Public or private
South Australia has both public (goverment) and private schools. Public schools are non-denominational and admission is based on zoning rules. Public schools are co-ed (with the exception of two all girl high schools).
Private schools in Adelaide fall into two categories: Catholic and Independent. Independent schools may be of a different religious denomination or have no religious affiliation. Private schools set their own fee structure so are more expensive than public schools.
Which type of school provides the best education will remain a hotly debated topic. For most people, whether you send your kids to a private or public school will depend on a range of factors such as personal preference, location, financial situation, special interests or the child’s abilities or needs.
Zoning laws effect all South Australian public secondary schools and some primary schools. Each school covers a residential zone meaning that all students residing within the zone must attend that particular school. Students can apply to enrol at a different school if it has places available, but acceptance is not guaranteed.
To check zones for high schools: http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/locs/pages/default/hszoning/
To check zones for primary schools: http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/locs/pages/default/pszoning/
Primary schools cover education from Reception to Year 7. Children can start school as soon as they are 5 and legally must be attending school by the time they are 6.
Secondary school, or high school, covers year 8 – year 12.
The school term
The school year is divided into four terms called, unsurprisingly, terms 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each term is roughly 10 weeks with a 2 week break in between. There is a longer break between term 4 finishing in December and the start of term 1 in the new year. Term 1 begins at the end of January so kids will get about a 6 week break between school years.