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(often referred to as Public/State Schools)

If you are moving to ACT from another state or moving from overseas it is good to understand that there are differences in the education systems between states. This is because the education system in each Australian state is administered by that state's government. There are many good quality primary schools in ACT and in most cases you are eligibleto attend these schools if you live within the school’s Priority Placement Area (PPA). Good areas will 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.

Entry: Your child must enrol in Primary school if aged 5 or turning 5 on or before 30th April of that year. Primary School goes from Years 1 to 6.

Local State High Schools

When it comes time to go to high school (Year 7 – age 12+), the number of state schools is less but the relevant catchment areas is much larger. The reputation of state high schools can vary.  While some schools achieve much better results, others may have far better on site facilities. The number of children attending a school has an impact on the funding allowance. Although ACT does not have state selective high schools that have a strong academic slant, Lyneham High School does run selective programs for both academic and sporting high achievers. 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 the ACT Year 12 Certificate

Entry: Secondary School commences in Year 7 to 12. Secondary students who continue through the post-compulsory years will receive a Year 12 Certificate which lists all subjects and results gained. For those eligible there will also be a Tertiary Entrance Statement.


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

If you are on a 457 visa then the schools can charge per child as following

  • $11,100 Kindergarten – Year 6 primary school
  • $14,500 Years 7-10 high school
  • $16,200 Years 11 and 12 high school

If you live in the ACT you can apply for an education fee waiver if you are involved in a job that appears on the Skilled Occupation List. For full details visit:


1. First complete an application for enrolment Application to enrol in an ACT Public School 

2. The nominated school will notify you whether your application has been provisionally accepted or has been referred to another school, and what to do next.

3. Collate documentation. You will need : Passport, Birth Certificate, a lease to show you live in the catchment area; name and contact details of parents or guardians and emergency contacts; information on health of the child; doctor and dentist details and immunisation certificate; languages spoken;

4. Each school will give you the relevant forms which they need filled and will assist if you need an interpreter to fill them in.

If you are unsure of anything you can email:









For further information go to the Department of Education:

To find a state school in ACT go to:

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