You have more than your fair share of decisions to make when choosing a school for your child, from its sector, gender and ethos, to some of the more practical considerations like location. For many families, the local school is a natural choice — after all, it’s nice and close and it’s likely that most of your child’s friends will be enrolling there too.
For others, the decision is a little more complex. Perhaps a school further from home has a special academic program, offers sports that your child is interested in or simply outshines your local school.
Here we explain the options for parents considering schools further from home, both in the government and non-government sectors, as well as some of the practical considerations that you will need to think about.
Government schools are separated into zones (or districts) and many require students to live in the local catchment area in order to be granted a place. If you are hoping to enrol your child in a school outside of your zone, it’s best to contact individual schools to discuss some of the practicalities, such as whether the school has enough places to take your child. Some schools may require that you schedule an interview to discuss your reasons for an out-of-area enrolment. It is a very real possibility that government schools outside your zone will reach their enrolment capacity just enrolling students from within their catchment, which is often the case at high-performing government secondary schools.
For more information about government schooling, visit the education department website in your state.
· Australian Capital Territory: Education and Training Directorate
· New South Wales: Department of Education (NSW)
· Northern Territory: Department of Education (NT)
· Queensland: Department of Education and Training (QLD)
· South Australia: Department for Education and Child Development
· Tasmania: Department of Education (TAS)
· Victoria: Department of Education and Training (VIC)
· Western Australia: Department of Education (WA)
Families researching schools in the Catholic and independent sectors often consider those outside of their immediate area. Independent schools do not generally place any restrictions on their enrolment, although many use waiting lists and have enrolment processes that begin much earlier than in government schools. Catholic schools, while not necessarily restricting enrolments based on zones, may take your location into account when considering your child’s enrolment. For example, a student who is Catholic and from the local parish may take preference over one who lives further away. A further consideration is that enrolling your child in a ‘feeder’ primary school may help them to secure enrolment in a particular secondary school.
For more information about Catholic schooling, visit the relevant association website in your state.
· Australian Capital Territory: Catholic Schools NSW/ACT
· New South Wales: Catholic Schools NSW/ACT
· Northern Territory: Catholic Education Office Northern Territory
· Queensland: Queensland Catholic Education Commission
· South Australia: Catholic Education South Australia
· Tasmania: Tasmanian Catholic Education Office
· Victoria: Catholic Education Melbourne
· Western Australia: Catholic Education Western Australia
For more information about independent schooling, visit the relevant association website in your state.
· Australian Capital Territory: Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
· New South Wales: Association of Independent Schools of NSW
· Northern Territory: Association of Independent Schools of the Northern Territory
· Queensland: Independent Schools Queensland
· South Australia: Association of Independent Schools of SA
· Tasmania: Independent Schools Tasmania
· Victoria: Independent Schools Victoria
· Western Australia: Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia
When making this decision, it’s also worth thinking about the following:
For detailed information about your state or territory’s enrolment procedures, visit the relevant Department of Education website.