Primary school types

Primary school runs from Prep to Year 6 and is attended by children generally aged between 5 and 11.

During these years, your child will grow, learn and become more confident and independent. They will build the foundation for the learning they will continue to do during their lives.

In class, your child will learn essential literacy and numeracy skills and also develop knowledge in subjects including science, history, geography, the arts and physical education.

As well as the standard Prep to Year 6 primary school there are different types that you can consider for your child.

There are Prep–Year 12 (P-12) schools, special schools for children with disabilities, English language schools and alternative schools.

Prep–Year 12 (P–12) schools

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

An integrated curriculum means there is greater potential for schools to offer your child cross-age tutoring, allow them to take part in programs 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 cater for one particular disability, while others specialise in 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 can vary in the range and level of disabilities they can cater for, all have a common focus to provide an appropriate and individual education for your child.

For more information on additional programs and services available if your child has 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 into mainstream education. The majority of students attend an English language school for two terms.

For more information on English as an additional language, see: English as an Additional Language

Students (up to year 12) can study the languages spoken at home and within their communities at a Community Languages School.

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 more information, see: Association of Independent Schools of Victoria

Community Language Schools (CLS)

In community language schools across Victoria:

  • up to 50 different languages are taught
  • around 34,000 students are enrolled annually.

These schools were previously known as after-hours ethnic schools. They are run by incorporated community-based, not-for-profit organisations. Classes are offered after school or on the weekends.

For more information, including a list of accredited community language schools see: Community Language Schools