Education in Australia – Choosing Schools in Australia

Public Schools

Public schools accept all students from their government-defined catchment areas, and teach using the Australian curriculum. In most cases you must reside within a public school’s “catchment area” in order to enrol and attend a public school. A catchment area is defined as the streets and houses surrounding a particular school and is defined by a physical line that is strictly determined and governed by the school’s state or territory Education Department. As a result, more desirable schools often push up prices and demand for housing in both rental and sale housing markets.

A more desirable school might be one that is considered to have an excellent music, drama or language stream or something else deemed important by an area’s demographic, or it could be considered desirable if it scores well in the Australian NAPLAN testing. NAPLAN stands for “The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy”, and is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It has been an everyday part of the Australian school calendar since 2008.

Choosing A Public School

It is this comparison that can result in one school being more desirable than another, the idea being that if your child attends a more successful school they will receive a better education, though this is not necessarily the truth. There is a lot of dislike for the NAPLAN scoring system in Australian since its introduction in 2008 and it should not be the sole basis for your decision on where to live and which school to send your child to. You should meet with the school staff, take a tour of the school and area and ask questions that you feel are important to you when choosing where to send your child for public education.

Individual school catchment areas, voluntary fee structures and other information such as school term calendars vary across Australian states and territories, and across schools.

Private Schools

Private schools do not usually discern between accepting one student over another based on proximity to a school. Often it is simply based on academic achievement and success with most private schools requiring previous school reports that show student dedication and academic ability. Some private religious schools require their students to be of a certain denomination or to be willing to become a member of that religion in order to attend there.