The three main education providers are the Territory Government (151 schools), Catholic Education (15) and the Independent schools sector (20). Government schools are often called State Schools or Public Schools. Non-government schools are usually called Private schools.
Most Private schools have a religious affiliation, but some are non-denominational. All Northern Territory Government schools are non-denominational.
All Northern Territory Schools are co-educational, apart from one Catholic Boys Secondary school.
Northern Territory school children have one (non-compulsory) Pre-school year followed by a (non-compulsory) Transition Year; seven years in Primary school (Year 1 to 7); two years in Middle School (year 8 and 9) and three years in Senior school (Years 10 -12). There are a few Primary and Secondary schools in the same campus in the Government and Private sector (combined schools), but most are separate Primary or Secondary.
Children must turn five by June 30 in the Transition Year to start at the beginning of the year, but there are staggered intakes at beginning of each term of children who turn five later in the year and want to start. All children in NT must start school by their sixth birthday and remain in school until they turn 15.
There is an emphasis on eight Key Learning Areas from Transition to Year 10 in Northern Territory schools: English; Mathematics; Design and Technology; Studies of Society and the Environment (SOSE); Languages Other Than English (LOTE); Science; The Arts; and Health and Physical Education.
The Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE) is awarded to students who successfully complete their senior secondary education. Students can opt to undertake Vocational Education Training (VET) courses in Senior years. VET courses include practical and hands-on experience study in areas such as trades, hospitality and IT. The NTCE score can be translated to meet Tertiary Entry requirements at universities in any State in Australia. Some VET courses can help gain a place at a university, as well as getting an industry qualification at the same time.
Language subjects are called Languages Other Than English (LOTE). Studying one or more languages is part of the school curriculum.
Some schools offer facilities and courses that cater to students talented in a particular area. There is a specialist Agriculture school in the Northern Territory. Some schools offer Accelerated Learning programs for students who are able to learn more quickly.
Many Independent and Catholic schools offer scholarships to students for academic excellence and some schools offer scholarships to students who display excellence in other areas.
There are no academically selective schools in the Northern Territory.
There are Special Needs Schools for children with disabilities in the Government sector in Northern Territory. Some mainstream schools have programs for Special Needs students on their campuses.
Schools with an alternative philosophical approach to education, such as Steiner or Montessori are all Private schools in the Northern Territory.
The Education department provides education for students in remote areas or those unable to attend school. Students can also do Distance Education in subjects not offered at their school.
There are Boarding schools in the Private school sector at Primary and Secondary level. There is a Government Residential College for students from remote areas in Katherine.
International students can study in a variety of schools in the Northern Territory.
Most schools expect students to wear uniforms. Uniforms are usually unique to the school.
There are four school terms in Northern Territory schools, with the main holidays over the summer Christmas period. All Government schools follow an annually determined set of term dates. Private school term dates can vary a little a little from these and from each other.