What you should know about boarding schools in Australia

Generally, school education in Australia, including nursery school, is of 13 years’ duration, although this can differ in some states. School education is subdivided into nursery school, primary school and secondary school.

The school year in Australia is divided into 4 terms (the exception to this rule being Tasmania with 3 terms), and begins at the end of January/beginning of February. The school year ends with 7-week summer holidays in December. The exact dates, however, vary from state to state. Boarding schools are closed during the term holidays.

Types of boarding schools in Australia

The following types of boarding school are to be found in Australia :

All Boarding
At these schools all pupils live and study on the campus.

Boarding-Day Schools
The majority of pupils study and live within the school complex. Some day pupils commute from the neighbourhood and nearby towns.

Military Schools
These schools are organised along military lines, mostly insist that uniform be worn and educate very strictly.

Junior Boarding Schools
Junior Boarding Schools accept pupils from classes 1 to 8. Normally 6th to 8th graders study and live in these boarding schools.

Co-educational Schools
These schools take both girls and boys.

Boys Schools
As the name implies, only male pupils are accepted at boys’ schools.

Girls Schools
These schools only accept female applicants.

Pre-Professional Arts Schools
Pre-professional arts schools teach artistic subjects such as music, painting, theatre, ballet and creative writing. Pupils are prepared for entry to traditional colleges or specialist academies of music.

Religious Schools
These schools adhere to a specific religion and normally require their applicants to belong to this particular denomination.

Admission and Language Abilities

As a prerequisite for boarding school entrance, special admission tests and language certificates may be required. The school’s registrar will supply information about particular admission tests.

Depending on the boarding school the “Secondary School Admission Test“ (SSAT) or “Independent School Entrance Examination“ (ISEE) may be required. International pupils may have to prove their English language abilities by means of the "Secondary Level English Proficiency Test" (SLEP) or the "Test of English as a Foreign Language" (TOEFL).


There are various types of financing available. The possibilities are particularly dependent on the country and boarding school. Generally the parent or legal guardian is responsible for the primary education of their child. However, every school offers various modes of support, which must be assessed per individual case.

Payment Programs
School fee payment programmes are not loans. Instead they allow parents to split up school fees into various single instalments. The exact conditions must be individually negotiated. A list of payment programmes can be obtained from the bursar of the respective school. You can then choose the appropriate payment method.

Tuition Loan Programs
Families who are not in the position to finance a boarding school stay can still send their children to private schools by means of special loan programmes. With the help of such financing schemes, school fees are spread over a pre-stipulated period of time. Many such loans, if not all, are based on credit status and set different scales of creditworthiness.The schools’ financial aid offices can supply a list of reputable lenders, from whom the most suitable may be selected.

Further information about boarding schools in Australia can be obtained from the Australian Boarding Staff Association:

Australian Boarding Staff Association
PO Box 279
Virginia 4014

Tel: +61 7 3865 0523
Fax: +61 7 3865 0158


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