South Australia offers a world-class education system providing quality education and internationally recognised qualifications through tertiary and vocational education pathways.

In South Australia, children between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. Education options for school-aged children (generally 5 to 18 years old) include public education, a private independent school and Catholic education.

All young people between 16 and 17 years old must attend full-time schooling, training or work for at least 25 hours per week. This can include vocational education and training (VET), traineeships and apprenticeships.

School zones

Public schools in South Australia are heavily zoned, which means that schools give priority enrolment to children who live inside defined geographic areas. Some schools have a shared zone or shared areas, allowing students living in this zone to nominate a preferred local school.

Families can apply for any school, even if it’s not their local one, but enrolment will only be offered if the school has places available.

Support for Defence families

Defence School Mentors provide in-school support for children from Defence families through the Defence School Mentor Program.

The program assists students and their families as they start at school and helps them to integrate into the school community. Importantly, extra support is provided to ensure the health and wellbeing of children during parental absences.

Mentors can also assist students and their families with advice and referrals to specialised assistance if required.

A number of financial support services are available to help minimise disruption to schooling caused by posting within Australia. This support can assist with the cost of tutoring, special needs support, boarding fees and tertiary accommodation.

Early childhood, education & care

Childcare is available to children under school-age, generally from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. There are many types of childcare available including centre-based care, family day care and occasional care.

Some schools also have Early Learning Centres incorporated as part of the school campus and environment. These centres are usually available to children once they turn 2 years old until they start school.

If your child is four years old, they may be enrolled in a Department for Education kindergarten/preschool service or other pre-school program provided by other care providers to help prepare them for school.

Child Care Subsidy

The Australian Government offers support to families to assist with the cost of childcare through the Child Care Subsidy. The subsidy is designed to make childcare affordable for more families, and to provide more help to low and middle-income families.


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