Education in South Australia


In South Australia, the school year begins in late January and is divided into four terms of approximately ten weeks. Most children usually attend four terms of preschool and then begin school in Reception when they are five. Reception is the name given to the first year of schooling.

Students attend Primary school from Reception to Year 7, and then Secondary school from Years 8 to 12.

Choosing a Secondary school

School districts have been established for most metropolitan secondary schools and some secondary schools in major country centres.  In most cases, where a student lives outside of a declared secondary school district, their district school is the nearest school measured in a straight line from the student’s home address.


Years 10-12 students study towards the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). To complete SACE students complete about two years of full-time study which most students spread over three years.

There are two stages to the SACE – Stage 1 which most students do in Year 11, and Stage 2 which is completed in Year 12.  Each subject or course successfully completed earns credits towards the SACE, with a minimum of 200 credits required for students to gain the certificate.

The Personal Learning Plan is offered by most schools in Year 10, and is usually the only SACE subject that students study during that year.

In addition to the Personal Learning Plan, students must complete a full year of English subjects and a semester of Maths in Stage 1.

During Stage 2, students study four full-year subjects in addition to the compulsory Research Project subject. The Research Project is a one semester subject which allows every student to explore an area of interest in depth.

For compulsory requirements, students need to gain a grade C or better at Stage 1 and a grade C- or better at Stage 2.

The compulsory requirements are –
Personal Learning Plan (10 credits); Literacy – at least 20 credits from a range of English subjects or courses; Numeracy – at least 10 credits from a range of mathematics subjects or courses; Research Project – an in-depth major project (10 credits); Other Stage 2 subjects totalling at least 60 credits.

The remaining 90 credits can be gained through additional Stage 1 or Stage 2 subjects or Board-recognised courses such as VET or community learning.


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