Enrolling in primary school

Your child’s birthday will dictate when they can be enrolled in a South Australian primary school for the first time.

  • If your child turns 5 before 1 May, they can start primary school (reception) the first day of term 1 of that year.
  • If your child turns 5 on or after 1 May, they can start primary school (reception) the first day of term 1 of the following year.

Your child must be at school by their 6th 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.

You may be asked to provide the following information 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 school principal is responsible for determining whether proof of residence has been satisfied.

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.

You can find your local zoned or un-zoned school on the Department for Education website. If you live in a 'shared zone' the map will show more than 1 school.

Note: for families living in rural and regional South Australia the local school may not necessarily be the nearest school, but the school serviced by a department school bus or transport allowance.

Please contact the school, if you are unsure if it is your local (zoned) school.

Registering interest to attend an out-of-zone school

Depending on available places, most schools are able to accept applications from non-local families for their child to start school (eg reception) for the coming year - unless the school is on a capacity management plan.

In some cases, the department provides automatic entry to children living outside the local area, such as children with older siblings attending the school or children that may be the subject of a custody or guardianship order under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA). These applications are considered in the first round of offers that occur beginning August each year.

All other non-local applications are considered in the second round of offers that occur beginning September each year.

When demand from non-local families exceeds the available places, applications will be considered with respect to distance, social and family links, curriculum needs, and transport and locality convenience.

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

When to register to start school

You can register your interest with more than 1 primary school. Registration forms are available from your each school.

If you are considering a number of schools for enrolment, make sure you have submitted registration of interest to each school, including your local school.

Families can register at any time of year but you should submit a registration form prior to the end of term 2, in the year before your child is due to start school.

Families will receive enrolment offers in term 3.

Note: late registrations may result in limited opportunity to attend a non-local school, or a school with a capacity management plan (CMP).

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 or information session. During the pre-enrolment interview/information session, 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 or extract
  • a passport, or travel document such as a visa, citizenship certificate or ImmiCard
  • official Centrelink documentation stating the child's name and birth date
  • proof of the child's residential address
  • copies of any relevant family law or other relevant court orders.

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

The school will provide or direct you to information covering topics which may include:

  • 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.

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 26 September 2019

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    Department for Education
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