School Children
Source: (Creative Commons)

If you are relocating to Australia to start a family, or perhaps you are moving to Australia with a family, then you will no doubt be interested in the Australian education system as compared to that of the UK. After all, one of the main reasons for moving Down Under is a better quality of life and children’s education features highly in that. So just how does the Australian schooling system fare?

Australian Schools

Just like in the UK, there are 3 school stages; Pre-School, Primary School and High School however that is where any similarities end. Every Australian state runs its own school system with its own exams, so when you are thinking of moving to Australia don’t just look into the education system as a whole but also investigate the individual state education system.

Generally however, children are in education until they are at least 15 and most graduate from school in Year 12 with a Certificate of Education from that particular state.

The academic year is quite different from the UK largely because of the different seasons. The school year runs from Jan/Feb and ends in December.

For a full list of schools in Australia visit the Australian Schools Directory.

Education Standards

Now it’s very difficult to rate educational standards for any one country as it really does depend on your perspective. However, it’s fair to say that almost 80% of all schoolchildren in Australia go on to University. Yet if it’s more statistics you want then here they are:

According to the OECD’s world education ranking report in 2010 Australia beat the UK for results in reading, Maths and Science. Out of 34 countries listed, Australia was ranked 6th for reading, 9th for Maths and 7th for Science. The UK was ranked 20th, 22nd and 11th respectively.

Private versus State School in Australia

Now the government run state schools are largely free but some schools do ask parents for a ‘voluntary’ contribution each term which can be as much as $120 per term in some areas.

Private schools are either religious-run systems or Independent schools. Private schools are largely catholic with a few exceptions whilst the Independent schools are largely Protestant. Fees vary but can be as low as under $1,000 per school year to over $20,000.

Universities in Australia

Australia adheres to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme which, at the time of writing has just been introduced into the UK. It is accepted by Universities worldwide but Australian Universities will have their own admissions policies which are sometimes IB point based or sometimes converted to the Equivalent National Tertiary Entry Rank.

Resident Australians can have their tuition fees subsidised by the government and can take out various HELP loan schemes to cover the rest.

Applications must be made to the University of your choice through the Universities Admissions Centre where you can also find out more about fees and scholarships.