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(often referred to as Public/State Schools)

When you move to Adelaide or South Australia you will find good quality primary schools in Australia. Schools tell you, you are eligible for a place if you live within the school’s zone. Good areas tend to have excellent local schools, so often housing is dictated by the schools zoning.

Class sizes may be high (up to 30 students to one teacher) however most parents are satisfied with the quality of schooling for these early years: in 2012 the class average was just over 15 pupils to one teacher. South Australian primary schooling takes place from Year 1 - 7 (ages approximately 6 - 11).

Entry: Primary school children start school on the first day of term one in the year of  their fifth birthday as long as they turn 5 before May 1.  Every child will have four terms of preschool and then four terms of Reception when they go to school.

If your child:

  • turns five before May 1 they will start school on the first day of term one in that year
  • turns five on or after May 1, they will start school on the first day of term one the following year.

2020 term dates

  • Term 1 2020 – 28 January to 9 April
  • Term 2 2020 – 27 April to 3 July
  • Term 3 2020 – 20 July to 25 September
  • Term 4 2020 – 12 October to 11 December

Local State High Schools

When it comes time to go to high school (Year 8 – age 12+), the number of state schools decreases but the catchment areas increases. The reputation of state high schools can vary : some schools achieve  better results and some have far better on site facilities. The number of students attending a school increases the funding allowance. Secondary Schooling is from Year 8 - 12. Students can complete their schooling in Year 10 or continue through to year 12. During the two senior post-compulsory years (year 11 and 12) students will be expected to strive for the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). Similar to that of other states it is a measure of their results in specified subjects.

For more information visit:

Entry: Secondary Students are eligible to enter the first year of secondary school, Year 8, after completing seven years of primary education.


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

The annual costs for state schools in Adelaide and South Australia for Australian residents are not high but there is usually a significant amount of in house school fundraising. Overseas residents (including temporary residents on a subclass 457 visa) in South Australia may be asked to pay a contribution. 457 visa holders arriving from January 2017 and earning more than $77,000 will be asked to pay school fees of $5100 per child for primary school and $6100 per child for Secondary school. From January 2018 all 457 visa holders including those already in South australia before January 2017 will be expected to pay these new fees.Currently 457 visa holders pay the same as Australian citizens around AU$211 for a primary school place and AU$281 for secondary school place. There are some additional costs for books and uniforms.



  1. Make an appointment with the local school in your area – they will give you an application to enrol to complete.
  2.  Get documentation organised – Passport, Birth Certificate, Copy of Lease (or similar) to show you live in catchment area. Plus immunisation records from your doctor.
  3. Go in with everything - they sign off and it gets sent for approval.

For further info re temporary residents and rules that relate to visa-sub class go to:


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




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