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Adelaide - Education and Schools

One point to note about education in Australia is that many Australian schools welcome international students. Students from all over the world flock to Australian schools, and Australian schools in turn, do cater to the specialized needs of international students, be it additional hours of English Language classes, or cultural immersion programs.

In particular, Adelaide has been the choice destination for many international students, so expatriates with school-going children will find a variety of attractive school options available in Adelaide. Compared with other Australian cities, Adelaide has the highest number of schools offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. In total, some 18 private and 28 public schools in South Australia have adopted the IB program. Many of the schools are private schools, some are boarding schools, and some are co-ed, some are single-sex schools.

Expatriates with young (non-school going) children can choose from a variety of child-care services. Playgroup SA (Tel : 1800 17 1882; email : organizes regular playgroup sessions for parents with young children. There are over 515 playgroups throughout the state of South Australia. You can find out more about the schedules and events organized by this not-for-profit organization at their website at

As with other Australian states, it is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16 to be in school during school hours. Primary school hours in Adelaide public schools start at 8:45am and end at around 3:15pm. Secondary / High schools start at 830am and end at 330pm. There are 4 terms in each academic year, and each term stretches for 10 weeks. There is usually a break between terms, with the longest break in the summer months (mid December to end January).

Expatriates, especially those moving from one Australian state to another, would want to note that education in Australia is governed by the individual states. This means that funding for schools and regulation of schools occur at the state-level, as opposed to the national level. Hence, certain restrictions or regulations in one state may or may not apply in another state. At the time of writing, students in high schools (or secondary schools) in South Australia sit for the state-level examinations in order to receive the South Australian Certification of Education (SACE). The curriculum adopted by schools in South Australia, including the SACE certification, is undergoing changes in year 2010. For the latest information on the changes to curriculum that will affect all schools in South Australia, visit the Department of Education and Children Services website at

You can search for schools – primary schools, high schools and child care centres at this same website that is maintained by the Department of Education and Children Services. As with other Australian states, if you wish to send your children to a particular government school, you need to be residing within that school's zone. This rule does not apply to private schools.

When applying for enrolment in schools in South Australia, you may or may not be asked to present your children's health records and immunization certificates. This is unlike the practice in other Australian states, such as NSW, VIC, ACT or TAS.

There is a useful website for international students at with advice on the various programs (from primary school to high school) in South Australia, tuition fee schedules for international students, and instructions on how to apply. There is also a section on schools profile to help you select a school, organized by districts / suburbs. The International Education Services is a section of the Department of Education and Children Services. Their main line is +61 8 8226 3402. The Study In Australia website is another good resource for students and parents looking for information on studying in Australia. This website is available in a number of languages, apart from English.

For students seeking tertiary education, there are three universities located close to Adelaide city, or within Adelaide city itself. The University of South Australia is the largest university in the state, in terms of number of students. Two of their five campuses are located within Adelaide city (City East and City West campuses). The University of Adelaide is Australia's third oldest university. Its main teaching campus is in Adelaide city (North Terrace). Flinders University is located south of Adelaide's CBD in the suburb of Bedford Park.

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