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Melbourne is home to some of the region’s best educational institutions. Your children will be given the opportunity of a lifetime to learn, develop and flourish from kindergarten through to university.

How does Melbourne’s education system compare?

Our education system is just one of the reasons we’re ranked the most liveable city in the world – for the fifth year in a row. Melbourne was given a perfect score for education from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey 2015.

Here are some other facts about Melbourne’s education system:

Your children will benefit from more than academic achievement when they study in Australia:

  • Our healthy environment and lifestyle will help your children maximise their potential
  • Our varied curriculum will help ensure they learn a diverse range of life skills.

Education system

The education system in Australia consists of three stages:

  • Kindergarten/preschool: This is a one-to-two year program for children before they start primary school. Kindergarten/preschool is not compulsory in Victoria but it’s recommended to help your children develop social, mental and physical skills in preparation for school. Many private schools offer preschool programs as well as primary and secondary education.
  • Primary school and high school: School is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 15. In their final two years, students complete the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) which enables entry to university or other tertiary education. Alternative assessment programs (for example the International Baccalaureate) are also available at some schools.
  • Tertiary education: Victoria’s post-secondary system includes 10 universities, a network of internationally-recognised vocational training institutions known as TAFEs, and hundreds of private colleges and training institutes that offer a diverse range of career skills and qualifications, English language, professional and executive development programs.

For more information about our school system, curriculum, qualifications, teaching methods, and English language support visit study.vic.gov.au.

University students graduating

Will you choose public or private education?

You can choose whether to send your children to public or private schools:

Public schools Private schools
  •  Public schools are often known as state schools or government schools.
  •  Private schools are private, non-denominational schools with  religious association.
  •  Government schools are usually co-educational, meaning both boys and girls attend the school.
  • Some private schools offer single-sex education.
  • Victoria has more than 1500 Government schools.
  • Victoria has almost 500 catholic schools and over 200 independent schools (private, non-denominational schools with religious association).

It is legal to home-school children in Victoria but you must register with the Victorian Registrations and Qualification Authority.

Tips to successfully transition your children to a new school

Learning English

Learning English is a big advantage for new migrants. With highly qualified and trained teachers throughout Victoria, your children will learn English quickly in our schools. Many schools provide intensive language training and other support to prepare students from non-English speaking backgrounds for the school curriculum.

Student support services

Most schools offer a range of support services to help your children settle into their new school, including:

  • peer-support programs (also known as ‘buddy’ systems) where a senior student acts as a role model for support/advice to the new, younger student
  • access to welfare and wellbeing counsellors and career counsellors (in high schools)
  • support programs for children with learning difficulties or needing specific assistance.

For more information on support services visit the Department of Education and Training.

Making new friends

New students quickly feel at home in Melbourne’s public and private schools. Our schools are multicultural and welcoming with many ways for both you and your children to make new friends:

  • many schools have programs and staff in place to help new students settle in (you can ask school representatives about these opportunities)
  • extra-curricular activities (for example school sporting groups) often help students and parents to meet other families and make friends
  • other school events often help parents make helpful new contacts and friends.

Useful websites

There are a lot of resources to help you find the best schools in Melbourne:

  • Study Melbourne – explore this comprehensive guide to tertiary education in Melbourne, available in eight languages.
  • study.vic.gov.au – use this guide to Victorian Government High schools. This site is available in English, Mandarin, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean.
  • Schools Online – a list of all government schools, private schools and kindergartens by location.
  • The Right School Right Place – discover more than 100 Victorian government schools that specialise in education for international students. This site is available in English, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
  • My School website – search the profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools. This information has been provided by individual schools and education authorities.
  • Independent Schools Victoria – a practical guide to private schools in Victoria including a school locator by area.
  • Catholic Education Commission of Victoria – an overview of Catholic education in Victoria including a detailed list of Catholic schools.
Please note: The information, services and views expressed that may appear on any linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the Skilled and Business Migration Program and the Victorian Government. It is recommended that you make your own enquiries as to the appropriateness and suitability of the information on this site for your particular circumstances.