National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011
Schools and schooling
Within Australia's federal system, constitutional responsibility for school education rests predominantly with the six State and two Territory governments.
All States and Territories provide for 13 years of formal school education. Primary education, including a preparatory year, lasts for either seven or eight years and is followed by secondary education of six or five years respectively. Typically, schooling commences at age five, is compulsory from age six until age 17 (with provision for alternative study or work arrangements in the senior secondary years) and is completed at age 17 or 18.
The majority of schools, 71 per cent, are government schools, established and administered by State and Territory governments through their education departments or authorities. The remaining 29 per cent are non-government schools, made up of 18 per cent Catholic schools and 11 per cent independent schools. Non-government schools are established and operated under conditions determined by State and Territory governments through their registration authorities.