Education for your children

If you have dependant children aged between five and 17 years and they come to live with you in Australia (for part or for the duration of your stay) you are required by law to make arrangements for them to attend school in South Australia.

Find out more about:


The education system in Australia

Australia offers public (state government established) and private (independent, including church-established) schooling with religious or non-denominational affiliation. To ensure  children receive a quality education, all schools in South Australia operate within the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability (SACSA) Framework (Reception to Year 10) and South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) (Years 10 to 12).

Children may attend childcare from birth to three years of age and preschool (kindergarten) from the age of four years, however attendance is optional. Compulsory schooling in Australia begins from the age of five until 17 years. Children attend primary school for seven years followed by up to five years of secondary schooling, at least until the age of 17 but usually until 18 years of age.

School hours are generally between 8.45am and 3.15pm from Monday to Friday. The school year comprises four terms, either nine or ten weeks in duration commencing from late January until mid December. School breaks for two weeks in between terms. At the end of the school year children have six weeks of school holidays over summer, in December and January.

For further information about the education system in Australia see:

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Choosing a school

Public schools are zoned according to region and usually children will be accepted for enrolment at the public school which is closest to the child's address. To check which schools are zoned for your area, see the list of Public Primary Schools and Public Secondary Schools.

If you wish to enrol your child in a public school outside of your zone, or independent school, you may enquire at the school directly.

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English language support

Some public schools offer intensive English language support for newly arrived non-English speaking children to prepare them for mainstream schooling. These early intervention programs – the Intensive English Language Program (for primary schools) and New Arrivals Program (for secondary schools) – are available to dependant children of international students for up to 30 hours per week for one year.

For further details and eligibility criteria see Intensive English Language Program and New Arrivals Program on the Department for Education and Child Development website.

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School fees for dependants of international students

South Australian government (public) schools

International students (573 Visa Bachelor Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters by Course Work)
International students will need to pay fees for their children to attend public schools. Further information on fees is available from the Children of International Tertiary Students web page.

International students - Scholarship holders (574 Visa - Masters Degree by Research, or Doctoral Degree; 576 Visa - AusAID Sponsored)
International students who are receiving a South Australian government-endorsed scholarship for tuition fees are exempt from paying tuition and administration fees for their children's public schooling. Further details are available at Children of International Tertiary Students.

If you require further information contact South Australian Government Schools, Department of Education and Child Development on 8226 3402 or email decsip@sa.gov.au

Scholarships in this category include:

  • Australian government scholarships, eg AusAid or International Postgraduate Research Scholarship 
  • South Australian government scholarships 
  • South Australian university scholarships, eg President's Scholarship
  • Home country government, provincial or state government, or multilateral agency scholarship

If the awarded scholarship covers up to 100% of tuition fees, students will be eligible for exemption for their children's public school fees for the same percentage.

Fees for private schools

Fees for private schools vary and are payable in full with no reduction or exemption. For details see:

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Enrolment

International students (573 Visa - Bachelor Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master by Course Work)
To choose a South Australian government school in which to enrol your children, follow the steps in the Department for Education and Child Development website, complete the student application form and pay the required tuition fee.

Dependant Notification School Form (PDF 102kb)

If you require further information or clarification contact the Department of Education and Child Development.

International students - Scholarship holders
(574 Visa - Masters Degree by Research, or Doctoral Degree; 576 Visa -
AusAID Sponsored)

To enrol your children in a South Australian public (state government) school, you will need to complete the following application forms and provide the requested documents:

Tertiary Scholarship Verification Form (PDF 122kb)

Forward completed form to UniSA International/Graduate Research Centre for verification of your scholarship. UniSA will forward to the Department of Education and Children's Services on your behalf – see form for instructions.

Application Form (including Terms & Conditions) (PDF 139kb)

If you require further information contact South Australian Government Schools, Department of Education and Child Development on 08 8226 3402 or email: decdisp@sa.gov.au

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Childcare assistance

International students may be eligible to claim Child Care Benefits to assist with the cost of child care and before or after school care. For advice on your eligibility for Child Care Benefits, contact the Department of Human Services.

See the list of child care centres located near your campus or close to where you are living or contact the Department of Education and Child Development on 8226 1000.

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Further information

For further information and assistance with arranging education for your children contact South Australian Government Schools, Department of Child Development.

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Areas of study and research

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