At What Age Do Children Start School in Australia?

Today, Elizabeth went back to school after the two-week winter holiday break. Elizabeth is 11 years old, she is in Grade 6 which is her final year of primary school and next year, in January, she will go to high school for her secondary education.

High school will give her another six years of education, taking her from Grade 7 to Grade 12.

Going right back to the beginning, Elizabeth started school in January 2009. Here is a quick flashback to see what that looked like…

First Day at SchoolJanuary is the beginning of the school year here and Elizabeth was 4 3/4 years of age at that time. The reason she started in 2009 was because she would had turned five before 30th of June in that year, her birthday is in March.

Had her birthday been after 30 June 2009, then she wouldn’t have started school until January 2010. Her first year in school here in Queensland was called the ‘Prep Year’ and it is followed by a further six years of primary school education taking her from Grade 1 to Grade 6.

So, as you can see, she will have had seven years of primary school education followed by six years in high school.

Pretty simple, huh?

So, now the question.

At what age do children start school in Australia?

This should, you would have thought, been a simple question to answer. It isn’t though; it is made complicated because when a child starts school is decided individually by states and territories, it’s not nationally universal.

In Australia, children start in ‘Prep Year’ which, once again, is slightly complicated by the different names used in the different states. What was generally called ‘Playschool’ or ‘Nursery School’ in the UK, is variously called ‘Preschool’, “Reception”, “Pre-primary”, “Kindy” and who knows what else here in Australia.

The “Prep Year” is either voluntary or compulsory, again, depending on the state or territory. If you have a child at “Prep Year” age, it’s best to check this information directly on the relevant education department’s website. Most do say though that if you don’t feel your child is ready for school yet, you can speak to them about delaying attendance for one year if necessary.

The states and territories can also change the rules at any time, as some have done in the past. As far as I’m aware though, the information I have here is currently correct.


School Bus

State and Territory analysis

Let’s talk about that first year at primary school, the ‘Prep Year’, the year of schooling that comes before Grade 1. Remember, the school year here starts towards the end of January.

Starting ages for “Prep Year” by States and Territories:

  • In Tasmania your child must be 5 years old by 1 January in the year in which they start school.
  • In Victoria and the ACT, your child must be 5 years old by 30 April in the year in which they start school.
  • In South Australia your child must be 5 years old by 1 May in the year in which they start school.
  • In Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, your child must be 5 years old by 30 June in the year in which they start school.
  • In New South Wales your child must be 5 years old by 31 July in the year in which they start school.

Once a child has completed Prep Year, the following year they will start in Grade 1 and they will be around 17 when they reach their final year, which is Grade 12.

In all states and territories, your child can attend an early childhood education and care service prior to commencing state school. Fees will most likely apply. You can use the website to search for Australian Government-approved services.

There, that wasn’t too bad was it?

Of course, it doesn’t end there. When secondary education is over there is tertiary education. That’s Universities, TAFE colleges and Vocation Education and Training/VET providers.

When I’ve recovered from this article, maybe I’ll take a look at that.

State and Territory education websites

Clicking on any one of the following links should take you to the relevant page:

Post update 28th of August 2017 to hopefully simplify it and include some recent changes.

School Zone


Visa Assessment Service
{ 78 comments… add one }
  • Vinnny Broun October 24, 2023, 12:57 am |

    so cool!

  • Harsh S July 25, 2022, 6:10 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    My daughter’s DOB is 6th June 2008. We are in India & planning to shift to Sydney by mid September 22. She is studying in 9th grade at present (session started in April 22). Could you please advise which grade she can take admission in Sydney in September 22?

    Thank you.

    • BobinOz July 26, 2022, 8:52 pm |

      Well, by my calculations your daughter will still be in grade 9 in Sydney mid-September 2022, and she will start grade 10 in January 2023. You might want to check that elsewhere as well though, this article was written a long time ago so the rules might have changed.

  • Sheetal Desai February 14, 2020, 8:12 pm |

    My daughter born in 9 august 2012. We are in India & planning to shift Sydney by june 20. Now she will complete grade 2 & will go to grade 3 in April 20. So can you please advise which grade she can take admission in Sydney?

    • BobinOz February 17, 2020, 4:43 pm |

      By my calculations she will go into grade 3 when you arrive in April 2020, and will start grade 4 in January 2021.

  • Tarun June 9, 2019, 12:40 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for running the website and providing very useful information.
    I have two boys & my elder son is April 2007 born (studying in grade 7) while the younger one is December 2012 born (studying in grade 1).We are planning to move from India to Melbourne by 1st week of November 2019. May I know in which grades my boys would get admission and does school take admissions near the end of the education year i.e. November 2019, when we are planning to move to Melbourne?.

  • Anand April 23, 2019, 12:23 pm |

    Hello Bob,

    My son is Nov 2012 born.We are planning to move to Melbourne by July 2019.May I know which grade he would be in middle of the year and does school take admissions in middle of year?

    • BobinOz April 23, 2019, 7:13 pm |

      So your son would have been five years old by 30th of April 2018, so would have been eligible to start his prep year in January 2018. He would have been due to start Grade 1 in January 2019, so by the time you get here, I believe he will go into Grade 1.

      That’s what I reckon, you may want to check it using the information above. I believe schools within the catchment area where you end up living do have an obligation to find a place for your boy, even if it is in the middle of the year. Again you might want to check this, directly with the school.

  • Lia February 4, 2019, 12:36 pm |

    Hi Bob!

    My issue is little different then the rest. Am here in Australia on visa 500 higher education which means my 5yo daughter is a full paying student. Problem is, I can not afford the fee since i am a student myself. My questions are: Is it worth it to take a loan to pay 5k to pay for one semester at prep? Considering we will be going back home in July this year. Is there alternative schooling she can go to to make her feel less excluded? One that I can afford or free if possible. Thanks

    • BobinOz February 4, 2019, 7:04 pm |

      I couldn’t really say if it’s worth you taking out that loan or not, but I do think that $5000 for one semester at prep sounds like an awful lot of money.

      What the alternatives are, I just don’t know, it depends what’s available wherever you are right now in Australia. I think you also need to look into whether, legally, you have an obligation to send your daughter to school or whether she is at an age where it is not yet a requirement, but instead just an option.

  • Monika December 24, 2018, 9:29 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for sharing loads of info through your webpage .
    We are moving from Auckland (NZ) to Melbourne in Jan daughter has just celebrated her 5th birthday – in Dec 2018. I am unable to work out if she starts school when we get there or does she need to complete prep class first ? It’s very confusing 🙂 would you be able to help me work this out Bob.

    • BobinOz December 24, 2018, 10:48 pm |

      Yes, I think I can help with this. Your daughter needs to be five years old by 30 April in the year in which she starts ‘Prep’, and she is five now and still will be by 30 April 2019. So I reckon she’ll be starting in prep school when you get to Melbourne in January.

      If it turns out to be anything different, please do let me know as it may mean I need to make an adjustment to this page.

      Hope that helps, cheers, Bob

      • Monika December 25, 2018, 12:44 am |

        Thanks very much Bob. Looks like the case to me too. Sure will let you know if anything different.

  • Anita October 2, 2018, 9:15 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Hope all is well

    My husband and I along with our three year daughter will be moving to Brisbane from Canada in a few months. Her birthday is September 30, 2015. Does this mean she would start Grade 1 in 2021?

    In Canada we have Junior/Senior Kindergarten as means of prepping for Grade One which compulsory ….

    What are the options that I should look in to in Brisbane? Is it compulsory to do prep prior to Grade 1? What are my options? If she does in fact start Grade 1 in 2021 then what are my options for schooling ? Can she start Grade 1 in 2020 instead?

    If you can kindly let me know it would be greatly appreciated

    Thank You,

    • BobinOz October 2, 2018, 8:41 pm |

      Hi Anita

      According to my fingers and thumbs, your daughter will start in prep year January 2021 when she will be age 5 and four months. She will go into Grade 1 in Jan 2022.

      We also have kindergartens here, I think they cater for children between ages 3 1/2 and 5 1/2, but maybe some can take them younger. I don’t think starting in Grade 1 in 2020 would be an option, she would not even be four a half by then.

      I have heard that you can delay your child starting school if you think they are not ready, so maybe you can bring it forward if you think they are raring to go, so it could be worth and ask directly with the school.

      Incidentally, “Prep” year for my daughter was in the same school as she did Grades 1 – 6, so I’m not sure there is any advantage of skipping it.

      Hope that helps, Bob

      • Anita October 3, 2018, 9:33 am |

        Thank You so much Bob. You’ve been extremely helpful. It’s greatly appreciated. Take care 🙂

  • Madison Winter August 3, 2018, 6:19 pm |

    I am a April baby so I am one of the youngest in the school year. I was born in April 1969. The school year was from the 1st January to 31st December but we were born from 1st July to 30th June. I am was an Australian student. We would start nursery from 3 to 5 and then start kindergarten at 5 and the first year at 6. So if you were born from July to June then you would start nursery at the January you are 3 and start school 2 years later that January when you are 5.

    • BobinOz August 6, 2018, 6:40 pm |

      This is a bit similar to my own daughter Madison, she has an April birthday so she is also one of the youngest in her class. I think that’s a good thing though, I think it must be worse if you are one of the oldest.

      I suspect you have finished school now :-), but I hope that is how you saw it back then. Thanks for your comment, good to hear from you. Cheers, Bob

  • Teena March 30, 2018, 12:32 am |

    Hi, My husband recently moved to Melbourne. We (me and my daughter) are planning to move in June/July 2018. My daughter’s DOB Is 19 Dec 2012. She turns 6 in Dec 2018 and hence she will be eligible for Grade 1 next year. As we are reaching in June, Is it possible to get admission for Term 3 in Prep class in July this year?


    • Mark March 30, 2018, 3:53 pm |

      Yes many if not all schools will take admissions even in the middle of a term let alone the start of it. Some schools will if full claim zone requirments for living but even those with zone living if they have a space will generally take from outside the zone (comical I know) See my post below to Emma and Gill as it may also benefit your daughter going into grade 1 on arrival and 2 next year eg up a year

  • Emma Pendlebury January 24, 2018, 1:18 am |

    Hi Bob we are considering a move to Queensland back end of 2020. Our little boys birthday is 26th July 2015, so he will be 5 when we come. Am i right in thinking he would start the feb 2021? Sorry i know youve answered lots of questions! Xx

    • BobinOz January 24, 2018, 8:26 pm |

      Yes, I agree, he’s just missed out on 30 June deadline so he will be one of the oldest children in his class throughout his schooling. So yes, it will be at the end of January 2021 when he will go into prep year and then the following year he will start grade 1.

    • Gill March 26, 2018, 5:11 pm |

      Hi Emma ! You have the exact same situation as us. My son DOB 27.07.15 so again would be the one of the eldest !
      Again similar – we are looking at Queensland 🙂

      • Mark March 26, 2018, 11:01 pm |

        Hi Gill and Emma
        This may not be relevant for you as you may have no concerns. I also dont know where you are coming from but as an example, say its UK. Children generally start school in the September they have turned 4 previously in the UK . You can apply to defer if summer born. My main point though if your child is starting school say in UK and you have a concern they are starting school again here in QLD as a newbie you can get them started or moved up a year here fairly easily. The age to year level is not strict
        Its just a conversation to be had with the school when you look at schools here and by saying your child is already doing cetain things they will have already learned in the UK of course only if they are ready.
        Cheers Mark

  • Jon September 12, 2017, 1:12 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Great website and very informative. However, we’re still in a muddle..

    Our son has just started school this year in the UK (‘Reception Class’).
    We are aiming to be in Sydney around December (for a duration of 12 months).
    As he will have turned 5 after the 31st July date does that mean he can start school in Feb 2018 or Feb 2019?

    If it’s the latter – what options are there to maintain his learning so that he doesn’t get behind when we return to the UK?

    Any help greatly received!

    • BobinOz September 12, 2017, 9:20 pm |

      By my calculations, if your son was five years old on or before 31 July 2017, then in January 2017 he would have started his prep year here. In January 2018 he will be old enough to go into Grade 1.

  • Rutuja August 26, 2017, 12:54 am |

    Thanks for this great info, it really helped me
    I have one query, guess you may have any suggestion/answer 🙂
    We will be coming from India next month and our daughter is 2 and half years old. Here she goes to Pre-school and In India kids start going to nursery at age of 3, KG-1 at 4 and KG-2 at 5 and will be in 1st class at the age of 6
    Just got confused with the age restrictions of schooling in Australia, does that mean kids can start schooling only at age of 5 (not before that) ?
    If yes, then :- Is there any class/ different school type/ play area, etc where they go until they turn to 5?

    • BobinOz August 28, 2017, 8:28 pm |

      Funnily enough, I’ve just updated this page with more information and it now includes a link that will help you.

      Take a look at the paragraph towards the end that talks about additional preschool education services with a link to the government’s recommended service providers. Yes, you can send your child to a preschool, but I’m pretty sure fees will apply.

      Hope it helps, Bob

      • Rutuja August 29, 2017, 3:37 pm |

        Thanks a lot Bob …..I am now all set and hoping for the best 🙂

  • Latif August 20, 2017, 8:22 pm |

    We will be moving to Melbourne in June 2018. I am confused about my daughter’s schooling though. Her date of birth is May 2005. She is now year 8 in Bangladesh. Starting in June, 2018 should we be looking at year 9 enrollment in Victoria?

    • BobinOz August 21, 2017, 5:42 pm |

      No, not by my calculations. The cut-off is April in Victoria so your daughter would have gone into the prep year in 2011. So in June 2018 she will go into year 7.

  • Karen August 16, 2017, 7:20 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Love the site, it has so much information that’s helping me plan our move to Melbourne in Jan 2018.

    I am confused about my son’s schooling though. His DOB is April 2005 (so is 13 in 2018) starting in Jan 2018 should we be looking at year 7 enrolment?

    Thanks in advance for your help,


    • BobinOz August 18, 2017, 1:19 pm |

      Thanks, glad you like the website.

      By my calculations, and do bear in mind I have got it wrong before, your son would have been age five by 30th of April 2010, that’s when he would have gone into the prep year. So he would have been year 1 in 2011 so by January 2018 he would go into year 8.

  • Wendy August 8, 2017, 10:37 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    once again a very informative article!
    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years and love your writing style. It has ‘swung’ like we say in Belgium 🙂

    We intend to move to the Gold Coast in November with our 2 kids of 12y and 7y. I was wondering if there is plenty of time to enroll them in November or is it on the late side?
    Do you know if the schools in the area have a good program for kids who have to learn the language?
    Suggestions and tips are welcome.


    • BobinOz August 9, 2017, 9:14 pm |

      Thanks for the compliment, I think. I am assuming that ‘swung’ is regarded as a good thing in Belgium 🙂

      I think the state school for your catchment area, wherever you settle, has an obligation to give your children a place as soon as they arrive. That said, school finishes for the year some time in the middle of December and restarts at the end of January the following year.

      If you are arriving towards the end of November it may be a good idea to give your kids a little time off so they can settle in their new country before starting a brand-new school year in 2018. It would also give you a good chance to decide where you will live and therefore which school you want them to go to.

      I don’t know much about the specific schools in the area, but I do know that Australian schools are well used to children starting for whom English is not their primary language. Some schools are almost certainly better than others at that, so it would be worth phoning up first to ask.

      Hope that helps, Bob

      • Wendy August 10, 2017, 5:43 am |

        Hi Bob,

        that’s indeed a compliment 🙂
        Your feedback is helpfull! Thanks for that.
        Will phone some schools when we arrive to get things sorted out.


  • Karim August 5, 2017, 9:16 pm |

    Hi Bob
    My daughter birthday May 27, 2005. She is now year 8 in Bangladesh. We like to move victoria next March 2018. Can she admit/attened as year 9 student in Victoria.

    • BobinOz August 7, 2017, 6:53 pm |

      Well, by my calculations, your daughter would have been eligible for her prep year in Australia in 2011, then grade 1 in 2012. So in March 2018, I think she would go into year 7. Have a look at the formula yourself above and see what you think.

  • Amjad Ali May 18, 2017, 5:29 pm |

    We will be moving to Australia Sydney in October on a permanent residence visa in Sept/ October and want to start sending our 3.5 years old daughter (turning 4 in May’18) for pre-prep year . Are there any public pre-schools that take children less than 4 years old for pre-prep year? Since we will be on a PR visa without a job in the beginning, don’t want to spend a whole lot of deal on education as soon as we move there. Thanks for your answer in advance.

    • BobinOz May 18, 2017, 9:32 pm |

      Your situation is pretty much the same as mine was back in 2007, our daughter was 3 1/2 years old as well when we arrived here on PR. We wanted to send her to kindergarten or kindy as it’s more often called here and we had no problem finding her place.

      We didn’t have jobs either when we first arrived, and the kindy would not allow us to register our daughter with them unless we had what’s called a Centrelink number, so we got one. They are the equivalent of welfare here. As we had no income, we got a pretty good subsidy to help with the kindy fees and assuming nothing has changed, so should you.

      You might want to read the following post for more help on this subject…

      Good luck, Bob

  • Ria May 11, 2017, 5:31 pm |

    Hi Bob great stream of info- coming from the uk originally and having my children here I am seeing the ages of children entering prep turning 6 in Victoria and leave a big gap for those that have not yet or will turn 5 by April 30th. My question is why do so many parents hold their children back over here? There seem to be big age gaps in the prep classes, some that have just turned 5 and some literally starting at 6. This creates massive diversity between children in that year and going forward into later grades. Have you found it is better for children to be on the older scale going into prep than younger? I know you are in qld so different requirements but here in Victoria a little different. In the long run entering high school would it be wiser to have your child a older one turning 18 in year 12 or younger? have you had or heard of any experiences in the age variances in the classes and how children cope with the age gaps? I need to make a decsision for my current 3yo who turns 4 at end of Jan-
    So would be doing 4 yo kinder next year however could be deferred until the following one to make him a older one for prep- not sure what to do as he would be a really young one or a really old one for his year – appreciate any feedback ! cheers Ria

    • BobinOz May 12, 2017, 4:53 pm |

      Hi Ria

      Thanks, glad you like the info.

      As for parents holding their children back here, I’m afraid I don’t really have much experience of this. My daughter’s birthday is in March, so she is one of the younger ones in her class and has been throughout her school life.

      We quite like that as it means she has to compete with and keep up with some children who could be as much as nine months older than her. Having said that, she only knows Australian schools and hasn’t had to make a transitional year switching from say the UK to Australia and then having to try and fall in line with where they are.

      Maybe that is why some people do it, to help their children with the transition, but I really don’t know. I can imagine if a child is struggling in a particular year and is behind all the others, it would make sense to hold them back for a year to give them a chance to catch up. For a child who’s gone through a massive move from one country to another, I can see why that might happen and why some parents would hold back.

      At the end of the day though, I think it depends on the child and what is best for them and that is probably up for discussion between the parents and the teachers. Hope that helps a bit sorry I couldn’t have been a little more useful.

  • Raj April 19, 2017, 3:55 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Very informative website. Thanks.
    My daughter turns 7 on 15th May this year. She has completed class 1 in India (In India the academic year is June to March). We are migrating to Victoria in May. Would she be able to get admission in class 2?


    • BobinOz April 19, 2017, 6:39 pm |

      By my calculations, if I’ve done it right, your daughter has missed out by 16 days as the cut-off is the end of April. So in April 2016 your daughter would have still been five, just, and therefore would have gone into prep year in January.

      So in January 2017 she would have started Grade 1, and in May when you get here, she will still be in Grade 1. If you want her to go into Grade 2, you can speak to the school about that, but it might not be such a bad idea to go into Grade 1 given how very different it’s going to be when she gets here.

      That’s what I think anyway, but I have made mistakes before 🙂

      Good luck, Bob

      • Raj April 24, 2017, 3:38 am |

        Thanks Bob for your reply. Since different states in Victoria have different age cut off dates, what would happen if I get my daughter admitted in NSW in class 2 (cut off date is 30th June) and then move to Victoria next year or maybe earlier?

        • BobinOz April 24, 2017, 8:15 pm |

          That, I don’t know, but I do know you can talk to the school direct if you want your child to go into either a higher or lower year than the one they should go in and can give good reasons why. Hope that helps, Bob

  • Lakshi March 6, 2017, 10:20 am |

    Hi! I am 17 this march and my parents are trying to move to Australia in either August or July. We currently live in the UK. But if we were to move to either Queensland or victoria, which grade would I be in? Is this the age I should be leaving school and applying for uni?
    And thankyou! I actually got an idea about the Australian year group system:)

    • BobinOz March 7, 2017, 7:35 pm |

      By my calculations, if you arrive here in June or July this year, you will go into year 12, the final year of senior school. Remember the school year ends here in December, in fact the final year ends a little earlier in November I think.

      So you will just have three or four months of school left before going on to university. That’s what I think anyway, but it’s always check directly with the school the soon as you know when you’re coming. Good luck, Bob

      • Lakshi March 8, 2017, 5:23 am |

        Thank you so much!!:)

  • Martin February 25, 2017, 11:29 pm |

    Thanks for this – an absolute saviour. I have literally had the same experience of bewildered school staff when asking about starting ages!

    This has just about saved my head from exploding.

    All in all Bob you are now my best buddy!
    Excellent site and advice!
    Many thanks

    • BobinOz February 28, 2017, 12:08 am |

      Well, I’ll be expecting a Christmas card then Martin 🙂 Glad to have prevented a head explosion, cheers, Bob

  • Catherine February 21, 2017, 12:25 am |

    Hi Bob, great website with a lot of info. I am Australian but lived in UK most of my life. Hoping to move to Queensland in next few years but want the right time for my 14 yr old. He wants to finish High school and do A levels here but I’m wondering if that’s a waste of time as I think you start uni at 17 there? Any advice? I’m a primary school teacher and the thought of no Ofsted is very appealing!!

    • Mark February 21, 2017, 5:08 pm |

      At the time of enrolment in a course at Monash University, you must be 17 years of age, unless one of these two criteria applies:
      It seems ti be 18 but then Monash says the following 1. You will be 16 years of age at the time of enrolling at university and you have either: a VCE ATAR of 95 or higher or equivalent rank in another qualification recognised by Monash or
      approval of the Dean of the faculty
      So id say contact the University of choice In the UK you would do college for 2 years so check the A level are right for the Uni you are looking at email them direct hope this helps for now Yes my wife is a Primary teacher and very disillusioned with the UK’s system, its gone to pieces….

      • BobinOz February 26, 2017, 10:12 pm |

        I’m afraid the right time for your 14-year-old was probably when he was 10, or even younger. Now that he’s 14, I’d say the right time is right now. The older they are the harder it is to convince them about the big move, and then of course when they get to 18, they become adults and if they are not fully dependent upon you, would need to apply separately for their visa.

        I’m no expert on the education side, I’m probably no expert on anything :-), but my answer would be the sooner the better.

  • Susanna Neave February 11, 2017, 5:42 am |

    Hi there. Thinking of sending my 12 year old (born May 2004) to AU for April -June term as an exchange student this year She is in 7th grade here in the states. What grade/ year would she be in AU?

    • BobinOz February 12, 2017, 8:13 pm |

      It would be different, depending on which state you are thinking of. The table above in the article will help you work out. It may well be different as an exchange student, so if I were you I would talk it through with the school you intend to send her to.

  • Claire January 19, 2017, 11:50 pm |

    Hi Bob

    Thank you for a very informative blog.

    I have a question regarding schooling in NSW – Sydney. My husband and I are considering immigration but we are trying to get our head around the cost of education and what we could afford. This is my question:

    As far as I understand, the system works as follows:
    Day Care: Age 0 – 4 (Expensive at between $60 and $160 a week)
    Kindy: Age 4 (turning 5 by July) – 5 (Is this Public?)
    Preprimary: Age 5 turning 6 (Roughly $1000 a year)
    Year 1: Age 6 turning 7 (Roughly $1000 a year)

    Is the above correct? Because I came across an article today that stated: “Children benefit best from preschool programs when they are ready for it. Many children are ready at around the age of three, but many aren’t.” THREE??? Is preschool another name for Kindy? And is it as expensive as Day Care?

    I am confused. Can you perhaps assist me?

    Thanks Bob!

    • Mark January 20, 2017, 9:25 pm |

      Hi Claire If you can do a Rubiks cube inside of five minutes whilst blindfolded and one hand tied behind your back then working this out will be easy..I only joke of course buy i have seen headteachers look bewildered when asked what year will my child be in followed by some looking skyward for perhaps divine intervention before then asking the secretary for their opinion.. several things I think your thousand may eb a little high nowadays as so many schools have had so much flack I think the thousand was based on Victoria not NSW but as an indication, it can and will be different by school and state but friends will pay $624 for 2 children next week here in Victoria. Your child can start Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn five on or before 31 July in that year. Children must be enrolled in school by their sixth birthday. Kindergarten or yes Kindy enrolment begins around April the year before your child will start Kindy (they shorten everything in Aus… T shirt being the worst T) Earlier funded kindergartens eg you pay its still called Kindy but pre school Kindy will be coming down in price after some Government funding has been thrown in the pot recently knocking around 30 percent off

      • BobinOz January 22, 2017, 7:38 pm |

        Yes, it is quite a complicated subject and I’ve written many pages with lots of information about schools and the fees, the best place to start is my page called Which school?

        At the bottom of that page, there are some additional useful links which all lead to pages with more information. In particular there is a link about daycare in Australia, if you click that one your find another link on the page which goes to an external website which specialises in this subject. So you can get even more help from them.

        When it comes to how much education costs in Australia though, that very much depends on the type of visa you have and sometimes which state you live in. For certain visa types and in some states, state education can be free if you have the right kind of visa.

        Again, all of this is covered in those additional links your find on the page I’ve recommended to you. Hope that helps and good luck, Bob

        And Mark, I’ve never ever completed a Rubik’s cube, and that’s using both hands and my eyes wide open. I hate the things!

  • Scarlet January 17, 2017, 3:06 pm |

    Hi Bob et al,
    Just wondering what your readers’ thoughts are on the school work content compared to the UK or any country for that matter? I can see how the age works and when Year 3 starts for my son, however, having picked up his school text books (maths he did last year) and one on how to do cursive handwriting (!!! – been doing that since Reception!), I am scouring the internet trying to find an answer to if Year 3 content in Oz actually compares to Year 4 in the UK. I note above that you mention a school where the children are placed according to ability and am thinking this could be an issue, or, a solution, especially if
    a) coming from a country where education standards are high / there’s a curriculum
    b) upon returning to said country and discovering your child is now a year behind!!?!
    Any thoughts welcome, and it may help others when placing in a certain grade to discuss it with the school if this is the done thing??

    • Mark January 17, 2017, 7:11 pm |

      Hi Scarlet… hope I have got to the of some of your points There is a curriculum in AU it can be found at Im not sure why you would compare yr four with three unless its your child’s age they woudl be in four than three. that maybe explains your want to move the child up and yes thats done fairly frequently. Perhaps you can expand on why you want to compare yr 3 AU with yr 4 UK My wife a teacher AU and UK will say the AU curriculum is pretty what based on the UK one but its a far more rounded curriculum so where the focus in UK could be argued to be Maths and English in AU they have actually realised some children will become musicians, some builders, some scientists, some a vet.. If your suggestion is AU standards are not high Id say you are very mistaken. Im not sure why you say returning and a year behind. Have you returned ti UK or ?
      Finally yes always have a discussion about a child’s ability with any school if you dont think the school will react appropriately its perhaps not the right place If they listen and either act or give reason for not then they may be the right one. My little girl arrived here should have been yr 2 but went int yr 3

  • Jem January 17, 2017, 6:06 am |

    Myself and my husband are looking to start the process to move to Sydney. Amongst our endless list of questions, our main one would be how do we find the right school. Here in the UK we have ‘Ofsted’ which rates the schools on inspection (poor, good or outstanding), this helps parents decide on schools and choose the correct ones for their children. Before we choose an area to live ( and would like one within and hours train travel of CBD for my husbands work) I am keen to find out if Sydney has these types of inspections and where we could find them out, along with the best family areas. All I can seem to find is an endless list of schools which isn’t much help…Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Mark January 17, 2017, 6:36 pm |

      Im not a teacher but my wife is one. UK to AU…Immediate answer there is no OFSTED in AU you can argue thats good and bad…Bad as no testing. no scoreboard. Good because schools dont teach to meet the inspections. They can get on with teaching the children… google ksou its a Chinese site dont worry its in English and you can look at suburbs and schools, However the data can be out of date.. it will give you some guidance. Like England though the better areas tend to have the better schools because of better pupils but it only takes one character to upset the equilibrium. Go and look at the schools when you get here woudl be my advice Google what you can before hand. Bring the children’s bools from UL compare whats in them to the school you visit …Dont be put off asking for a higher class eg should be in year 3 ask the to go into yr 4 if the are high achievers but be realistic about it. Take the children to look around as well let them have as much input, give them time with both of you before they start their new decided on school. even if they miss a month or two They will be all excited about coming but it can change inside two minutes and they want to return home so give them as much reins as you can. You dont say what age.and what month you are thinking of moving (appreciate early process ) it does play a very key part…I feel

      • BobinOz January 18, 2017, 12:39 am |

        I remember OFSTED, but I can’t remember exactly what they do or who they are. But we do have a website here where you can compare school performances, you can read about it and watch a video that explains it all on my page called Which school?

        Not sure if it is the same sort of thing, but hopefully you will find it helpful.

        • Jem January 18, 2017, 8:49 am |

          Hi Mark,

          Thank you! that info was very helpful!

          We have a 3 year old (4 in feb) and a 6 year old who is the youngest in her year and does find that tough at times. I guess I just wanted them to fit in as quick as possible but what you said makes total sense, letting them settle in and view schools together would be a much better way to do it. I was not sure if that was possible and how soon they would need to start. I also did not want them missing out on too much.

          We have just decided to start the process and find an agent. We have been told that it can take anywhere from 9 months – 2 years to reach the point of departure so we have no idea what will be happening and when. We just want to gather as much info as possible.

          Do schools have waiting lists? this as my other concern.. would they be able to get a place easy enough starting mid year or even a few years in?

          Thanks Bob – This site has helped us heaps and still is and we look through everything!
          Ofsted is good here as it gives an idea on how a school performs grade wise and how the teachers teach but i can also see what Mark means! We just do not want to put our girls into school and then be disappointed with it.

          • Mark January 18, 2017, 10:09 am |

            Well good luck with the process..its worth it I am sure. There are no waiting lists here so to speak of. Schools can be zoned eg you live in the area or not zoned depends on the intake primary schools in general are a lot bigger 5 or 6 hundred children You are a way of yet Your daughter age 6 maybe 8 by the time birthday August or about will be happier here as she will arguably be in a better year adaptive no longer the young one So she may do 6 months in the same class 2 say…Wont do any harm and allows you the freedom for them to miss a month or two settling in. No one is going to get you off the plane and say why arent your children in school… Let them enjoy the place allow a 1000 dollars for day trips for them …We did loads of this and still one day I found my little girl in her suitcase with bear saying she wanted to go home…all because 5 weeks after being here I went to a business meeting one day… Your a parent you’ll know how I felt next day sea life and ice skating… there are a number of schools that teach international baccalaureate style so its 1,2 …3,4 …5,6 mixed classes then set for ability for most tasks .

  • Matthew Gaze January 12, 2017, 11:49 am |

    Hi There,

    I am in the midst of moving my family from New Zealand. My son and daughter will be starting school in a couple of weeks. Being school holidays I’ve been unable to gather an insight as to what grade they will start in.

    My son is 6 years old and his birthday is in July. He has completed a year in a half of primary school in New Zealand.

    My daughter is 9 years old and her birthday is in October.

    Any indication would be greatly appreciated.


    • Matthew Gaze January 12, 2017, 11:51 am |

      We’re moving to Victoria.

      • BobinOz January 12, 2017, 8:41 pm |

        Well, by my maths, your son would have started prep year in 2016, so for the school year starting January 2017, this year, he would go into Grade 1.

        Your daughter is three years older so she would go into Grade 4 this year. That’s what I reckon, but I’ve been wrong before, see the discussion below with Mark and Alana.

        Good luck, Bob

  • Alana December 27, 2016, 11:11 pm |

    Hi, great info thank you…
    we are looking to move to western Australia before my oldest daughter starts high school… I’m confused as to when she would start high school there… she is 9 now and will be 10 in may 2017. She is in primary 5 here in the UK. Do you know when she would start out there?
    Thank you

    • BobinOz December 29, 2016, 9:35 pm |

      Well, by my calculations your daughter would have gone into Grade 1 in 2012 here, and Grade 7 is the first year for high school. So I reckon she will start high school here in January 2018.

      • Alana December 31, 2016, 12:51 am |

        Thank you bob .. that’s great we weren’t sure so thank you for helping with this.
        Hopefully we will be out there for her starting high school.

    • Mark December 31, 2016, 1:12 pm |

      Hi Alana Think Bob might be a year out here. To much sherry trifle 🙂 either that or I’ve had too much of something If your Daughter is year 5 now that runs UK till July 2017 in that year then year 6 till July 2018 so High School September 2018 The cut off date here is 30th April unlike UK 30th August So technically a May birthday would be grade 4 here starting grade 5 in about 4 weeks time 2017 and grade 6 January 2018 High School the following year 2019 Bob will you check my maths…well its my wife’s actually…All that said if your Daughter is doing well then she can move up, or not doing so well down…She is arguably going to gain another 4 months of the same grade here but that said time to settle in sort her self out. It may be the same language but many things said differently in school particularly… As an aside if you can still make it out a year earlier at least she goes to High with friends she will have met… The schools are a lot bigger here generally and I think it far wiser given the choose she was here, made friends before the high school comes…

      • BobinOz January 2, 2017, 5:41 pm |

        Well, yes, I may well have had too much sherry trifle, but I still believe my answer is the correct one Mark. According to my information, and it is detailed above, the cut-off in Western Australia, the destination of Alana, is actually 30 June not 30 April as it is where you are in Victoria.

        So my calculations are based on Alana’s daughter being aged five by the cut-off in 2012, = Year 1. So Year 7 = 2012+6 = 2018.

        Having done it again though, I have realised that I have also made a mistake. I forgot about the ‘prep year’ that I do also mention above. So in 2012 Alana’s daughter would have actually started prep year and then in 2013, Year 1.

        So she will start senior school in Year 7 = 2013+6 = 2019.

        So you, or rather your wife, was right, but unfortunately having looked at your workings out I’m afraid under the strict rules of marking which your wife will fully understand, I have to give it a ‘X’.

        Who knew it could all be this hard, but hopefully we can all now (I think) agree it’s January 2019.

        • Mark January 2, 2017, 11:24 pm |

          Hi Alana and Bob I bet when you posted this question Alana you didnt realise two grown men would spend longer working it out for you than even making a sherry trifle could take…. Bob Ive just read the reply to my wife and yes she didnt realise different cut of dates in another state, (we are still new) To be fair to her I hadn’t read her the WA part just age and question. I didnt think for one minute different cut off. All good fun…Alana it is a possibly a moveable feast and this applies to WA, they will move children up or down a year if needed its arguably not a very common occurrence but its also not unheard off At a school we know well some 10 percent of children are not in their supposed correct grade by age but are by ability. I have to say it does seem phenomenally difficult here at times to calculate this equation and for the life of me I dont understand why its so hard.

          • BobinOz January 3, 2017, 9:15 pm |

            All part of the fun of having seven states and two territories Mark, we got there in the end though 🙂

  • Mandy August 13, 2016, 11:50 pm |

    Hi Bob

    Thank you for this website! It has provided us with so much useful info and reassurance. We are in the process of obtaining our visa and are at the “nervous waiting” stage, so hopefully we will be getting some good news soon. I was very worried about moving my children as I have heard that the ages for starting school differ from state to state and that in general start at a younger age than we do in South Africa where kids turn 6 years in kindy no matter which month they are born in. This page has helped immensely. As my kids are both born in the latter part of the year we wont have any problems moving them.

    Thanks again


    • BobinOz August 14, 2016, 6:57 pm |

      Very glad to hear my website has been helpful to you Mandy, including this page about when children start school. Hopefully your nervous waiting stage won’t last too long and you get the good news you are hoping for.

      Good luck, I hope it all works out well for you and your family. Many thanks, Bob

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