Choosing a Secondary School

Your child will usually go to the secondary school closest to where your family lives, if they are attending a government school. You can choose to send your child to another government secondary school that has a different curriculum or focus, such as music or sport, if there are places available, or a Catholic or independent school.

To make your child's transition from primary to secondary school a happy and positive experience, it is important to choose a school that will best benefit your child’s learning and development.

Keep in mind that some secondary schools need to restrict their enrolments – and the number of students they can take – to a particular area or zone around the school, see: Restrictions and Residential Boundaries

Things to consider

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

Your child's interests and needs

  • Will the school cater for your child's interests and all aspects of their development, including social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs?
  • How does the school support children with additional needs?
  • How important is it to you that your child knows other children at the school?

Your family circumstances

  • Does your family have a connection to a particular school?
  • Do you have older children already attending a secondary school? If so, will your child benefit from going to the same school as their brother or sister?
  • How far do you want your child to travel each day?
  • Are any schools that are close to home and/or your work suitable for your child?
  • What extra curricular activities does the school offer?
  • Does the school offer scholarships? 

School philosophy and organisation

  • Is the school welcoming? You’ll know this as soon as you walk in the door.
  • Does the school have both primary and secondary students (is it a P-12 school)?
  • How many campuses does the school have? Do students move between campuses?
  • Do you agree with, or at least like, the way the school approaches teaching?
  • Does the school’s policy on homework and discipline reflect your own values and expectations?
  • How does the school deal with bullying?


Partnerships and involvement

  • Does the school have active partnerships with other organisations within your community?
  • Does the school have active parent clubs, working groups or fundraising activities?

Finding out about prospective schools

Finding out about a school will give you a better understanding of how comfortable your child might be there. You can start by visiting a school's website or attending a parent information session or open day.

Principals or other school staff can also 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 the fees?
  • What educational programs are offered?
  • What are the teacher's/school's values and philosophies around educating students?
  • How does the school support children with special needs?

Where to go for more information

To find schools within your area: 

  • Find an early childhood service or school – lists all the schools in your area and their contact details, including the school's website address.
  • My school – provides searchable profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools. You can quickly locate statistical and contextual information about schools.

Other resources you could try include: