The three main education providers are the State Government (605 schools), Catholic Education (106 schools) and the Independent sector (94 schools). Government schools are often called State Schools or Public Schools. Non-government schools are often called Private Schools.
Most Private schools have a religious affiliation, but some are non-denominational. All South Australian State schools are non-denominational.
In the Private sector there are co-educational and single-sex schools at Primary and at Secondary level. Government schools are all co-educational, with the exception of two girls’ Government Secondary schools.
South Australian schools have one year in Reception; followed by seven years in Primary school; and five years in Secondary school. Not many Government schools have Primary and Secondary schools on the same campus (combined), but some Catholic schools have combined levels, and most Private schools.
Children must be 5 years old to start in Reception in South Australian schools. South Australian children must attend school from 6 to 16 years of age.
Junior Primary Schools are Primary schools that only cater for Reception to Year 2.
This is a term for some schools that are mainly found in country regions, and cater to students from surrounding country areas.
The South Australian school curriculum is organized around eight Learning Areas from Reception to Year 12: English, Health and Physical Education, Languages, Mathematics, Science, Society and the Environment, Design and Technology and the Arts. Individual schools offer a broad range of core and specialised subjects within these Learning Areas. The Early Years, the Junior Years, Middle Years and Senior Years each have educational goals and guidelines.
The SACE is awarded to students who successfully complete their senior secondary education. Students usually complete their SACE over 2 years, but it may take longer.
VET subjects are industry or work-related, such as hospitality or IT. VET units can be credited towards the SACE.
There are Special Needs Schools for children with disabilities in both the Government and Private sector in South Australia. Some general schools also have programs for Special Needs students on their campuses.
There are several schools in South Australia which have an alternative philosophical approach to education, such as Steiner or Montessori. Some are Private and some are Government schools.
Some South Australian schools provide special interest programs for students with talents in particular areas, such as Music, Languages, Agriculture and Sport. There are also schools for Students with High Potential (SHIP).
Many Independent and Catholic schools offer scholarships to students for academic excellence and some may offer scholarships for talents in other areas.
The South Australian government provides Distance education for students in remote areas or those unable to attend school.
There are Boarding schools in the Private school sector at Primary and Secondary level. The State Government also provides funding for the South Australian Rural Student Accommodation Project (SARSAP) which provides hostel style accommodation to students from remote areas.
International students can study in a variety of schools in South Australia.
Most schools expect students to wear uniforms. Uniforms are usually unique to the school.
The school year usually runs from late January to mid December. It is divided into two semesters, with two terms in each and vacation breaks for Easter, winter, spring and summer. All Government schools follow a set of annually determined term dates. Private school term dates can vary a little from the Government schools and from one another.