Refugee Council of Australia
Information spelt out with hand pointing finger

Information about education for refugees

School

Children have to go to school in Australia when they are about five or six years old and must continue until they are 17 or 18, although this changes depending on where you live. School starts in January and finishes in December.

School education is mostly run by state or territories. There are schools run by government (public schools), and schools run by other organisations (private schools). Most children go to a public school in their area.

Public schools are generally free in Australia for citizens and permanent residents, including those who come to Australia on refugee or humanitarian visas. Children seeking asylum, or who have temporary protection visas, are considered international students, but in all states and territories these people do not need to pay fees to attend public schools.

You can learn more about these different policies in this report.

Read States of refuge (Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project)

You can get more information here depending on where you live.

New South Wales (NSW)

General information about schools

These resources are provided by Department of Education (NSW).

This page explains what you need to know when your child transitions to preschool, primary school and high school.

This page provides information about going to public school, including how to enrol in school, find a school, and other key information such as when school starts.

This tool allows you to find your nearest public school.

This page covers how to enrol in NSW public preschools, primary schools and high schools, designated enrolment areas, forms, general enrolment information.

Help for refugee students

These resources are provided by Department of Education (NSW).

The New Arrivals Program (NAP) provides initial, on-arrival intensive English tuition for newly arrived students at the beginning and emerging levels of English language proficiency. Support is provided to newly arrived students in primary schools, high schools and Intensive English Centres in order to develop their English language skills so that they are able to participate in learning with their peers in mainstream classes.

Intensive English Centres (IECs) and the Intensive English High School (IEHS) provide intensive English tuition to newly arrived, high school aged students whose first language is not English. In addition, the IECs and the IEHS provide orientation, settlement and welfare programs to prepare students for learning in a NSW government high school and to participate in Australian society.

This factsheet is produced by NSW Government. It was published in 22 November 2019.

This factsheet lists the conditions that apply to temporary residents for educational fees in NSW, and makes clear that refugees and people seeking asylum do not have to pay fees.

Victoria

General information about schools

These resources are provided by Department of Education and Training (Vic).

This page includes questions to ask yourself, visit schools, when and how to enrol, moving from year 6 to 7.

This Victorian government website includes parenting information on school aged children. Enrolling and starting school, your child’s learning, services for parents.

This resource is provided by Victorian Government.

This page lets you find your nearest school in Victoria.

Help for refugee students

These resources are provided by Department of Education and Training (Vic).

The New Arrivals Program provides intensive English as an additional language (EAL) tuition. It is designed for newly arrived students from language backgrounds other than English.

This factsheet explains the program that helps families send their children to camps, excursions and other activities. It is also available in other languages.

This page provides i​​​​​nformation and services for families of children living with disability and additional needs.

This factsheet is produced by Victorian Government. It was published in October 2019.

This factsheet sets out the fees payable for overeseas students in Victoria, and makes clear that students from refugee or asylum backgrounds do not have to pay fees.

Queensland

General information about schools

These resources are provided by Queensland Government.

This page explains education facilities in Queensland including Prep, primary, secondary, P–10/12 schools, Queensland Academies, special schools, hospital schools and schools of distance education.

This page provides information about how to choose a school in Queensland.

This page provides information about enrolment forms and details of school enrolment processes are generally published on school websites. Usually, a child can be enrolled a year ahead.

You can use this directory to find a school in Queensland.

Help for refugee students

This resource is provided by Queensland Government.

The refugee program assists schools with refugee students, including those with complex learning, social and psychological needs.

This factsheet is produced by Queensland Government. It was published in 2018.

This schedule lists the fees payable by overseas students in Queensland, and makes clear that people on refugee visas, including temporary protection visas, do not have to pay fees for education in public schools in Queensland.

Read DE International Schedule of Visa Subclasses and Enrolment Conditions

South Australia

General information about schools

This resource is provided by Department for Education (SA).

This provides links including how to enrol, finding a school or preschool, and changing schools.

Help for refugee students

This resource is provided by Government of South Australia.

This page provides information about support for students of non-English speaking backgrounds and their families at schools and new arrivals centres in South Australia.

Western Australia

General information about schools

This resource is provided by Department of Education (WA).

This page provides resources that explain public schooling in Western Australia, including assessment and reporting, support services and how to address your child’s needs.

This resource is provided by Department of Education (WA).

Schools Online is a directory of all public schools in Western Australia.

Help for refugee students

This resource is provided by Department of Education (WA).

The Department of Education provides a range of courses, programs, services and support for school-aged English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) students to engage successfully in public schooling and in the acquisition of Standard Australian English (SAE).

Tasmania

General information about schools

This resource is provided by Department of Education (Tas).

This page explain enrolment in Tasmanian schools.

This factsheet is produced by Department of Education (Tas). It was published in 28 February 2020.

This fact sheet lists the most common visa codes and important information you need to know when enrolling a student on a Temporary Resident visa in a Tasmanian Government School.

Help for refugee students

This page explains how the Tasmanian Government supports children learning English as an additional language or dialect.

Read English as a Additional Language

Northern Territory

General information about schools

These resources are provided by Northern Territory Government.

Schools in the Northern Territory, stages of school, class times, independent public schools, government, non-government schools.

p>This page provides information about schools in the Northern Territory, term dates, getting to and from school, enrolment, curriculum, health and wellbeing.

This provides contact details for government and non-government schools, school performance and enrolment data.

This explains how to enrol your child at school and preschool, documents required, emergency contact details and mature age student criminal record checks.

Help for refugee students

These resources are provided by Northern Territory Government.

This page makes clear that students from a refugee or asylum background do not have to pay fees for public school education in the Northern Territory.

This page provides information on the support for students with English as a second language including intensive English units, English as a second language for Indigenous students and English as a second language in schools.

Australian Capital Territory

General information about schools

These resources are provided by ACT Government.

This provides information about public schools in the ACT.

This page provides information on how to enrol at a public school in the ACT.

Use the ACT Schools Map below to search by home address or by school name to confirm your local school.

Help for refugee students

These resources are provided by ACT Government.

This page provides information on support for students whose first language is a language or dialect other than English (EAL//D students) in the ACT.

This factsheet provides advice to parents whose first language is not English or is a dialect for ACT schools.

It is also available in other languages.

This page explains the education that refugees and people seekng asylum are able to access in the ACT.

Join the movement!

We need you to show our government that Australia cares about refugees. Help us by joining the movement so we can protect refugees, not punish them.

Find what you want

  • Category

  • Topic