Education across the Northern Territory


School is compulsory in the Northern Territory from the age of six. However, children can enrol in preschools earlier than this and start Transition as they approach five years of age.

Stages of School

Preschool in NT is not compulsory but it is highly recommended. Children can attend government preschools from the age of four. At some non-government preschools, children can start earlier.  At age five children start Transition, the first stage of primary school. Transition is up to 12 months.

Students attend primary school until they complete Year 6. For Years 7 to 12, children attend secondary school.

Senior Secondary Schooling

Senior secondary students work towards the Northern Territory Certificate of Education.

There are two levels: Stage 1, generally Year 11, and Stage 2, generally Year 12. Although most students complete the certificate in two years, it can be done part-time for as many years as required.

The Australian Curriculum

The NT implementation timeline approved by the NT Board of Studies provides details on the implementation of subsequent Australian Curriculum learning areas and subjects.

NT Curriculum Framework

The Northern Territory Curriculum Framework identifies learning outcomes for all Northern Territory students from Transition to Year 10. NTCF outcomes have been re-constructed into achievement standards to enable a consistent assessment and reporting methodology with Australian Curriculum achievement standards.

Year 10 Curriculum

Support materials are provided for Year 10 Australian Curriculum English and Mathematics.These include sequence suggestions, template learning and assessment plans and subject specific performance standards, which are aligned to the Australian Curriculum achievement standards. Year 10 literacy and numeracy courses are offered for students who have not met the Year 9 achievement standards.

School leaving age

In the Northern Territory it is compulsory for all students to complete Year 10 and then participate in education, training or employment until they turn 17.

Tertiary Entrance Rank

The Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) is a factor universities use to determine whether a student is eligible for a course.

The Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE) and TER issued to students are recognised nationally. The NTCE is the equivalent of senior secondary certificates across Australia.


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