Education within Western Australia is world class and is reflected by the fact it is our second largest export (by value) for the State.
Three levels of education are adopted within the State, commencing with the K-12 programs. The vocational education training stage follows. This is not compulsory and gives students the opportunity to further their skills and knowledge at a specialised college or training centre, or work-based learning. Higher education then can be undertaken at a university for degree-level, masters or doctoral qualifications.
There are five universities and more than 1000 schools and colleges in Western Australia. The State’s education system attracts more than 20,000 foreign students a year.
The education system in Western Australia comprises government and private schools, with a wide choice of specialities. There are co-educational and single-gender schools, schools with a particular religious focus, and schools providing specialty programs such as music, sport and vocational training.
There are about 300 non-government schools in Western Australia, ranging from kindergartens and small community schools, to exclusive high-fee, private schools. Approximately 70 per cent of students in Western Australia attend government schools and 30 per cent attend private or independent schools.
Education is compulsory from the year in which children turn six to the end of the school year in which they are 15. Primary school commences at year one, with children aged from five and a half eligible to attend and concludes at year seven. Non-compulsory pre-school is available for two years prior to primary school, with programs offered through government and private schools and privately operated child care centres.
The secondary school system begins at year eight and runs through to year 12. Students can also select from a wide range of vocational subjects. Performance is assessed internally by the school and students who meet the requirements for graduation receive the Western Australian Certificate of Education. Students can pursue their area of qualification through university, or a technical and further education college. StateTraining Providers and private registered training organisations throughout the State offer advice, support and training.
The school year commences in February and is divided into four terms. There is usually a two week break between the first three terms and a seven week break over Christmas. School hours vary between schools and from primary to secondary classes. In Perth classes begin between 8.30am and 9.00am and finish between 3.00pm and 3.30pm. Generally, schools allow for a 15 to 20 minute break mid morning and mid afternoon and a 45 minute lunch break around midday.
The cost of attending a Government school is about $250 per year, while the cost of attending a private school can be as low as $1350, rising to around $10,500 per year.
There are five excellent universities in Western Australia. Each university offers its own diverse programme of courses and topics to study. Many attendees of Western Australian Universities have gone on to win awards within various areas of technology, health, education and commerce.
Curtin University of Technology
Perth, Western Australia 6102
Phone: (08) 9266 9266
Edith Cowan University
270 Joondalup Drive
Joondalup, Western Australia 6027
Phone: 134 328
Murdoch, Western Australia
Phone: (08) 9360 6000
Notre Dame University
19 Mouat St
Fremantle, Western Australia 6959
Phone: (08) 9433 0555
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Nedlands, Western Australia 6009
Phone (08) 6488 6000
Training in any industry area, at any age, for any qualification is certainly possible in Western Australia. With dedicated areas specialising in specific training needs and requirements you should be able to find what you are looking for in training needs.
Search the various courses offered through Registered Training Providers, State Training Providers and even specialised individual companies. Full-time or part-time training, on the job training and after hours training (weekends etc.) are all available.
Training whilst you work is greatly supported within Western Australia. There may also be training grants and benefits available to support you in doing this.
Detailed information on ways you can train and how to update your career within Western Australia can be found at the Training WA website.
Selecting a School
Selecting the most appropriate school is based on the personal needs of the child and family. A major decision is whether to enrol in a government or non-government school. Many factors influence this decision including cost, religion, culture and academic or sporting talents of students.
There are no restrictions regarding attending a government school in any area. However, enrolments at government schools outside your residential boundaries are subject to availability of student places.
School selection will be one of the major decisions made in the location process for migrants. It will have considerable influence over where to live, therefore warrants some research before settling into permanent accommodation.
To find the public schools in the area you are considered relocating to, use the search facility at the Department of Education website.
Young children aged up to 5 years old can be cared for in childcare.
Western Australia's main types of childcare are:
- private childcare centres;
community childcare centres (not-for-profit centres);
family day care - up to four pre-school children are cared for by a carer in the carer's own home;
in-home care - where children are cared for in their own home by a carer such as a nanny or au pair.
In addition to childcare, there are centres that offer playgroups for parents who want to stay with their child while they socialise with other children.
Private and community centre-based care
Private and community based centres are run by qualified staff and are usually open Monday to Friday from 7.00am - 8.00am and close around 6.00pm. All centres must be licensed and are carefully regulated in Western Australia, with strict rules on:
- the number of children in attendance;
running and maintaining centres and;
the quality of care and food provided.
You will need to arrange enrolment directly with the childcare centre. Waiting lists are common due to high demand, so it is important to register as soon as possible. For a listing of Western Australia’s childcare centres, visit the My Child website.
Family day care is care available for children aged from six weeks in their own home. The carers must have a qualification in childcare and need to be licensed like childcare centres. They must be trained in first aid and have undergone the ‘Working with Children’ check and have a ‘National Police Clearance’ check. A maximum of four pre-school age children can be cared for at one time. This service is coordinated by local councils, or private organisations that monitor the quality of care provided.
Nannies are usually supplied by specialist agencies listed in the Yellow Pages. The agency should provide you with references for the nanny they are recommending and you should check these.
The table below shows typical childcare costs:
|Centre based childcare
$60 to $100 dollars per day.
|Family day care
$6.00 to $8.00 per hour.
$15 to $25 per hour (when they live in your home)
$15 to $35 per hour (when they live elsewhere)
|Au pairs (living in your home)
$80 to $120 per week & their living costs.
The Commonwealth Government pays part of the cost of some childcare through the Child Care Benefit, provided by Centrelink, the Government agency that issues social security payments in Australia. For more information about the Child Care Benefit, visit the Centrelink website.
Families also receive a rebate of up to 50 per cent of their out of pocket childcare costs (that is, the cost they pay after the Child Care Benefit has been taken out) from the Commonwealth Government. For more information, visit the Family Assistance Office website.
How to find local childcare
The Commonwealth Government offers a website which enables you to search for approved child care within your local area. Use the facility here to find the nearest child care provider to you. The list may also be able to help you with information.