Australia is a beautiful country, which is one of the many reasons why it is so attractive to international students all over the world. Besides said reason, Australia also has an extensive range of notable and reputable education institute and providers. The type of schools can be broadly categorised into the following:


Public (State Schools)

Public schools in Australia are schools funded by the government though parents are required to pay ‘voluntary’ contributions that can cost up to a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. A good thing about public schools in Australia is that they are accessible to foreign students though they have to pay the full school fees. Children attend schools within their catchment area or “school zone”, so parents have to choose a specific residential area if they want their child to enrol into a particular school as priority is given to students within the zone.


Independent (Non-government) Schools

There are plenty of private schools in Australia and is assumed that these institutions boast better infrastructure, a wider range of facilities, and an elevated standard of education.

The curriculum can differ in each independent school, but the most common curriculum used is the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, with boarding options available in most institutes. As these schools are not funded by the government, the school fees also increase significantly and one should expect about AU$10,000 - AU$12,599.

Catholic Independent (Non-government) Schools

The majority of private schools in Australia are Catholic schools, though there are also a few Lutheran and Anglican options. While placing a high value on academics, these schools tend to also teach from a religious standpoint. The extent to which religious practice and teachings are incorporated into the curriculum varies from school to school.

Catholic independent schools form the next largest sector after government schools, with around 21% of secondary enrolments. The Catholic system is also vast and accessible – sometimes even for those out of the habit of practicing their faith. Likewise, catholic or religious independent schools also offer boarding options for the students as well.

The National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is a national exam that all year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students have to undertake, whether they are in a public or non-government school. The assessment covers reading, writing, language conventions (grammar, spelling, punctuations) and numeracy.

International schools

Though not as common, there are several schools in Australia catering to foreign students and many of them offer the International Baccalaureate. These schools can be found in major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. All private and international schools must meet the requirements of the Australian national system.

However, parents should be warned that fees for international schools can be astronomical as they are also independently funded. Furthermore, some popular international schools often have long waiting lists and may require students to pass an exam prior to enrolment. Parents who have their heart set on a particular international school may choose to apply for a public school first while waiting for an available spot.

The average school fee in an Australia private school can be significantly higher than state and catholic schools going up to about AU$18,000 - AU$41,000 per year.


Foundation programmes help international students who may not initially meet entry requirements to gain entry to undergraduate study at Australian universities and colleges. They also help students adapt to the Australian academic environment and life in Australia. Some foundation courses will offer students a place in the university upon successful completion of the programme.

Foundation courses can be found in Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, universities and specialist foundation colleges. As such, this gives students the advantage of having access to institution facilities such as libraries and computer laboratories, as well as health and housing services, sports centres and student clubs.

Learn more about studying in Australia with some commonly asked questions by our students

FAQ about studying in Australia

Learn about how to apply to the various schools in Australia

How to apply to Australia schools