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The education system in South Australia

General facts

In South Australia:

  • you can choose to send your child to a government, independent or Catholic school or preschool
  • it is compulsory for children to be enrolled in a school by their sixth birthday
  • the start date for school for all children is the first day of Term 1
  • government schools are commonly referred to as public schools
  • kindergarten is the same as preschool
  • in some cases more than one stage of a child’s learning may be catered for at one location
  • all young people under the age of 17 are required to attend full-time schooling, training or work for at least 25 hours per week.
  • international students who wish to study and live in South Australia can attend public schools.

Options for each stage of learning

Children 0 to 7

Children 0 to7 years of age are in the early stage of learning. This stage includes:

  • childcare
  • preschool (kindergarten) - for children from 4 years of age. Aboriginal children can begin at 3 years of age
  • reception - children usually begin primary school in reception at 5 or 6 years of age
  • years 1 and 2 of primary school - usually children between 6 and 7 years of age.

8 to 10 year olds

8-10 year olds are usually in the primary years stage of learning. This stage includes year 3 to year 5 of primary school.

11 to 14 year olds

11-14 year olds are usually in the middle years stage of learning. This covers:

15 to 17 year olds

15-17 year olds are usually in the secondary years stage of learning. This covers year 10 to year 12 of high school. Students may choose to:

  • complete year 12 and obtain their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)
  • go on to other education and training options or work.

17 years and older

Young people aged 17 and older may choose to return to school to complete SACE, continue with formal study, participate in a community education program or start work.

Related information

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Page last updated 14 December 2016

Provided by:
Department for Education
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