Types of Government Schools

There are a variety of types of secondary school for you and your child to consider.

As well as the standard Year 7 to 10 secondary school there are Prep to Year 12 (P-12) schools, special schools that cater for children with disabilities, as well as schools that focus on particular learning models and student abilities, such as sports and science schools and selective entry schools for academic high achievers.

Specialist schools

Victoria’s specialist schools include:

  • John Monash Science School - Victoria’s first government specialist secondary school focusing on science, mathematics and associated technologies
  • Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School  – offers high-quality education in the performing arts, dance and music
  • Maribyrnong Secondary College - Victoria’s government sports school has experienced coaches who work alongside state sporting organisations to conduct specialist programs
  • The Alpine School - an intensive, high-quality leadership and enterprise program for small teams of Year 9 students selected from Victorian government schools.

Select entry schools

For information about selective entry schools, see: Selective Entry High Schools

Prep to Year 12 (P–12) schools

P–12 schools offer a unified approach to schooling by combining both primary and secondary school education at the one school, location or campus.

Within a unified curriculum, there is greater potential for schools to offer cross-age tutoring, allow your child to take part in programs designed for students of different ages and also give them access to staff expertise across all years.

At a P–12 school, your child will enjoy continuity in their studies and spend their entire school life in one familiar place.

Special schools

There are many schools for you to consider if your child has a disability. Some schools specialise in one particular disability, while others cater for different types of disabilities.

These special schools include:

  • day special schools
  • special developmental schools
  • schools specialising in physical disabilities
  • schools specialising in autism
  • schools for students with hearing impairments
  • hospital schools (for students with social and emotional disabilities)
  • dual mode schools, combining the roles of day special schools and special developmental schools.

While these special schools vary in the range and level of disabilities they can cater for, all have a common focus of providing a suitable and individual education for your child.

For more information on additional programs and services for children with a disability, see: Students with Disabilities 

Multi-campus schools

Multi-campus schools are made up of several campuses in more than one location, all of which operate under the management of one school council.

Primary schools, secondary schools and P-12 schools can all be multi-campus.

English language schools

English language schools offer intensive English language programs to students who use English as an Additional Language (EAL) at home or who do not use English at home.

English language schools cater for both primary and secondary students up to Year 10. Classes are small and EAL is taught through the content of all learning areas.

The aim of English language schools is to prepare non-English speaking students for entry to move to a mainstream school. Most students attend an English language school for two terms.

For more information on English language schools, see: Student Learning Programs–EAL 

Alternative schools

Alternative schools offer a different philosophical approach to education.

While most are privately run, several Victorian government schools offer both a public and alternative curriculum model for you and your child to choose from. These specialised curriculum approaches in government schools include Steiner, Montessori, Reggio Emilia and the International Baccalaureate Primary and Middle Years programs.

For information on specialised curriculum approaches within government schools, contact the relevant organisation.