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Secondary Education

Australia is a popular secondary education destination for international students. Not only does Australia offer quality, internationally recognised education, it also provides a safe, comfortable and multicultural environment. Secondary education in Australia aims to provide skills for your future study, employment and life in Australia or anywhere in the world.

Courses and qualifications

Australia’s secondary schools have a national curriculum that was developed to ensure high academic standards in all Australian schools. The different states and territories of Australia do have individual systems of secondary education, but all conform to the same high standards required by the national curriculum. For a school to be accredited to accept international students it must provide, or have access to, specialist English language programs.

Across the different states and territories, the Year 12 (final year) qualification is known as:

State

Name of Year 12 qualification

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

ACT Year 12 Certificate

New South Wales (NSW)

NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC)

Northern Territory (NT)

Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE)

Queensland (QLD)

Queensland Certificate of Education

South Australia (SA)

South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)

Tasmania (TAS)

Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE)

Victoria (VIC)

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

Western Australia (WA)

Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)

Different secondary schools offer varying elective subjects and areas of specialisation, but all provide subjects in eight key learning areas: English, mathematics, society and the environment, science, the arts, economics, technology, and health and physical education.

In addition to the subjects offered, it’s a good idea to research the school’s focus and extracurricular activities to help you find the school most suited to your needs and interests.

Average tuition costs

Secondary school fees for international students vary widely, from AUD$6000 to AUD$30,000 at an elite private school. It is important to check specific tuition costs with individual schools

Entry requirements

Entry requirements vary throughout Australia. The selection process involves consideration of the applicant’s academic record and proven ability, along with other factors that may include sporting achievement and other extracurricular accomplishments.

Further study

The successful completion of secondary school allows students to apply for entry to further education but it does not guarantee a place. Entry into most Australian higher education courses is on a competitive basis, for both international and local students.

Vocational training in schools

An increasing number of Australian schools offer vocational training subjects as part of their school curriculum. These subjects allow students to gain practical, work-based skills whilst completing their senior secondary education, and are part of Australia’s commitment to providing a balanced education that prepares students well for life after secondary school.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a two-year pre-university course for motivated students from 16–19 years of age. Universities around the world recognise the qualification. There are also programs for middle year students (aged 11–16) and primary year students (aged 3–12).

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