Schools & Pathways
Canberra’s school system has a national reputation for achieving excellent academic results.
Consisting of 86 ACT Government public schools and over 44 Catholic and independent schools, each school offers a modern, well-equipped and supportive environment with opportunities for intellectual, sporting and cultural development.
Being a safe, friendly and multicultural city, International students are made to feel welcome in Canberra. Our Government school system has developed a range of programs designed to meet individual needs including bridging courses and Intensive English programs for non-English speaking students or students who speak English as a second language.
All placements of international students in Government schools are done through the ACT Government Education and Training Directorate. Permanent residents of Australia are entitled to a free education at Government schools, along with a voluntary contribution to the school. Students holding temporary visas however may be required to pay tuition fees – but you will need to check with individual schools for details. In certain circumstances you can apply for a fee waiver. Non-government schools will charge fees regardless of your visa status and may have a religious affiliation.
Canberra school system
Generally, children attend primary school from age 5 until they are 12 or 13 years old and then attend high school (or ‘secondary school’) until they are 17 or 18 years old. Some colleges (senior secondary schools) take only students in Years 11 and 12 who are preparing for the Year 12 Certificate.
In Australia, the school year begins in late January - early February, with short breaks in April, July and September. The school year finishes just before Christmas, with the long school holidays over the Australian summer in December and January.
ACT Government Schools
The ACT Government’s Education and Training Directorate embraces cultural diversity and provides a caring personalised service to international students with officers on 24 hour call in the event of an emergency.
With one of the best government education systems in the country, most international students who graduate from secondary college in Canberra gain entry into Australian universities.
The Year 11 and 12 college system in Canberra offers international students a serious learning environment, separate from high school, that allows them to focus on preparing themselves for further study after they graduate. The continuous assessment system particularly benefits international students, as there is no major external examination to sit at the end of year 12.
There is also a strong focus on meeting the needs of gifted and talented students with a wide curriculum choice to suit the intellect, interest and capability of every student.
Catholic and Independent schools
The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT) and the Catholic Education Office represent the seventeen independent schools and thirty Catholic schools in the ACT.
Each of these schools has their own guidelines and fee schedule for the enrollment of international students and should be contacted directly for this information.
Pathways to University
For domestic or international students looking for another pathway to university, assistance with certain subjects or support for English language training the ANU College and University of Canberra College may be able to assist.
ANU College (ANUC) is the English language and academic pathway provider for The Australian National University (ANU), Australia’s highest ranked university.
ANUC is committed to excellence and to providing a personal service to international students. ANUC is located in a newly refurbished building on the ANU campus. It is easily accessible by public transport and only a 10-minute walk from the centre of Canberra city. Students choosing to study at ANU College can utilise facilities and services including:
- 17 purpose-built class rooms with ICT facilities over 2 levels
- Self-Directed Learning with computerised language learning software
- wireless network
- comfortable student common room with kitchen facilities
- quiet study and ICT resource areas for students
- various assistance from dedicated student support officers
ANUC is accredited by National ELT Accreditation Scheme, which ensures high standards and best practice. It is also a member of English Australia.
Under ANU College’s competitive academic curriculum, students are equipped with strong academic and research skills to prepare for university studies. ANU College has a high success rate with more than 90 per cent of our Pathway students successfully entering an ANU degree program.
The University of Canberra College
The University of Canberra College specialises in preparing both Australian and International students for study at the University of Canberra.
The College provides programs that will assist students who do not qualify for direct entry to the University of Canberra and will prepare students for study at, and qualify them for, entry to the University. It can also assist students who have gained direct entry to the University but who feel assistance is needed for particular subjects.
The University of Canberra College provides English language and IELTS testing preparation courses.