Skip to content

Living in Australia

Education and Training Available to Me and My Family

Education in Australia is a lifetime experience. Some form of school or training is available at each stage of life.


Pre-school is for children between three and five years old. Pre-school is usually part time. It is not compulsory. Pre-school is a gentle start for very young children to mix with their peers and to be apart from family for some time.

Primary school

Primary school begins for most children at age five. It is compulsory. Eight themes form the basis of learning in primary school. They are English, Health and Physical Education, Language other than English, Maths, Science, Society and Environment, Technology, and The Arts. At primary school children begin to mix in larger groups of their peers where they learn about respect for each other. A major part of primary school learning is the skill to live in harmony with each other. Most children attend a primary school close to where they live. In general, students attend school between 9 am and 3 pm for 40 weeks a year. Students wear a uniform at most schools. Children take their lunch and snacks to school or buy food at the canteen.

Secondary school

Secondary school is for older children. Most children start secondary school soon after they reach their teens. In early secondary school, students do core subjects such as English, Maths and Science. They study more subjects called electives. Students do electives to prepare for later study or because the subject is of interest to them. In later secondary school, they choose subjects that will help them in their future career. Students learn about healthy lifestyle and about becoming young adults in a diverse society. The government builds secondary schools in places to service a number of suburbs. Students may need to travel by public or private transport to get to a secondary school. In general, students attend school between 9am and 3pm for 40 weeks a year. Students wear a uniform at most schools and provide their own food.

Vocational education

People use the terms Vocational Education and Training (VET) or Technical and Further Education (TAFE) when they talk about the vocational education systems. VET and TAFE provide courses that focus on work skills. The education given by VET / TAFE prepares people for work in many occupations. There are many courses taught at TAFE. You can find vocational education colleges spread over many parts of large cities. Each college delivers a selection of courses. Students pay a fee to do a VET / TAFE course. Some employers join with VET / TAFE to train their employees. Adults who wish to do school study can do it at a vocational education college. This way they can study at a time and location that better suits them. They can study with other adults.

More information is on the EdNA website.
See: EdNA online Vocational education and training

Workplace training

Many employers provide work skill training in the workplace. Some provide this training in partnership with a TAFE college. The training makes the trainees better at doing their work and prepares them for further work. Employers usually pay for such training.


Universities are teaching and research institutions. They exist in large cities and in regional areas in all states. Students gain entry on high school results. Mature age students gain entry based on their chance of success in their chosen course. A full range of academic and professional courses is available. Future students can view the 'Going to Uni' website for more about topics such as courses, fees, loans and enrolment.

More information is on the Going to Uni website.
See: Going to Uni

Adult and community education

Adult and community education programs are for fun and general interest. This form of education covers many subject matter areas. The providers hold the courses in the community for easy access by all. They keep fees as low as possible. Courses are short. There are no restrictions put on entry to a course.

More information is on the EdNA website.
See: EdNA online Adult & Community Education