Choosing a primary school

Government primary schools are often called public primary schools and they are all co-educational. Most children attend four terms of preschool and four terms of reception.

Primary school usually covers the period from reception to year 7.

  • Reception is the name given to the first year of schooling.
  • Children attending public schools usually attend a school near their home.
  • Parents can send their children to another school if the school is not under enrolment pressure and has vacancies available to accommodate the request.

Some primary schools need to restrict the number of students they can take, this means giving priority consideration to children living in particular area or zone around the school. Parents should contact primary schools directly for any enrolment criteria.

A number of public primary schools are located on the same site as a high school. These schools may be called:

  • R-12 schools - reception to year 12
  • area schools - public schools located in rural areas
  • colleges - not all colleges are R-12 schools.

Some schools offer services from birth to year 12.

Selecting a primary school

Starting school is a major milestone for young people and their families, so the decision you make about their education is an important one.

The find a school or preschool tool helps you find the public primary schools in your area, their contact details and website addresses. You will also find zoning and other applicable information. Some factors that may help you choose a school include:

To help you decide which school is best for your child:

  • view school websites
  • for information about school performance, mission, staffing, funding and resources visit the My School website
  • visit the schools in your area
  • make an appointment to meet the principal and staff
  • see the school facilities
  • request copies of annual reports, behaviour management policies and school rules.

Once you have made your choice you will then be ready to enrol.



Department for Education

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Page last updated 30 October 2017

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Department for Education
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