An Introduction to Childcare and School Education in Australia


Parents who have work, study or other commitments may have to arrange childcare for their children offered by approved or registered childcare providers. Childcare and early learning services are advantageous to children and can help them develop social, emotional and learning skills. Furthermore, children who have just arrived in Australia can reap other benefits from attending childcare, including learning English and familiarising themselves with the Australian environment.

The types of childcare services available include long day care, family day care, occasional care, in-home care, vacation care and outside school hours care for primary-school-aged children. Preschool or kindergarten programs are also available at childcare centres to prepare children for school.


Preschool and School

Preschool or kindergarten is available for all children the year before they attend school.

In Australia, children must attend school from five years old until they complete their Year 10 education. After Year 10, they are required to engage in either full-time study, training, employment or a combination of these for a minimum for 25 hours per week until they reach 17 years of age.

Primary education starts from preschool or kindergarten to Year 6 or 7 and lasts seven or eight years. This is followed by junior secondary school from Year 7 or 8 to Year 10 for three or four years. Senior secondary schools or colleges last two years and are for students in Years 11 and 12 who are preparing for final high school examinations.

Parents can choose to send their children to public or private schools. Public schools provide free education, but some require a small annual fee for educational and sporting programs. However, students on temporary visas may have to pay full school fees. Private schools charge school fees and may have religious affiliations or their own educational philosophies.