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Primary and secondary education lasts for 13 years in Australia, from preparatory to senior secondary.  Schooling is compulsory until at least the age of 16.

All schools operate under conditions determined by state and territory government regulatory authorities. Classified as either government or non-government schools. Government schools are the direct responsibility of the Director-General of Education (or equivalent) in each state or territory. While non-government schools can be further classified, based on self-identification of the school’s affiliation (source:

Primary Education
Pre-Primary/ Year 1 to Year 6/7
Primary education starts when a child turns six years of age. Students will usually have one teacher for most of the school day and specialist teachers for subjects such as music, art, drama and religious studies.
Secondary Education 
Lower Secondary School
Years 8-10
Students focus on the same eight learning areas as Primary students, but with greater diversity in electives and subject choice.
Upper Secondary School
Years 11-12
Students can elect to study specific subjects that will prepare them for future study or their chosen career. Specific subject are taught by teachers with specialist qualifications.  In Year 12, students sit for a major tertiary entrance examination to receive an official certificate of qualification that is recognised by all Australian universities, higher education and vocational education, as well as many institutions internationally.

International Student (Under 18) Requirement 

The Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) requires that students under the age of 18 to have appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements whilst studying in Australia. It is a condition of a Student Visa that these arrangements be maintained, and failure to do so can result in visa cancellation.

Students under 18 when they begin studying at an institute have 2 to 3 options for their accommodation and welfare arrangements.

Acceptable living arrangements


Scenario one

  • The student lives with a parent or eligible relative who is over the age of 21 and of good character.

  • This arrangement must be approved by DIBP and will not require a confirmation of ‘appropriate accommodation and welfare’ (CAAW) letter from the applied institute.

Scenario two
  • The student lives in one of the approved institute’s student residences on-campus (if available).

  • This option requires the institute to provide a CAAW letter to DIBP as part of the student visa application process.

Scenario three

  • We represent you to organise accommodation with the Australian Homestay Network (AHN) and guardianship arrangements with either Professional Student Care Australia or the International Student Alliance Student Care & Welfare Services.

  • The student is responsible for any fees and costs associated with these arrangements. 

  • This option will require the institute to provide a CAAW letter to DIBP as part of the student visa application.


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