School years

Find out about moving from child care to primary and then secondary school.

Getting started with school

School education is similar all around Australia. There are only minor differences between states and territories. Primary and secondary school are compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16.

School education is for 13 years, divided into:

  • primary school for 7 or 8 years, from kindergarten or preschool to year 6 or 7
  • secondary school for 3 to 4 years - years 7 to 10 or years 8 to 10
  • senior secondary school for 2 years - years 11 and 12.

Primary school

To start primary school, your child must be the compulsory starting age for your state or territory. You’ll need to contact your chosen school to find out how to enrol.

Your child must be at school by the time they reach the compulsory school starting age.

During primary school, we may be able to help with care outside of school hours.

If you need before or after school care

You may be able to get Child Care Subsidy to help with before and after school care. You may also be able to get it if you use vacation care during school holidays.

Secondary school

You’ll need to contact your chosen school to find out how to enrol.

Secondary school students and their families may be able to claim payments from us.

Payments for students

Payments will depend on the student’s situation. These may include:

What other payments you can get

Depending on your child’s age, you may be eligible for:

If you get FTB or CCS, it’s important to update your family income estimate.

What you can do online

The easiest way to update your income estimate is online. Use your Centrelink online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

For help, use our guide to update your family income estimate and payment choice.

You can also:

  • claim and manage CCS, FTB and other payments
  • confirm child care enrolment so you don’t miss out on CCS
  • update your child's education details.

Read the guide to update your child's education details for FTB.

Use your Medicare online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app to get an immunisation history statement.

If you don’t have a myGov account you can create one. If you don’t have a Centrelink online account, you can get one by linking Centrelink to myGov.

If your child has disability or extra needs

Our Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme can help if your child can’t attend their local government school. This can be because of disability, special needs or living in an isolated area.

Child Disability Assistance Payment is a yearly payment. It helps with the costs of caring for a child with disability.

Carer Adjustment Payment is a one-off payment. You may get it if your child is under 7 and has:

  • a severe illness
  • a medical condition
  • major disability.

Carer Payment is income support if you give constant care to a child with a severe disability or illness.

Carer Allowance is a supplement you may be able to get if you get Carer Payment.

Help managing your money

Your children's education could be one of your family's biggest expenses. We have tips and information on how to plan and manage your family’s money.

Page last updated: 14 December 2021