School education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16 (Year 1 to 10) and comprises 13 years. It includes:
- A preparatory year before Year 1: not compulsory but almost universally undertaken
- Primary schooling: 6 or 7 years - Years 1-6 or 1-7
- Secondary schooling: 5 or 6 years - Years 7-12 or 8-12.
The first one or two years of secondary school are a general program undertaken by all students. In later years students take a core group of subjects and electives. Core subjects usually include English, mathematics, science, society and environment, languages other than English (LOTE), technological and applied studies, creative arts and personal development, health and physical education. Some subjects are offered at several levels of depth and complexity.
Senior secondary education covers Years 11 and 12. Senior secondary education offers several types of programs which prepare students for future study, employment, and adult life. The relevant state or territory Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is awarded on successful completion of Year 12. Different names are used for the certificates in each state and territory. There is also a senior secondary award outside the state and territory school systems, this is the International Baccalaureate.
The Australian Government and the Australian states and territories share responsibilities for the administration and financing of education. Exact arrangements depend on the educational sector and legislative responsibilities.
Consultation between the Australian Government and the states and territories is through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). MCEECDYA was established in 1993 and includes Australian, New Zealand and state and territory ministers responsible for the portfolios of education, employment, training and youth affairs.
For more information on State and Territory School Education: