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1. STRUCTURE OF AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLING

Each state government manages the school system within their state and provide funding for their schools. Both public schools and private schools exist in each state. The curriculum taught in each state or school may vary but the learning areas are the same in all.

It is compulsory for all Australian students to attend school until Year 10 or age 16.

LEVEL

NOTES

Pre-School

Duration = 1 year.
Student ages = 3 to 4 years.
(Offered 2 years before Year 1)

- It is not compulsory.
- It is provided by public and non-government schools.

Preparatory Year

Duration = 1 year.
Student ages = 4 to 6 years.
Offered = the year before Year 1.

- It is not compulsory in some states.
- It is sometimes known by other names in different States and Territories such as ‘Kindergarten, ‘Transition, ‘Reception, or ‘Primary.
- Its curriculum is linked to the primary school curriculum.
- It focuses on the overall development of the students.

Primary School

Duration = 6 or 7 years.
Student ages = 5 to 12 years.

- This level is compulsory for all students.
- There is no entrance examination for public primary schools.
- Co-educational and single-sex schools exist.
- Students learn with others of a similar age.
- Learning occurs by group and individual activities.
- There is one teacher in each class for all subjects except for some specialist subjects (e.g. Art).
- There is no standardised exam at the end of primary school.
- Students do not receive a formal certificate after completing primary school.

- The early part of children's education is very important since it is in these formative years that attitudes and behaviour begins to take shape. Emphasis is put not only on the educational side of primary schooling, but also on students developing communication and cooperation skills, which will serve them well in later life.

Secondary School

Duration = 5 or 6 years.
Student ages = 12 to 18 years.

- To enter secondary school, international students must provide their academic records and demonstrate appropriate English proficiency.

- The general tone of secondary education is much more independent and student guided than primary school. Students have many course options which reflect their interests and goals. Some schools emphasise certain subjects more than others. Choice and diversity is increased by schools which specialise in areas such as languages, music, sport, information technology, agriculture or vocational education.

- Co-educational & single-sex schools are available.
- Students have different teachers for most subjects.
- Students move from room to room according to their timetable, and they study in classrooms that are specially designed for subjects such as art, music and science.

Junior High School - usually Years 7-10

- Students take a number of compulsory courses in English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science.
- After completing junior high school, a student may choose to continue into senior high school programs, begin a vocational program, or enter the workforce. However, most students choose to continue to Year 11.
- In some States, a student leaving Year 10 may be awarded a formal certification of completion of that year.

Senior High School - usually Years 11-12

- Students in Years 11 and 12 have a wider range of choices in selecting elective courses such as Computing, Art, and Drama.- Students study subjects that they excel in or that relate to their future career or educational goals.
- Students in Year 12 can study for a government-endorsed certificate that is recognised for further study by all Australian universities and vocational education and training institutions. This is generally known as a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, and it is recognised for entry into many international universities.

2. SECONDARY SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS

Two qualifications are available from secondary schools:

  1. A CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION OF YEAR 10

This is usually an informal certificate, but some states offer formal qualifications at this level.

Students with a certificate of completion for Year 10 may start to work or begin a vocational education program. They will not generally be accepted into a university program, but may seek mature age entry to some universities later.

  1. A SENIOR CERTIFICATE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION

This is a formal certificate known by different names as follows:

STATE / TERRITORY

SENIOR SECONDARY CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

ACT Year 12 Certificate

New South Wales (NSW)

Higher School Certificate (HSC)

Northern Territory (NT)

Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE)

Queensland (QLD)

Senior Certificate

South Australia (SA)

South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)

Tasmania (TAS)

Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE)

Victoria (VIC)

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

Western Australia (WA)

WA Certificate of Education (WACE)

Students with a Senior Certificate of Secondary Education have more choices, and they may decide to:

  • start work,
  • begin a VET program,

progress directly to university studies.

3. ENTRY POINTS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Entry points might be different depending on the school (government/non-government and/or the State it operates in), but commonly they are as follows:

  1. PRIMARY SCHOOLS
  • Students may enter at Preparatory level or Year 1.
  • A student can enter at any year if the application is accepted by the school, and  they have complete transcripts from their former school. In some instances they may be required to take a placement test to ensure their success at their new school.
  1. SECONDARY SCHOOLS
  • Students may enter Years 6 or 8 or at Years 10 or 11. The entry to these years reflects the beginning of the teaching/learning cycle, e.g. beginning of junior/senior high school)

A student may enter at any year if the application is accepted by the school, and with appropriate transcripts. New students need complete academic records and an appropriate English language proficiency.

4. COST OF SCHOOLING IN AUSTRALIA

School-level education in Australia is very cost effective, especially compared to other English-speaking countries. Costs vary from State to State and depend on whether students attend public or non-government schools. However, the following costs show what overseas students can expect:

TYPE OF COST

COST - $AUD

Application fees
These cover the costs of reviewing the student's application, even though the student may not be accepted by the school.

Variable

Tuition
This depends on the school selected.

$6,000 - 15,000 per year

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
This covers normal childhood accidents and illnesses.

$420 per year

Accommodation
This cost varies considerably.

$70 - 400 per week

Other incidentals
For example, school uniforms, living expenses and learning materials.

Variable

5. ACCOMMODATION FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS

Approximate costs for each type of accommodation are shown here

TYPE

APPROXIMATE COST

Boarding School

A$10,000 - 20,000 per year

Homestay / Farmstay

A$110 - 270 per week

Share Accommodation

A$70 - 250 per week

Rental Accommodation

A$100 - 400 per week

6. ADVANTAGES OF AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLING

According to an AEI research snapshot, in 2016 there were 20,495 international student enrolments in the schools sector, increasing to 25,752 by November 2017.

Some schools and colleges cater exclusively for international students, whereas others have long traditions of student exchange with other international schoolsThere are three important reasons that attract international students to Australia:

  • Quality
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Programs
  • Information and Communication Technology in Schools
  1. QUALITY

The OECD Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009 showed that Australian students were above OECD averages in reading, mathematical and scientific literacy. Some of its findings are listed here:

  • Australia performed better that the USA or UK in all areas.
  • Australia was among the top ten countries in all three areas.

The top 5% of Australian students achieved at the same level in all domains as the top 5% of students in any country.

State and Territory Governments have agreed on a National Curriculum Framework for all Australian schools, that outlines national standards in key learning areas. This framework ensures that all students in Australian schools achieve the best possible outcomes.

The National Curriculum Framework is based on ten common and agreed national goals for schooling. The goals identify the skills, understanding, knowledge, attitudes and values which should be developed in young Australians. They focus on eight learning areas:

  • English,
  • Mathematics,
  • Science,
  • Technology,
  • Studies of Society and the Environment,
  • Health and Physical Education,
  • Languages other than English,
  • Arts.
  1. ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) PROGRAMS

ESL programs in both primary and high schools are available for students whose first language is not English. The types of ESL students range from those newly arrived in Australia and beginning to learn English to Australian born students from a non-English speaking background.

In general, ESL support can:

  • prepare students for entry into school studies in intensive English courses,
  • provide on-going language-support programs for students after they begin their formal studies

Parents of international students have access to translation and interpreter services in the public school system.

  1. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOLS

Australian schools aim to produce graduates who are able to use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively in all aspects of their lives. This means that all students leave school as confident, creative and productive users of new technologies, and understand the impact of those technologies on society.

Australian schools are becoming world leaders in the application of technology to education, and they are well-equipped with the following:

  • Computers,
  • Digital data and communication links,
  • Film and television,
  • Satellite signals to remote locations,
  • Internet access points,

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