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in Australia

High schools in Australia provide an excellent standard of education, perhaps one of the best in the world, in both public and private schools. Public schools are free for Australians and Permanent Residents however International Students must pay to attend them. Actually, public high schools are not completely free; there are some school related expenses you will need to pay such as: textbooks (or textbook hire), materials for certain subjects, uniforms, school excursions/camps and additional sporting activities/clubs. At the end of the term or school year, books and other resources hired from the school must be returned. Public schools are sponsored by the State Governments, and receive some funding from the Federal Government. Due to an increase in the amount of international students wanting to study at high school in Australia, some schools have started to offer more places for international fee paying students. For an international student to attend a public high school for 1 year in Australia, it costs around $20,000.00 Australian dollars, which includes accommodation and food in a house with an Australian family.

Private high schools are usually religion based; founded by one church or another, and beyond the normal curriculum they also teach religious education. They are usually stricter when it comes to study and uniforms than public schools however they follow the same school curriculum as public schools. In a recent national maths competition, private school students did not achieve any higher results than fellow public school students. The biggest difference between public and private schools other than the price (private schools are much more expensive!) is the option of additional extracurricular activities and sports. Private schools demand more discipline as well formal uniforms, including the use of hat and necktie. Private schools are also partially funded by the Federal Government.

In Australia, high school starts in year 8, when the students are between 11 and 12 years of age. School results are graded into letters  A, B, C, D and E with A equalling excellent and E equalling failure. It is very rare for a student to get an E, which is equivalent to zero. School results are further subdivided by adding either a plus (+) or minus (-). For example an A+ would be equivalent to 10, and A - to 8. On average, Australian students achieve between a B and a C.

The school sends student’s school results either quarterly or annually to the parents, with comments beside each subject. For example:

Mathematics  (C -)

“Little Jonny” is solving equations well, but he has difficulty working with fractions. I recommend him to study a little more he will improve his result. He participates well in class but talks too much.

English:          A (-)

“Little Jonny” has excellent writing skills, with perfect  spelling and  a vast vocabulary. He uses text appropriate such as adjectives and verbs. “Little Jonny” understands how to create and write a story, and has strong essay skills. Congratulations, if you keep working hard you will achieve an A+ next term.

Geography:    (D -)

“Little Jonny” has a very limited knowledge of geography, and thinks New Zealand is a state of Australia. He is completely lost!


It is compulsory for students to attend school until year 10 in Australia. In year 10 the pupil will be between 15 and 16 years of age, and have completed their basic school certificate. Years 11 and 12 (the last 2 years of study) are optional, but still free and the result from these last 2 years will be the basis for entry in a University called OP (In Queensland only). Each State has a different way of measuring a students results). An OP score is a combination of the school results and projects during the last 2 years plus the level of the other students in the school. Each University offers different courses, but students may not be able to enter their chosen course if their OP is not high enough. Students who choose not to complete years 11 and 12 have the options of looking for an apprenticeship, commencing some sort of vocational training or getting a job.

In the last 2 years of school, students start choosing subjects related to their future profession. For example, a student who decides to study languages at University will not choose science subjects to study.For international students, there are many options of subjects and level of difficulties. There are for example 4 levels of English classes or mathematics. The easy Maths or the easy English do not qualify for an OP. At this stage most Australian students are already working part time, after school or on weekends.

The requirements for International Students wanting to attend a High school in Australia are:

  • Show the results of your last two years of study in your home country with a certified translation in English.

  • Show your English level by a test of English or through attendance of English classes in school. If your English in not good enough to study at high school in Australia you must improve it, usually needing to take the IELTS test to gain a reasonable score. You will need to provide evidence of the test before commencing study.  


Teacher , why did we stop our Marine Studies Course? 

- "I didn’t stop. The problem is we need to fish. "

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