What is Secondary Education (High School) in Australia?

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High school students studying secondary education are thinking about going to university after year 12.


Australia's secondary education offers strong pathways to tertiary education, delivering a high-quality learning experience.


Students can develop a comprehensive knowledge base with a balanced social life, rich culture, open learning environment, and superior academics.


Explore this post to gain insights into the Australian secondary education system.



1. Secondary Education System (High School) in Australia


In Australia, government and non-government schools offer five to six years of secondary education, depending on the state or territory and length of primary education.


Completing secondary education means finishing twelve years of school in Australia.


Secondary school (High School) starts around year 6 or 7 and has two parts:


  • Secondary School: Takes 3 to 4 years, covering Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.

  • Senior Secondary School: Lasts 2 years, covering Year 11 and Year 12.



Secondary School - (Years 7 to 10)


In Secondary School (Years 7 to 10), you study subjects like economics, math, civics, English, science, business, and geography. Grading is done with percentages, just like in primary school. To apply, submit documents and do a pre-enrollment interview.



Senior Secondary School - (Years 11 and 12)


Senior High School (Years 11 and 12) gets you ready for future studies and work. You keep learning about history, math, science, geography, and English.


You can choose your subjects and difficulty level and even do work-study or vocational training. Grading still uses percentages. To enter, complete an enrollment form, provide documents, and have a pre-enrollment interview.


When you finish Year 12, you get a Senior Secondary Certificate, known by different names in different parts of Australia.



State/Territory Name of Year 12 Certificate
  • Tasmanian Certificate of Education
  • Victorian Certificate of Education
  • Queensland Certificate of Education
Western Australia
  • Western Australian Certificate of Education
South Australia
  • South Australian Certificate of Education
New South Wales
  • Higher School Certificate
Northern Territory
  • Northern Territory Certificate of Education
Australian Capital Territory
  • ACT Senior Secondary Certificate




Certain Aussie schools offer options like the International Baccalaureate (IB) instead of the traditional Year 12 certificate. For details, check out the International Baccalaureate organisation's website.



2. Teaching and Assessment Methods


There are a variety of teaching and assessment methods used in Australian schools. Teaching methods include e-learning, teacher-directed learning, presentations, interactive classrooms, group projects, visual presentations and student research. 


Assessment methods in schools evaluate student outcomes. These may involve group assignments, individual research projects, visual and oral presentations, vodcasts, podcasts and PowerPoint presentations, including other traditional methods like class assignments and tests.


National and state testing programs ensure that education standards are met and maintained. 



3. Entry Requirements


The entry requirement for secondary education in Australia varies, depending on the schools and state or territory you’ll be studying in. The application process considers your academic performance, extracurricular achievements, sporting abilities and more.



4. Average Secondary Education Costs


The average secondary school tuition fees for international students may range between AUD$9,000 to $11,000 and reach up to AUD$30,000 for an elite private school. The tuition fees may include the following service. 


  • Pre-departure information

  • School placement and application processing 

  • Welcome and orientation

  • School term and semester reports 

  • English language support

  • Student support services, including personal and career counselling


It’s important to note that tuition fees may vary depending on the school you choose.


Overall, the Australian school system is one of the best in the world. You’ll receive an excellent education regardless of which school you choose.



5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Is Secondary School The Same as High School in Australia?


Yes. Secondary school is the same as high school and runs for 3 or 4 years, from Year 7 to 10 or Year 8 to 10.



What is Class 11 and 12 Called in Australia?


The School education in Australia is divided into three parts:


School Education Duration Year
Primary school 7 or 8 years Kindergarten through to
Year 6 or Year 7
Secondary school /High school 3 or 4 years From Years 7 to 10 or
Years 8 to 10
Senior secondary school 2 years Year 11 and Year 12


So, class 11 and class 12 come under Senior Secondary School in Australia.



What Age Is Secondary Education in Australia?


Secondary school in Australia typically encompasses Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.


Year Student’s Age
Year 7 Between 12 and 13 years
Year 8 Between 13 and 14 years
Year 9 Between 14 and 15 years
Year 10 Between 15 and 16 years



What is The Australian Year 12 Qualification?


In Australia, the final year of secondary education, known as Year 12 or twelfth grade, is referred to as the Senior secondary qualification. During this year, the majority of students strive to achieve an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank).



What is The Year 12 exam Called in Australia?


Students who complete an Australian Year 12 qualification are admitted to tertiary courses depending on their selection rank or ATAR.


For each course, the University Admission Centre (UAC) publishes the lowest ATAR and the lowest selection rank that changes from year to year based on the following:


  • The number of students applying for the course

  • The quality of students applying for the course 

  • The number of seats available for the course


Besides ATAR, some universities also consider a few more parameters during the selection process, such as:


  • Bonus points

  • A personal statement

  • A work portfolio

  • A questionnaire

  • An audition

  • A screening test or an interview 


All of these are considered together with your selection rank to determine your eligibility for the course.



Is There Grade 13 in Australia?


In the past, some Australian states had a program called "Year 13" available to students in specific situations:


  • Students who wanted to extend their year 12 qualification over two years.

  • Students who did not achieve satisfactory grades to obtain their year 12 qualification in their first attempt.


However, in 2020, Dan Tehan, the federal education minister, announced that Year 13 and mass repeating for Year 12 students would no longer be offered.


Useful Topics to Explore:

⇒ Types of Education in Australia
⇒ Public and Private High Schools in Australia
⇒ Australian Grading System Explained: A Complete Guide
⇒ Top 14 Courses That Can Lead to PR in Australia 
⇒ Top 18 Ways To Make Money Online In Australia
⇒ Top 24 + Student Discounts in Australia
⇒ Higher Education - Undergraduate Level
⇒ Higher Education - Postgraduate Level
⇒ Foundation Courses
⇒ Study Abroad & Student Exchange
⇒ Online & Distance Education

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