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Primary and secondary education in Australia

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Primary and secondary education
There are 10,584 registered schools operating in Australia in 2019 of which 7,092 were government schools. As of 2019, government schools educated 65.4% of all students. In 2017, there were just under 282,000 teachers in Australian primary and secondary schools. Of the non-government schools, nearly two-thirds were Catholic schools. The major part of government run schools' costs are met by the relevant state or territory government. The Australian Government provides the majority of public funding for non-government schools, which is supplemented by states and territories.

Non-government schools, both religious or secular typically charge compulsory tuition and other fees. Government schools provide education without compulsory tuition fees, although many government schools ask for payment of 'voluntary' fees to defray particular expenses.

Regardless of whether a school is government or non-government, it is regulated by the same curriculum standards framework. The framework is administered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Most schools require students to wear prescribed school uniforms. A school year in Australia starts in January and finishes in December.

Types of schools
The types of schools in Australia fall broadly into two categories; government schools, being those schools operated by state or territory departments or agencies; and non-government schools, being those schools that are not operated by government department or agencies. Non-government schools can be further classified, based on self-identification of the school’s affiliation. Non-government schools are grouped for reporting as Catholic schools (including Catholic-affiliated independent schools) or independent (other non-government schools).

Government schools receive funding from the relevant state or territory government. Non-government schools receive funding from the Australian Government and relevant state or territory government; and in most cases parents are required to make a co-payment for their child's education.

As of 2019 across primary and secondary education, approximately two-thirds of all school students attended government schools; with the remaining one third of students educated in non-government schools.

A small portion of students are legally home-schooled, particularly in rural areas.

School years
Primary schools

Also sometimes called infants schools, Australia adopts the UNESCO term of primary school that generally covers a child's education from pre-Year 1 and finish with Year 6. The duration of primary school years vary across each Australian state and territory, with most adopting seven years; except in South Australia, where students finish with Year 7, making the duration of primary school eight years; until they are 11 or 12 years of age. Primary schools focus on developing essential literacy, numeracy and social skills, and provide foundational knowledge to children about the world around them.

Secondary schools
Also called high schools and colleges (or junior, intermediate, or senior colleges), secondary schools vary across each Australian state and territory, however generally cover from Year 7 to Year 10 (compulsory period of education) and beyond to Year 12.


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