Primary and Secondary Schools in Australia

Primary and Secondary Schools in Australia by City:

Sandy Bay

About Primary and Secondary Schools in Australia

Australia has one of the most effective primary and secondary school systems in the world, as evidenced by its educational statistics: Australia has a literacy rate of over 99% and its Education Index (measured by the UN) is .993 – the highest of any country on Earth. The secret to Australia’s immensely successful education system is the combination of reliable and standardized quality controls along with sparse regulation that leaves the majority of educational decision-making powers with state authorities, local communities, and teachers. Of course, the relative affluence and long-term stability of Australian society are also major contributing factors.
Primary and secondary education in Australia is primarily administered through the government. Educational authority rests entirely with state-level government, and the national federal government has little or no direct control over educational policy. There are nationwide regulations that ensure that all accredited schools teach a legitimate curriculum and prepare their students for success in the real world, but beyond these the federal government is not involved in education. This means that the specific details of primary and secondary education will vary considerably from state to state. For example, the years of compulsory education in Australia are set by state governments, so in some places students are required by the government to attend school from age 6 to age 15, other places from 6 to 17, and so on.
65% of primary- and secondary-level students in Australia attend free state-run public schools. For the remainder, 20% attend Catholic schools (which have their own separate system of administration within the country), 14% attend independent private schools, and roughly 1% are home-schooled. Home-school is usually not the top choice for Australian parents, but it is often necessary in the extremely sparse rural areas. Australia’s vast interior is entirely devoid of large cities, so there are no small number of children growing up on remote ranches or in single-family homes that may be hundreds or even thousands of miles from the nearest major settlement. Naturally, attending a traditional school under such conditions is truly not an option. Thus, many rural parents opt to home-school their children, and the state governments allow this with a modicum of oversight.
Pre-school and kindergarten are non-compulsory but common. No Australian state requires that children below the age of 6 attend school, but many parents consider it to be an important opportunity for their kids to learn rudimentary reading and language abilities, as well as the crucial social skills that will give them a head start once they begin primary school. The widespread practice of ensuring that kids entering school have all the skills they will need underscores one of the most important elements of the success of Australia’s primary and secondary education system – a dedicated society and a national culture that values education, recognizing that from her earliest years, the quality of a child’s life is largely determined by the quality of her education.

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