Types of school

This page gives an overview of the different types of schools in Victoria.

Government schools

Your child will usually go to the government school closest to where you live.

These schools can be:

  • A primary school, which is prep year to year 6. Generally children between 5 and 11 years old will go to primary school.
  • A secondary school, which is years 7 to 10. Most secondary schools also include years 11 and 12 to prepare for tertiary study.
  • A P-12 school, which combines primary and secondary at the same location. Students spend their whole school life in one familiar place.

Non-government schools

These schools are sometimes called private schools, independent schools or Catholic schools. They are not part of the government system and have their own enrolment process and costs.

You can learn more from the Catholic Education Office and Independent Schools Victoria.

You can get advice on choosing a non-government school from the Victorian Parents Council.

Language schools

English language schools teach students who are learning English as an additional language.

Community language schools teach languages outside normal school hours. Programs are available to students from prep to year 12, depending on language. These schools allow students to maintain their heritage language.

Specialist schools

These schools specialise in subject, or specialise in teaching students with disability.

Selective entry high schools

These are schools for high-achieving students in years 9 to 12. They accept students through a competitive entrance exam. Read about how to apply to a selective entry high school.

Distance education

These programs are for students who can't attend regular classes. This may be because of:

  • illness
  • distance to the nearest school
  • the student finding school difficult.

Teachers run online lessons and may send materials through the mail.

There are certain eligibility requirements to do distance education. Contact the Virtual School Victoria for more information.

Home schooling

Home schooling is where you take on responsibility for teaching your child. It's an alternative to your child going to a school. There are certain requirements if you choose to home school. Read what you need to do to home school.

Find and enrol in a school

You can search online for schools in your area.

Learn how to choose and enrol in a government school.