Choosing a primary school

Your child will usually go to the primary school closest to where your family lives, if they are attending a government school. You can choose to send your child to a different government primary school if they have places available, or to a Catholic or independent school.

To make your child’s transition from kindergarten to primary school a happy and positive experience, it is important to consider which school will best benefit your child’s learning and development.

Keep in mind that some primary schools need to restrict their enrolments – and the number of students they can take – to a particular area or zone around the school.

Things to consider

When choosing a primary school for your child, you will need to think about your family circumstances and needs. For example:

  • How far do you want to travel and is the school reasonably close to home and/or work?
  • Will the school be able to cater for your child’s needs and interests?
  • What facilities do they offer and are you comfortable with the ‘feel’ of the school?
  • Will the teachers and the school curriculum support all aspects of your child’s development, including social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs?
  • Does the school’s policy on homework and discipline reflect your own values and expectations?
  • Does the school work in partnership with families?

For more information about a particular school, the Victorian Government School Performance Summary gives a clear overview of how Victorian government schools are performing. The Performance Summary is now included in every schools’ annual report, which are available on the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) website. Search for an education provider on the State Register

For more information on the Victorian Government School Performance Summary, see: School reports

For information about the restrictions some schools have on enrolment numbers, see: Restrictions and boundaries

Things to look for when you visit

You should visit your local primary school and any others that you are considering before you enrol your child. Make contact well before your child is due to start to allow time to visit a number of prospective schools.

Principals or other school staff can provide tours, classroom visits and information about their school. Most schools welcome enquiries and will organise a time for you and your child to visit.

Consider asking these questions:

  • Are there places available?
  • What are the fees? Are there any other costs I’ll be asked to pay over and above these fees?
  • What educational programs are offered?
  • What are the teacher’s/school’s values and philosophies around educating their students?
  • How does the school support children with additional needs?
  • What is the process if my child is unwell, upset, or unsettled?

School programs for new Primary school students

Child care centres or kindergartens will often arrange visits to local primary schools so that your child can get to know their new environment.

Most schools also run a starting school program for children entering Prep and some schools set up buddy systems with older children so that your child will feel welcome.