May 18 2011

Education in Sydney and New South Wales

Education in Sydney and New South Wales, Australia

State schools in NSW are often referred to as Public Schools

Starting School in New South Wales

Children may enter Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year in NSW government schools, if they turn five on or before 31st July in that year.

On that basis, a child that is about 4 years and 6 months old is able to start Kindergarten (the year before Year One). Some children however, could be almost 6 years old when they start Kindergarten. This age difference can follow on throughout their school life.

Some gifted or talented children may be ready to start school at an earlier age while others may benefit from being a little older.

By law, all children must start school by their sixth birthday.

Example of ages for starting each year

Children must turn five by July 31 in the year they start Kindergarten.

All children in NSW must start school by their sixth birthday.

Therefore a child born in July 1997 and turning 5 in 2002, would start school as follows:

  • K in 2002 at age 4y 6m
  • 1 in 2003 at age 5y 6m
  • 2 in 2004 at age 6y 6m
  • 3 in 2005 at age 7y 6m
  • 4 in 2006 at age 8y 6m
  • 5 in 2007 at age 9y 6m
  • 6 in 2008 at age 10y 6m
  • 7 in 2009 at age 11y 6m
  • 8 in 2010 at age 12y 6m
  • 9 in 2011 at age 13y 6m
  • 10 in 2012 at age 14y 6m
  • 11 in 2013 at age 15y 6m
  • 12 in 2014 at age 16y 6m

Primary School runs from Kindergarten, then year 1, through to year 6.

Senior School runs from year 7 to year 10, with year 11 and year 12, as optional extra schooling years. Most children carry on until they complete year 12.

Temporary Visa Holders:

Most New South Wales students who hold a Temporary Resident Visa must pay a Temporary Visa Holders Education Fee and Administration Fee for enrolment in a NSW Government School.

A list of all Visa classes showing who needs to pay international schooling fees in NSW is at:

2010 Annual Fees were:

  • Primary school Years K-6 $4,500
  • Junior high school Years 7 10 $4,500
  • Senior high school Years 11 12 $5,500

An Administration Fee of $110.00 is also required for each fee liable student for the initial enrolment.
The Administration Fee is non-refundable and is GST inclusive.

Current Fee Details are available at:


The SIR, Skilled Independent Regional (Provisional) Visa Subclass 495, may have different conditions. NSW for example allows Free education under this visa class

International Students

International Fees (for those not on the 457 visa etc) are:
2010-11 Tuition fees:

  • A$9,500 per student per year Primary (Kindergarten to Year 6)
  • A$11,500 per student per year Junior secondary (Years 7 to 10)
  • A$12,900 per student per year Senior secondary (Years 11 and 12)

Overseas Education

Equivalent Qualifications

A Statement of Equivalent Qualification can be issued to people who have educational qualifications from overseas that are judged by the Authority to be equivalent to Year 11 or Year 12 level.

Leaving School

The minimum school leaving age in New South Wales is 15.

Two webpages that may be useful are:

Leaving school after Year 10:

Leaving school after Year 12:

School Term dates in NSW

New South Wales – Term Dates for 2012

  • Term 1: 27 January – 05 April
  • Term 2: 23 April – 29 June
  • Term 3: 16 July – 21 September
  • Term 4: 08 October – 21 December

New South Wales – Term Dates for 2011

  • Term 1: 28 January – 08 April
  • Term 2: 27 April – 01 July
  • Term 3: 18 July – 23 September
  • Term 4: 10 October – 20 December

Useful Websites

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