As in most of Australia, children can attend a public school, a Catholic private school, an independent school or an international school in Perth.
Children here tend to start school early, and most attend kindergarten. School attendance is compulsory from age five to 16.
Public schools in Perth
Any child is eligible to attend a public school, regardless of their parents' visa status. That said, the parent's visa status is likely to affect school fees.
Generally speaking, foreigners in the country on a permanent visa are entitled to send their children to public schools in Perth tuition-free. Those in Australia on a temporary visa will likely have to pay an annual tuition fee if they want their child to attend a public school.
School attendance is not strictly based on neighbourhood, but children are almost guaranteed a spot at their local school. This includes expat children, provided their parents are on a permanent visa or qualifying temporary visa.
Area zoning for schools can be strict and spots may be quickly filled up, particularly in popular schools with good reputations. For this reason, parents with a particular school in mind should research school zones thoroughly before deciding where to live – sometimes simply living on a certain side of the street is enough for a child to be categorised as external to the area.
Private and independent schools in Perth
Many of the city's private schools are Catholic. Catholic Education West Australia is the organisation responsible for coordinating the administration, curriculum and policy of these institutions. Although Catholic students from the school’s local area are given preference, non-Catholic students may be admitted if there is space.
Non-Catholic private schools are known as ‘independent schools’, and include organisations of other religions and particular educational philosophies, such as Montessori.
International schools in Perth
With just a handful of international schools available in Perth, parents who wish for their children to continue studying their home curriculum may be out of luck, as all but one of the city's international schools teach the International Baccalaureate. Some language-specific schools are available in Perth, including a number of Japanese schools.
Perth's international schools offer high-quality education, but at considerable cost. In some cases, parents may be able to negotiate an education allowance as part of a relocation package. This kind of financial support can be very helpful, although parents should keep in mind that there may be additional expenses above and beyond school fees, such as uniforms, field trips and textbooks.
Special-needs education in Perth
Students with special needs are well catered for in Perth. The WA Institute for Deaf Education works with the parents of students with hearing impairments to either provide special educational support or even placement in specialist schools. Students with visual impairments or developmental disorders can similarly choose either support in the mainstream schooling system or specialised schools. A list of possible specialist schools and available support can be found on the Department of Education’s website.
Tutors in Perth
Several reputable tutor companies are available in Perth. Students with difficulty in a certain subject or struggling to adjust to a new schooling system can benefit greatly from individual attention. Some excellent tutoring services in Perth are Ace Tutoring and My Tutor.
►For information on recommended family-friendly neighbourhoods, see Areas and Suburbs in Perth
"Most schools in Australia are excellent and there is an underlying pressure for schools to perform well and deliver a great education for the children under their roof. Parent are heavily relied on and are expected to partake in school events, assist in fundraising and any other activities that can make the school a better, more efficient place." Learn more about British expat Lara's experiences in Perth.
"Not too clued-up about schools as I didn’t have school-age kids, but from what I hear from friends with young kids, 99% of public schools are good... Private schools are expensive, but some parents prefer to have their kids study in the private system." Portuguese expat Sami shares her thoughts on living in Perth.
Are you an expat living in Perth?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Perth. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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