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(often referred to as Public/State Schools)

The education system in each Australian state is run by that state's government. Some of the main differences between different states' education system are what each level is called (for example Prep in Queensland is the same as Kindergarten – or K - in NSW). Another difference is that primary school is from Grades 1-6 in some states and from 1-7 in others, which means a Grade 7 student will be in high school in some states but in primary school in other states. There are many good quality primary schools in Australia and in most cases you are eligible for a place if you live within the school’s catchment area. Good areas tend to have good local schools, so often housing is chosen based on the schools zoning. Class sizes can be high (up to 35 students to one teacher) but most parents are happy with the quality of schooling for these formative years. The annual costs for Australian residents are very low, about $500 per year but there is usually a significant amount of in house school fundraising. Some overseas residents do pay tuition fees. (see below – Costs)Temporary residents (on a subclass 457 visa) pay the additional cost, although not all states and territories enforce it. Permanent residents have same rights as citizens and only pay a small contribution (a few hundred dollars a year in average).


Local State High Schools

 When it comes time to go to high school (Year 7 – age 12+), the number of state schools decreases but the relevant catchment areas become much larger. The reputation of state high schools can vary considerably.  Some schools achieve much better results and have far better on site facilities. The number of children attending a school increases the funding allowance. There are a number of state selective high schools that have a strong academic slant and a good reputation. To gain admission to these schools, students must sit the Selective High Schools Test the year before entry. For some entry is in Year Seven, others have entry in Year nine. There is a high demand for these places and exams are taken a year prior to entry, so it is often not an option for ex pats moving to Australia mid way through the school year. Students can finish their schooling in Year 10 or continue through to year 12 at which stage they will receive a high school graduation certificate.

*This certificate is known as a High School Certificate (HSC) in NSW.


Public/State School in Sydney – What will it cost me?

Overseas residents in some states pay a higher premium of school fees in Australia. For NSW are required to pay approx $16,600 per year

Please note: Students who are initially on a short stay bridging visa may be required to pay higher school fees.










For further information and to find a state school in your area go to the Department of Education :



1. Complete application to enrol

2. DE International assess the application 

3. DE International issues a letter of offer

4. The Applicant accepts the offer by signing the letter of offer

5. DE International issued Confirmation of Enrolment


6. Apply for visa



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