National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

Part 3: Schools and schooling

3.0 Overview

Within Australia's federal system, constitutional responsibility for school education rests predominantly with the six state and two territory governments.

All states and territories ¹ 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 – 71 per cent – of schools 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 Catholic schools (18 per cent) and independent schools (11 per cent). Non-government schools are established and operated under conditions determined by state and territory governments through their registration authorities.

Around 65 per cent of school students are enrolled in government schools; 21 per cent, in Catholic schools; and 14 per cent, in independent schools.

¹ New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (Vic.), Queensland (Qld), South Australia (SA), Western Australia (WA), Tasmania (Tas.), Northern Territory (NT) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

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