Choosing a school

Enrolling in primary school

In South Australia, public primary schools have one intake date, this means:

  • If your child turns five before 1 May they can start primary school the first day of term 1 of that year.
  • If your child turns five on or after 1 May they can start primary school the first day of term 1 of the following year.

Your child must be at school by their sixth birthday - this is the compulsory school starting age.

Before you begin

In South Australia placement in a school is based on a child’s residential address.

The following information is about suitable evidence you will need to provide as proof of residence.

  • If you own your home
    • a copy of the contract of sale for the property or a recent council rates notice, and
    • recent a gas or electricity bill for that property.
  • If you rent a home
    • a rental agreement and a bond receipt lodged with Consumer and Business Services showing the current place of residence - the rental agreement should cover at least the first 12 months the child will be attending the school, and
    • a recent gas or electricity bill for that property.
  • Renting a room or rooms at a property for your child, does not constitute a primary place of residence. Families must rent an entire property in order for it to be their primary place of residence.
  • If your child is living with a relative or friend, you will need to provide supporting documentation stating that the relative/friend is the legal guardian of the child. This documentation must include a parenting order from the Family Court, which states that the relative/friend is the formal full-time carer of the child.

The principal is responsible for determining whether proof of residence has been satisfied and may use professional judgment in circumstances where families are not able to meet these requirements.

Primary school zoning

A school zone is a defined area surrounding a school from which the school accepts its core intake of students.

In South Australia a small number of primary schools that have experienced enrolment pressure are zoned. School zones are listed on the Department for Education website.

Acceptance into a particular school is subject to the school’s capacity, and the principal of the school will be able to advise you if they have available places.

Please contact the school directly in relation to enrolment.

When to enrol

Many public primary schools start taking enrolments towards the end of the year before your child is starting school. You should contact the school you are interested in to enquire about their enrolment timelines.

Parents in South Australia can transfer their child to public primary schools at any time during the year, if the new school is able to accommodate the request. Transfer enquires should be made directly with the school.

How to enrol in a primary school

Once a vacancy is offered, many schools will ask parents and students to attend a pre-enrolment interview with a member of the school leadership.

During the pre-enrolment interview a staff member can help you complete the school enrolment form and answer any questions.

What you will need to bring

For your application to proceed you must provide the school with proof of the child's identity and date of birth such as:

  • a birth certificate
  • a passport
  • official Centrelink documentation stating the child's name and birth date
  • proof of the child's residential address
  • copies of any family law or other relevant court orders, if applicable

It is the responsibility of the parents to verify that the information provided is true and factual.

When you have provided all the required evidence, the enrolment application may be finalised.

If you need an interpreter to help fill out the enrolment form, the school can help organise this.

Other information you may need

You may be asked about:

  • Your child's interests
  • emergency contact numbers
  • custody and family dispute issues or court orders
  • visa information
  • immunisation records, medical information and health care needs
  • friends already attending the school or starting at the same time.

The information you give about your child and family is kept confidential and used when necessary in the best interests of your child.

What you will receive

When your child is enrolled, the school will give you an information package covering topics such as:

  • Health and safety
  • policies
  • curriculum
  • school times
  • the canteen price list
  • out of school hours care (OSHC)
  • the role and obligations of volunteers in schools
  • general school procedures.

There may be other information sessions and transition days.

Fees and materials charges

Public primary schools provide free tuition for all students.

A materials and services charge is set each year. This fee covers the cost of books, computer technology and other essential items and services used by students during the course of their study.

Each school sets their own charges based on the cost of the items and services provided to the students to undertake their curriculum for the school year. Contact your school directly for further details on the charges.

Financial assistance, including the School Card, is available to help eligible families with the materials and services charge.




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    Page last updated 30 June 2017

    Provided by:
    Department for Education
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