The Victorian school system is comprised of government schools (also known as public schools) and private schools, a large portion of which are Catholic, with the rest being classified as independent. School education is compulsory in the State of Victoria and public schools are free for Australian citizens and permanent residents, although schools are able to charge a contribution fee and materials and services charge.

Public schools can be divided into two categories: open entry and selective schools. Open entry schools must accept all students from their government-defined catchment areas, whereas selective schools admit students on the basis of certain selection criteria, usually academic.

Public Schools

  • Supervised by the Department of Education and Training (DET), and given powers by the Victorian State Government
  • Largely funded by State Government, with a smaller proportion being funded by the Federal Government
  • May be zoned or have a designated ‘catchment area.’ This dictates that students enrolled in the school must live within certain residential boundaries
  • Unable to refuse a student based on ethnicity and/or religion
  • Defined curriculum
  • 71% of all schools in Australia are government

Private Schools

  • Privately owned and operated
  • Funded by parents, federal and state government
  • School fees can vary, but may cost up to $40,000 a year
  • Fees do not always include extra activities such as excursions and school camps
  • Potentially demanding entry criteria such as exams and interviews
  • Allowed to choose students based on religion

Selective Entry schools

  • Government funded and operated
  • Competitive entrance exam
  • Cater to gifted and talented students
  • Year 9 – 12 only
  • Principal’s discretionary and equity places
  • 5% rule applies
Public Schools Private Schools Selective Entry schools
Scholarship
Accelerated Learning
High Achiever Programmes
Selective Entry

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