Finding the right school for your children

There are a number of key factors to consider when choosing the right school for your child. Most families enrol their children into a local school but there are numerous schooling options available.

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Some of the key factors to take into consideration include:

  • School size
  • Class size 
  • School Fees 
  • School special needs assisted programs 
  • After school care facilities  
  • Location of school
  • Distance from home to school 
  • School curriculum from classes K-7
  • School gifted & talented program 
  • LOTE (language other than English)
  • Curriculum  
  • School amenities ie: canteen, sporting facilities.
Which School Magazine WA

Which School Magazine WA




Perth School Information

In Western Australia, age 5 is the first compulsory schooling year.  Public primary schools run from Kindergarten to Year 6, and Year 7 students move to secondary school.

What year will your child be going in to?

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  • Pre-primary is for children turning 5 years old by 30 June of the year they start Pre-primary.
  • Year 1 is for children turning six years old by 30 June of the year they start Year 1.
  • Year 2 is for children turning seven years old by 30 June of the year they start Year 2.
  • Year 3 is for children turning eight years old by 30 June of the year they start Year 3.
  • Year 4 is for children turning nine years old by 30 June of the year they start Year 4.
  • Year 5 is for children turning 10 years old by 30 June of the year they start Year 5.
  • Year 6 is for children turning 11 years old by 30 June of the year they start Year 6.
  • Year 7 is the first year of secondary school in all Western Australian public schools.

About learning

Academically, the main focus in primary school is on literacy and numeracy, so students learn to read, write and understand mathematics.  Many schools have specialist literacy and numeracy programs to help students develop these skills.

At primary school, student's learning covers eight broad areas: English, mathematics, science, society and environment, technology and enterprise, languages, the arts, and health and physical education.

Primary school teachers are trained to inspire, motivate and build confidence in students. They work closely with parents to ensure each child thrives at school. Teachers keep parents updated on their children’s progress, both informally and formally through school reporting processes.

Due to a high demand for places in Western Australian Public Schools, your first preference may not be available.  Application Form Public School

What you will need to enrol your child into a government school

In 2013  the State Government made Pre-Primary compulsory, which means a guaranteed place for your child at a local school.   To enrol your child at the majority of Perth schools, you will need to live within the catchment area and  present  relevant documentation.  When travelling from your place or origin, we recommend that you carry all documentation so that you can enrol your child into school on arrival.  For more information about immunisation, go to The Department of Education.  Following is a list of documents that you will require:

Two documents providing proof of address:

  • utility accounts including telephone, gas or electricity 
  • current lease agreement 
  • immunisation records 
  • previous school reports 
  • birth certificate 
  • if applicable, a court order or documentation showing the enrolling adult is the legal guardian.

If your child was not born in Australia you must provide:

  • evidence of the date of entry into Australia 
  • passport or travel documents 
  • current visas and previous visas (if applicable)
  • When enrolling a child it is preferable that you make an appointment with the enrolment officer at the school.

Catchment zones for public schools


The majority of Perth government schools will only accept students within the nominated catchment area and these students will take priority along with those who have siblings at the school. This may vary from suburb to suburb dependant on availability.  
For more information and to find public schools in your area please visit

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Child Care Facilities

There are numerous day-care centres throughout Perth.  They usually operate from the hours of 6am to 6pm.  This enables parents to enrol their child into half day or full day care.  Many centres also offer before and after school care at an extra charge.

Fees start from approximately $75+ per full day. Depending on your income, you may also be eligible for Child Care Benefit (CCB).  This is calculated on your joint income and the government pays a percentage of the day-care fees. If you are eligible for CCB (even if you do not actually qualify for any financial assistance), there is also a rebate system in place where you will receive back 50% of all the fees you have paid. To get more information visit the Family Assist website.

Family Day Care is another child care option available to parents, whereby registered carers provide child care in the carer's home to a smaller number of children (up to a maximum of four at any time).  Government assistance with fees also applies to child care with registered Family Day Carers. 

Increased hours for Kindergarten

All students starting Kindergarten are now entitled to 15 hours of education per week, dependent on the school.  This may be split out in different ways, for example: 3 full days one week and 2 full days the following week, or 2 and a half days every week. 

Every school is different so please speak directly to the school of your choice to find out their kindergarten day options. 

All government kindy programs are free.  Depending on your employment situation you may have to look at the before and after school care option. Private schools also offer schooling at kindy age, where tuition fees will be applicable.

Three year old Kindergarten

A number of child care centres and private schools offer a pre-kindergarten program for those children not yet old enough to start kindergarten, known as 'three-year-old kindy.'  The details of the programs offered differ with each provider, although parents can usually book their child in for one or more days each week.  

If run by a registered child care facility, the costs are the same as attending child care for a full day, and the government rebate also applies. 

If run by a school, there is no government rebate and parents meet the full costs.  These are around $50-$75 per day and are only open during the school hours of 9am-3pm.    

Public School Fees

Although there are no fees for your children to attend government schools, you are required to buy their school books and stationery for the year, and you are also asked to make a ‘voluntary’ contribution.

Private School Fees

Private school fees range from approx. $2000 a year to $35,000.  Almost all of the private schools have extensive waiting lists, however some schools do make allowances for students moving from overseas.   Some private and secondary schools offer scholarships for students specialising in subjects such as music, art and sport.

For a list of Private Schools - Boys

For a list of Private Schools - Girls

School fees for visa holders

The Western Australian Government has introduced a tuition fee for families on 457 Visas (temporary skilled workers) whose children attend public schools in this State. The fee is $4,000 per family each year, regardless of the number of children a family have enrolled in public schools.

This information is intended for Student Visa holders (subclass 571).  If you hold another visa, please refer to Dependants of 457 Visa Holders or Dependants of Other Visa Holders.

Compare School Fees



Uniforms in all government schools  are compulsory and costs will vary depending on the particular items of uniform you purchase.          

Western Australia School Term Dates

Term dates for primary and secondary students in public schools in Western Australia (all dates are inclusive).
Independent Public Schools should be contacted directly for advice on school development days and term dates


Schools may vary their back to school days for pupil-free service days - please contact your school for confirmation. 

Better Education - School Rankings

There are a large range of factors that impact on academic results in addition to the role played by the school itself. These include the SES (Socio Economic Status) background of students, whether the school is selective in its student intake, etc. It is for the reader to do his own research and draw his or her own conclusions. 

Better Education Australia provides primary and high school ranking information based on academic results including: 

  • Median VCE score
  • Percentage of VCE Scores of 40 and over
  • Percentage of HSC exams sat that achieved a DA (Distinguished Achievers)
  • Number of HSC all rounders
  • Number of top achievers in HSC
  • Number of First Place achievers in HSC
  • NAPLAN test results
  • Median ATAR score and percentage of TES eligible students with a ATAR >= 65
  • Percentage of OP/IBD students who received an OP 1 to 15 or an IBD
  • Percentage of Stage 3 course enrolments in the school where a WACE course score of 75 or above was achieved
  • Percentage of Stage 3 course enrolments in the school where a WACE course score of 65 or above was achieved
  • Best schools by course in Western Australia (WA)
  • Percentage of students in the state's top 1%, 5%, 10% and 20% measured by ATAR. (See Private School Ranking | Catholic School Ranking | Selective School Ranking | Public School Ranking)

Abbreviations Meanings

NAPLAN - National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy. The first NAPLAN tests were held in May 2008 for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in Australia. For the first time, students were assessed on the same test items in the domains of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) and Numeracy. Before 2008, students had undertaken different tests in each state and territory. The average score is 500. The spread of scores has been set so that just over two-thirds of students' scores lie between 400 and 600.    

ATAR - Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. ATAR has replaced ENTER, UAI , TER. See more details in the next post.

ENTER - The Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank is the percentile ranking based on an applicant's VCE study scores which reflects their performance relative to all other VCE students. VCE results are reported in intervals of 0.05 from 99.95 (ie 99.95, 99.90 etc). Students cannot achieve 100 as they are part of that population and cannot outperform themselves.

UAI - The Universities Admission Index is used by universities across Australia for student selection. UAIs represent a rank order of students based on achievement in a specified number of courses and are reported in intervals of 0.05 from 100 (ie 100, 99.95, 99.90 etc). ACT UAIs are equivalent to those in NSW.

TER - The Tertiary Entrance Rank is identical to the ENTER in Victoria, and the UAI in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It is used in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia. 

OP - The Overall Position (OP) is a tertiary entrance rank used in Queensland. Instead of being a percentile rank (0.00 - 99.95) like the other state TERs, the OP is a number from 1 to 25, where 1 is the highest and 25 is the lowest. An OP is a student's state-wide rank based on overall achievement in QSA-approved subjects. It indicates how well the student has done in comparison to all other OP-eligible students in Queensland.

DA - (Distinguished Achievers)

SES (Socio Economic Status)

Students are placed in one of 25 OP bands. The approximate distribution of students across the bands is shown below. For example, in order to achieve an OP1, a student's achievement must be in the top 2% of OP-eligible students in Queensland.

Approximate distribution of students across OP bands:

Band 1 – about 2% of students 
Bands 2  to 6 - about 19% of students 
Bands 7  to 21 -  about 73% of students 
Bands 22 to 24 - about 5% of students 
Band 25 - about 1%  of students 

ENTER, TER, and UAI are equivalent, ie. the ENTER which is only used in Victoria is identical and equivalent to UAI used in NSW and the ACT, and to the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) used in SA, NT, TAS and WA. The Overall Position (OP) used by Queensland is different, but conversion tables are published each year to convert the OP to or from an ENTER/TER/UAI. For example, an ENTER of 90.00 from Victoria will indicate a sufficiently similar degree of attainment as a UAI of 90.00 from New South Wales

What's the difference between ENTER and UAI?

  1. The ENTER perfect score is 99.95 while UAI perfect score is 100. In Victoria, there are about 20 to 30 students who got this perfect score. Because of the size of the group only one student receives UAI 100 in the ACT.
  2. UAI is not directly equivalent to a percentile rank among those who completed year 12.  A UAI of 90 is not equivalent to placing in the top 10% of the state. The TER, the UAI's predecessor, was different because it defined the student population as only students in year 12. The UAI attempts to rank students who did not progress to their senior years of High School by estimating what they would have obtained. Hence the rank is kept consistent throughout the years despite varying year 10 drop-out rates as the rank is always measured relative to a year 10 cohort, with the ranks of the drop-outs being estimated.


IBD - International Baccalaureate Diploma.
TES - Tertiary Entrance Statements.
TEE subject - a subject for which there is an external examination. Scaled marks from these subjects can be used to gain a tertiary entrance rank (TER).
VCE - Victorian Certificate of Education
HSC - Higher School Certificate
QCE - Queensland Certificate of Education
WACE - Western Australian Certificate of Education
SACE - South Australian Certificate of Education
NTCE - Northern Territory Certificate of Education
TCE - Tasmanian Certificate of Education

Australian State Abbreviations

NSW New South Wales
NT – Northern Territory
WA – Western Australia
SA – South Australia
VIC – Victoria
TAS – Tasmania
QLD – Queensland

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