employment web site for international students
For information on Independent (Private) Schools refer to:
Remember to collect a copy of the International Students Family Handbook from the International Student Centre (ISC) once you have arrived in Adelaide. Alternatively, you can download the booklet from the Family section of this web site.
Choosing a School
In choosing a school you will need to consider many factors, including:
- The education program and facilities on offer
- Distance from your home or campus
- Public transport access
- English language support (particularly if your child speaks little or no English)
- Availability of before and after-hours school care and vacation care
What if my child does not speak English?
A number of public schools offer the New Arrivals Program (NAP) for children who were born overseas and speak little or no English. This program focuses on intensive English language development, covers all areas of required study and involves students in integration visits with mainstream classes and school activities. Students remain in the program for approximately one year. They can then stay at the school and continue in the mainstream program OR they can then go to their local school.
Fees and Charges for Government (Public) Schools
International students are charged tuition fees for their children's education. The annual tuition fee for 2011 is
- AUD $3,600 per year for primary school children (from reception to year 7)
- AUD $4,500 per year for secondary school children (from year 8 to year 12)
You will also be required to pay the school materials and services fee each year. This is a fee paid by all parents - local and international. It helps the school buy exercise books, pens and other personal resources for students. This annual fee is set by the school and ranges from $200 at primary school level up to $900 at secondary school level per child per year.
Exemptions from Fees
Holders of an Australian Commonwealth Government Scholarship (eg: AusAID, Defence and IPRS Scholarship) are exempt from tuition fees for their dependent children at Government Schools. For information on how to arrange an exemption, please refer to the ISC's International Students Family Handbook.
Out of Hours School Care
This is care provided for school age children before school starts (usually from 7.30am-8.30am) and after school finishes (3.30pm-6.00pm). It is usually only offered for primary school aged children but you may be able to negotiate for your child to attend if they are in the early years of secondary school. Many Out of Hours School Care programs also provide Vacation Care during the school holidays.
You can find schools providing both Out of Hours School Care and Vacation Care listed in the White Pages telephone directory or ask the school to which you are interested in sending your child. Costs vary slightly, however you can expect to pay approximately AUD $10-20 per day for after school care, AUD $5-10 per day for before school care, and AUD $20-50 per day for vacation care. Check charges directly with the care provider.
'Ethnic schools' run outside normal school hours. They teach language and culture, and are managed and supported by ethnic communities. They are open to all students regardless of their ethnic background. For a list of Ethnic Schools in SA, click here.