What You Need to Know About International Schools Australia

The education system in Australia is divided into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary (higher) education, with only primary and secondary being compulsory. There are many international schools in Australia to choose from. All of them offering the International Baccalaureate, British, or American curriculum. Several things you need to familiarize yourself with when enrolling your kids is the school-age and grading system in Australia. Its grading system is as follows: HD (high distinction), D (distinction), C (credit), P (pass), N (fail).


Educaion in Australia

Expect nothing less but first-class education standards from the land Down Under. In fact, the United Nation’s Education Index ranks Australia as the second in the world. High-quality education begins in the primary level and ensures that the children lead successful and fulfilling lives. The top-rated schools in Australia can be found in NSW and Victoria.

School tuition varies and depends on whether you enroll your children in a public or private school. Although considered quite expensive, private schools guarantee that your children are getting quality education. Private schooling can cost up to 10,000 AUD (6,582 USD) a year, while a government-run school will only cost a few hundred dollars annually. Education in Australia encompasses the sectors of early childhood education and primary education, followed by secondary education, tertiary education and adult education.

For more information on relocating to Australia, you can check our relocation section.

Grade Levels and Corresponding Age

The corresponding grade levels in terms of age may slightly vary from state to state, but you may use the guide below to give you a general idea.

Grade Level Age

Kindergarten 3-5

Prep/pre-primary 5-6


Primary School

Grade/Year Level Age

Grade 1 6-7

Grade 2 7-8

Grade 3 8-9

Grade 4 9-1

Grade 5 10-11

Grade 6 11-12

Secondary School

Grade/Year Level Age

Grade 7 12-13

Grade 8 13-14

Grade 9 14-15

Grade 10 15-16

Grade 11 16-17

Grade 12 17-18

Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five or six and fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen, depending on the state. Once your child has completed compulsory education (primary and secondary) and you are willing to let them pursue higher education, the options for further studies are wide, as well as pricey. Public schools are more or less free for Australian citizens and permanent residents. Private schools however, may cost up to 10,000 AUD (6582 USD) annually. International schools on the other hand can get costly, but is the best option for expat families who frequently travel.

International Schools

Premium pricing aside, International schools are also known for its culturally permissive and tolerant environment. Australia has plenty of options for international schools whether for primary, secondary, or even university education.

Here are some of the best International Schools in Australia:
▸ Leonard’s College
▸ The Hutchins School
▸ German International School of Sydney
▸ Australian International Academy

The main difference between public and private schools include:
▸ Ownership and Tuition
▸ Private schools are also called independent schools, as they are owned and operated by a non-government entity
▸ Public schools are run and funded by the government.
Private schools are more expensive than public schools and can cost more than 10,000 AUD (6,840 USD) per year.
Public school tuition fees are usually no more than a few hundred dollars annually.
▸ Both schools may require uniforms.
▸ Facilities may be better in private schools including libraries, laboratory facilities, sporting and gym facilities, classroom quality,
and music and art rooms.
▸ Private schools tend to have a lower student-teacher ratio while public schools cannot turn away students.
▸ Admission requirements for private schools are more rigorous and demanding compared to public schools.

Required documents for a public school can be as simple as providing
▸ Proof of address
▸ Proof of your child’s age
▸ Current level of education

On the other hand, private schools will additionally require:
▸ An interview
▸ Entrance exam
Religion is not part of any public school’s curriculum and strictly follow government guidelines, while private schools enjoy more leeway in terms of subjects being taught inside its walls.

Daycare and Kindergarten

Some of the most common options for childcare in Australia are:
▸ Home-based carewhen a friend, babysitter, relative, or nanny cares for your child in your home.
▸ Center-based care—includes preschools/kindergartens (see below), long daycare, and occasional care.
▸ Family daycare—when an approved carer looks after your child in the carer’s home.
▸ Outside school hours care—center-based daycare for parents who need childcare before or after school and school holidays.
▸ Childcare is mainly intended for children under five years old.
The words “preschool” or “kindergarten” are used interchangeably in Australia.

Childcare and school costs vary depending on the state. Below are some approximate costs.
▸ Live-in nanny (hourly)

17-25 AUD (12-17 USD)
▸ Live-out nanny (hourly)

17-35 AUD (12-15 USD)
▸ Daycare (daily fee)

70-190 AUD (50-130 USD)
▸ Preschool/kindergarten (per day)
45-80 AUD (30-55 USD)
▸ Babysitter (hourly)

15-35 AUD (10-25 USD)

Some of Australia’s best primary and secondary schools

Top Primary Schools
▸ Sydney Grammar School
▸ Aloysius’ College
▸ Bajool State School
▸ Presbyterian Ladies’ College
▸ Haileybury College

Top Secondary Schools
▸ James Ruse Agricultural High School
▸ North Sydney Boys High School
▸ Baulkham Hills High School
▸ Sydney Girls High School
▸ Sydney Boys High School

Primary School in Australia
This usually begins at age 11 or 12 and focuses on basic skills such are reading, math and developing social skills. Eventually, a foreign language will be introduced.

A typical schedule for a kid in primary school can be as follows:

▸ 9:00–11:00—classes
▸ 11:00–11:30—recess
▸ 11:30–13:30—classes
▸ 13:30–14:30—lunch
▸ 14:30–15:30—classes

Secondary School in Australia

This is more specialized compared to primary school and includes English, mathematics, science, geography, civics, economics, humanities, business, citizenship, technology, language, and the arts.

A typical schedule for a student in secondary school can be as follows:
▸ 8:30–10:15—classes
▸ 10:15–10:45—recess
▸ 10:45–12:20—classes
▸ 12:20–13:20—lunch
▸ 13:20–15:00—classes

International Schools

If you’re an expat who moves around a lot, it is highly recommended that you enroll your child in an international school.
Below is a list of some of the international schools you will find in the country:

Top International Schools in Sydney
▸ International Grammar School
▸ International French School of Sydney
▸ The German International School
▸ Sydney Chinese School
▸ Sydney Japanese International School

Top International Schools in Melbourne
▸ Wesley College
▸ Sophia Mundi Steiner School
▸ Carey Baptist Grammar School
▸ Sacred Heart College
▸ Haileybury

Top International Schools in Brisbane
▸ Cairns State High School
▸ Indooroopilly State High School
▸ Mountain Creek State High School
▸ Queensland Academy
▸ Somerset College

Top International Schools in Perth
▸ The Japanese School
▸ International School of Western Australia
▸ Treetops Montessori School
▸ Scotch College
▸ Helena College

Top International Schools in Adelaide
▸ Adelaide International School
▸ Glenunga International High School
▸ Mercedes College
▸ Loreto College
▸ Our Saviour Lutheran School

Top International Schools in Gold Coast
▸ Gold Coast International College
▸ Shafston International College

Top International Schools in Newcastle
▸ Newcastle Grammar School
▸ Medowie Christian School

Top International Schools in Canberra
▸ Telopea Park School (French school)
▸ Melba Copland Secondary School
▸ Narrabundah College
▸ Red Hill Primary School
▸ North Ainslie Primary School

International School Tuition Fees

Here are the annual tuition fees for some of the schools mentioned above:
▸ Telopea Park School—approximately 250–350 AUD (169–237 USD)
▸ International French School of Sydney—10,145–17,882 AUD (6,861–12,095 USD)
▸ Glenunga International High School—630–690 AUD (426–467 USD) for residents and 10,000 AUD (6,764 USD) for expat students

Australia is known for its many universities for tertiary education. Below are recommended top universities based on their faculty and alumni:
▸ Accounting and finance—UNSW
▸ Architecture—University of Sydney
▸ Art and design—RMIT University
▸ Biological sciences—University of Melbourne
▸ Business and management studies—University of Melbourne
▸ Computer science and information systems—University of Melbourne
▸ English language and literature—University of Melbourne
▸ Hospitality and leisure management—Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS)
▸ Mathematics—ANU
▸ Modern languages—University of Melbourne
▸ Politics and international studies—ANU
▸ Psychology—University of Melbourne
▸ Sociology—ANU
▸ Statistics and operational research—University of Melbourne
If you are in need of a Language school, here’s a useful list according to city:

▸ Lloyds International College
▸ Embassy English
▸ OHC Sydney
▸ Kaplan International
▸ Sydney College of English


▸ Discover English
▸ OHC Melbourne
▸ Kaplan International
▸ Melbourne City College Australia
▸ Ashton College

▸ Language Studies International
▸ OHC Brisbane
▸ Kaplan International
▸ International House Brisbane

▸ Language Links Education and Training College
▸ Kaplan International
▸ Lexis English
▸ Australian Technical College Western Australia

▸ Kaplan International
▸ English Language Center at the University of Adelaide
▸ School of Languages
▸ Vocational Language Learning Centre
▸ English College of Adelaide

Gold Coast
▸ OHC Gold Coast
▸ Australian International College of Language
▸ The Language Academy
▸ Envirotech Education
▸ Embassy English

▸ Hunter Valley Language School

▸ Navitas English Canberra

Language school fees are around 300 AUD (200 USD) weekly for English language studies, but depends on the length of the course and the school of your choice.

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