Education is at the heart of Western Australia (WA), with more than 125 high-quality education providers including schools, colleges, pathway providers, English language institutions and five universities that are ranked in the top 40 worldwide in many subjects.
With such a selection of quality education providers, and a bustling local and international student cohort, you’ll find lots of support and flexible study pathways. WA educated students have been known to be globally employable, with courses recognised across the globe.
Levels of study
Kindergarten is the first year of schooling for your child in WA and although it is not compulsory, it is highly recommended as the learning programs are based on children’s interests with a focus on social, emotional, pre-literacy, pre-numeracy and physical development.
This is the first compulsory year of schooling in WA, before the start of primary schooling. Your child must be enrolled and attend every day.
Once your child has completed pre-primary, they move on to primary school where they attend from years 1–6 and cover eight core subject areas: English, mathematics, science, society and environment, technology and enterprise, languages, the Arts, and health and physical education.
Your child then goes to secondary school from years 7–12. Most children start Year 7 in the year they turn 12, and will be in and Year 12 in the year they turn 17, with many attending the public secondary school closest to their home.
You may choose to send your child to a non-government or private school. These schools generally have their own fee structures and receive a subsidy from both Commonwealth and State Governments, and each will offer different benefits and teaching methodologies for students. You can learn more about WA's private schools on the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA) website(opens in a new tab) and the Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) website(opens in a new tab).
Vocational education and training (VET)
Vocational education and training (VET) is designed to deliver workplace specific skills and knowledge, as well as trades training including apprenticeships, in an adult learning environment. They also offer a range of industry-specific short courses for job ready skills training.
VET is delivered through WA's five TAFE (technical and further education) colleges with campuses located across Perth and regional WA, as well as a number of private training providers. Find out more about TAFEs here(opens in a new tab).
Many WA schools include VET in the upper secondary curriculum. This enables students to gain nationally recognised industry skills, while completing their secondary school certificate. Information on VET courses in WA is available on the Jobs and Skills WA website.(opens in a new tab)
You can also visit the Jobs and Skills WA website(opens in a new tab) to find your local Jobs and Skills Centre for free advice and assistance with training.
This term is generally used to describe university-level education.
There are many universities and higher education providers in WA, each offering a range of studies and specialist qualification areas. The average degree course takes around three or four years to complete; however, double degrees, honours and postgraduate studies take longer. Some institutions offer part time and external learning options.
Pre-school and school
Your child begins learning from the moment they are born, and will generally learn more in their first five years than at any other time of their life.
Our education system is recognised throughout the world and is complemented by a rich culture, comparatively safe environment and stable government.
Many believe that WA is an ideal place to raise and educate children.
In WA children can start their formal education in kindergarten, compulsory schooling starts when children are old enough to attend pre-primary and continue until the end of year 12. Children must attend school from pre-primary through to the age of 16. If your child is 16 or 17 years old, they must be:
- enrolled in a school or a training organisation;
- employed; or
- in a combination of school/training/employment.
For more information please visit the Department of Education Website(opens in a new tab).
If you would like to explore options for childcare before their formal education begins, WA has many quality options, including long day care*; family day care*; in-home care; outside school hours care; and occasional care.
*most childcare options
Family day care is where an educator provides care in their own home for a set number of children, including their own children, in accordance with national law and national regulations.
Long day care is a centre based childcare service. Long day care services provide all day or part time care for children of working families and the general community. Private operators, local councils, community organisations, employers or non-profit organisations may run these services.
The Commonwealth Government has established the Child Care Access Hotline on 1800 670 305 (from within Australia). This services provides information to help you choose a childcare service that meets your needs, such as:
- childcare services in your area;
- types of childcare available;
- quality issues; and
- childcare financial assistance.
Every child from pre-primary to year 12 on a permanent visa is guaranteed a place at their local public school. If your children are dependants on a Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa, you will be required to pay a tuition fee of $4,000 per family per year, payable to TAFE International Western Australia(opens in a new tab). If you are unable to pay this fee, you may be eligible to submit a financial hardship application(opens in a new tab).
Children on certain visa subclasses may need to enrol as full fee paying students with enrolment at the discretion of the school’s Principal and subject to capacity.
As private schools can be competitive, it’s a good idea to register your child early to secure them a place.
There is a wide choice of public (government) and private schools in WA and it’s important that you register your child for school as soon as possible. You can find out how to enrol your child in public school by visiting the Department of Education website(opens in a new tab). Follow the steps in the ‘How to enrol – step by step guide’ then scroll through the rest of the page.
If your child is assessed by the school as having few or no English skills, they may be referred to an Intensive English Centre. Such referrals are available only to students with permanent residency status. Students on some temporary visas may also be eligible.