The Australian school system has a great reputation, with high quality teachers, a diverse curriculum, students from many different backgrounds and learning spaces that bring out the best in everyone.
The information below will give you a good overview of education in Victoria, Australia, whether in regional schools or schools in Melbourne. School systems vary, so this may be different from the system in your country.
Education in Victoria, Australia is compulsory for children aged from six to 17 years. In the Australian school system, students attend school for a total of 13 years.
Primary school students are aged between five and 12 years old. Classes are divided into Prep and Years 1 – 6.
Secondary school students are aged between 12 and 20 years old. Classes are divided into Years 7 – 12.
The Australian school system has a range of schools including:
- primary schools
- secondary schools
- P-12 (Prep to Year 12) or K-12 (Kindergarten to Year 12) colleges.
Most Victorian Government schools are co-educational but there are also some single gender schools.
Class sizes and ratios
According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics, in secondary schools world-wide:
- average class size is 24 students
- student/teacher ratio is 13. (OECD, 2012)
Victorian schools are equal or better. In Victorian secondary schools this year:
- average class size is 21.4 students
- student/teacher ratio is 12.5. (DET, 2014)
Typical school day
School takes place five days per week, from around 8:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday. On a
typical school day, students tend to move from classroom to classroom rather than staying in one room, and even moving outside the classroom with our
interactive teaching methods.
The school year
There are four terms in the Victorian school year. School usually starts in late January or early February and runs until mid-December. There’s a short holiday between terms and a long summer holiday in December and January.
Curriculum and school programs
The school curriculum in Victoria depends on the student year level:
- AusVELS - The Australian Curriculum through the Victorian Essential Learning Standards for Prep to Year 10
- Victorian Certificate of Education for Years 11 and 12.
All schools also offer extra-curricular programs with many options and experiences.
How we teach our students
teaching approach focuses on the student and leads to better academic results and a happier time at school.
All Victorian teachers are university qualified. As part of their degree, they have hands-on experience in schools through a supervised practicum placement program, also known as ‘teaching rounds’.
You’ll usually talk to your teacher using their title and surname: Ms, Mrs or Mr X. Teachers usually talk to students by their first name.
How we manage our schools
The school principal is the leader and manager of the school and its education program. Each school has a council with parent, community and staff representatives that help to make sure the school is operating at its best.
Excellent facilities and
learning spaces are a key feature of Victorian Government schools. All schools have purpose-built learning, sports and recreation centres.
Access to computers
Our average student to computer ratio is currently 1 to 3 (1:3). A range of state and federal government programs are improving access to computers in schools and reducing this ratio even more.
Most of your schools have a set uniform that you have to wear. There are often winter and summer uniforms with clothes in the school colours.
- trousers or shorts
- a shirt and blazer or jumper (pullover).
- either a skirt or trousers
- a shirt and blazer.
Students can wear clothing particular to their religion or culture in Victorian schools. For example, Muslim female students can wear a hijab.
Languages (other than English) classes are available from Prep to Year 12. Language classes are taught by a qualified LOTE teacher and usually total 150 minutes per week.
Languages are taught in Victorian Government primary schools and in secondary schools. Over 40 languages are taught through the
Victorian School of Languages (VSL).
Student language background
Almost 25 per cent of students at our schools are from language backgrounds other than English, which is why we have such an extensive
EAL program and many of our schools are staffed with Multicultural Education Aides.
Each school is different. Some have students mainly from Anglo-Saxon backgrounds, while others have a mix of many nationalities in their classes.