Primary Schools in Victoria

All Victorian children aged between six and 17 must attend school. Grade ‘Prep’ (preparatory year) to Grade six attend primary school. Victorian secondary school is from Year seven to Year 12.

To attend a government school in Victoria, your child must be five years of age by 30 April of the year they start school.

Types of schools

There are two major types of school in Victoria for both primary and secondary level:

  • public schools (also known as state schools or government schools)
  • private schools (non-denominational or religious schools, including Catholic schools).

In Victoria, there are:

  • 1594 state schools
  • 484 Catholic schools
  • 218 independent schools (private non-denominational or religious association).

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

Duration and holidays

The school year runs on the calendar year, beginning in late January and ending in December for the summer holidays. Students attend school for about 40 weeks per year, divided into four school terms. Holidays between each term typically last for two weeks, while the summer holiday break is significantly longer at six weeks. See school term dates in Victoria. 

Course of study

Eight themes form the basis of learning in primary school - English, Health and Physical Education, Language other than English, Maths, Science, Society and Environment, Technology, and the Arts. Religious education is also offered at relevant schools.

Languages other than English

Children who have recently arrived in Australia may be eligible for classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) within their school.

Fees

Public primary schools (state schools) are fully government-funded and free to attend. However, you are usually asked to pay a voluntary school levy per student per year. You will also need to pay for uniforms, some books and extra-curricular subjects.

Fees for private schooling vary widely. Check fees and other costs with individual education providers.

Hours

Students attend school Monday to Friday - usually from 9.00am to 3.00pm.

Outside school hours care

Many Victorian government schools also provide childcare through before-school care, after-school care and holiday care.

How to find a primary school

Most children attend primary school close to home. For state primary schools, a child is allocated a school in the neighbourhood zone where they live. Neighbourhood schools have an obligation to accept any student who lives in their zone.

If you wish to send your child to a school in a different zone, you have to contact the school directly.

For more information about primary schools in Victoria or to find schools in a particular area visit the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website. 

The My School website enables you to search the profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools. Information on the site has been provided by individual schools and education authorities.

Enrolment

School staff will provide you with the appropriate enrolment forms. Several documents are required to enrol your child, including:

  • evidence of your child's date of birth
  • name and contact details of parents, guardians and emergency contacts
  • Immunisation Status Certification
  • health and welfare information (for example, if your child has asthma, diabetes, allergies, poor eyesight or hearing, specific custody arrangements)
  • information about the language(s) your child speaks and hears (to help the school build on your child's knowledge)

Special needs

The Victorian education system follows a policy of integration, meaning students with special needs attend regular schools and receive assistance. There are also some Government schools that are for students with specific disabilities.

Further information

For information about non-government schools see: