Secondary school

Western Australian Secondary Schools


In Western Australia public secondary school runs from Year 7 to 12. 

Overseas students can apply to enrol in a Western Australian secondary school that has been approved to accept overseas fee paying students.

enrolment conditions

Learn more about your placement conditions by selecting your circumstance:

I am planning to enrol my child in primary school because:

My child will be applying for their own student visa

I am studying a Masters or PhD course at university

My child is a dependant on my visa

secondary school year levels

In Western Australia public secondary school runs from Year 7 to 12. Students start Year 7, the first year of secondary school, in the year they turn 12 years old by 30 June in most instances.


Secondary schools are built to international standards and are set in landscaped grounds with high-quality buildings and facilities which ensure students are able to study in safe, inclusive and welcoming environments.
Many secondary schools have specialist facilities such as art, music, performing and creative arts areas, science laboratories, libraries and sports facilities. They also have canteens/student cafeterias, air conditioning and undercover areas.​


Years 7 to 10 (Lower secondary)

Lower secondary school education continues to build on learning in primary school. Students study across the learning areas of English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education and Languages.

Year 11 and 12 (Senior secondary)

The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is awarded to secondary school students who satisfy prescribed requirements. Generally, students will complete two years of senior secondary study to achieve the WACE. Students can study a mixture of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), vocational education and training (VET) programs and endorsed programs. Not all schools offer the entire range of general and VET courses.

The WACE is recognised by:

  • University - for entry into undergraduate programs
  • Industry - for entry into the workforce
  • Training providers - for entry into practically orientated training programs which prepare people for work

To achieve a WACE for 2016 and beyond, students will be required to:

  • demonstrate a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy based on the skills regarded as essential for individuals to meet the demands of everyday life and work in a knowledge-based economy.
  • complete a minimum of 20 unit or equivalents
  • a minimum of 10 Year 12 units or equivalent
  • two completed Year 11 English units and one pair of completed Year 12 English units
  • one pair of Year 12 course units from each of List A (arts/English/languages/social sciences) and List B(mathematics/science/technology)
  • complete four or more Year 12 ATAR courses or complete a Certificate II or higher.

For a comprehensive outline of the WACE and the courses available, visit the SCSA website

International students seeking to undertake the WACE examination pathway must consult with school administration and enrolment staff prior to commencement.

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) - university entrance score

The ATAR is a number that indicates a student’s position in relation to all other Western Australian students of Year 12 school leaving age. It takes into account the number of students with a Tertiary Entrance Aggregate (TEA) as well as the number of students of Year 12 school leaving age in the population of Western Australia.

The ATAR results allow the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) to compare students across Australia for public university places. The ATAR is recognised internationally.

To find out more about the ATAR refer to the visit the TISC website and click on ‘About ATAR’:

Fees and charges

Find out more about fees and charges in the tuition fees for school students section.


For students who require additional English language support on arrival at a public school, please view the English language Requirements section.​​​​


Students with disability may require specialist disability provision or support to participate in education.  The need for specialist disability provision or support is determined on a case by case basis by the Department of Education prior to placement.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Are exams compulsory?

Examinations are compulsory for all years.

Q: How will my work be assessed?

Teachers use a variety of assessment methods throughout the year. With formal written reports students will be given a grade of A, B, C, D or E which are used as a basis for assessing student achievement.

Q: Can I go to secondary school if I am over 18?

International students who are 18 years old after the 30 June can apply to study at Canning College.

Q: Can I transfer to another school?

Contact the Student Services team at TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA). You will need to submit a written request and TIWA will contact the school that you have requested, to see if there is a vacancy for you. If you wish to withdraw from a public school and attend a private school you will need to complete a Refund and Withdrawal Form.

Q: Do all schools offer all the General and VET courses?

Not necessarily, each school will deterimine their course offerings. For more detailed information on courses and programs visit the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Q: If I am in Year 11 or 12 can I change my course?

You can transfer to another course. The school will determine the conditions under which the transfer will take place. The School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) issue guidelines for students transferring to another course or course unit. Please discuss this with the school you attend.

Q: What is the latest date that I can transfer to another course?

The School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) specifies the latest date for a transfer. It is usually a date in May. The school will decide what is in the best interests of the student.

Q: Where do I go if I have a complaint against my education provider?

Make an appointment with your International Coordinator or school principal to try and resolve the complaint at the school level. If you have lodged a complaint with your school and are not satisfied with the outcome, you may take your complaint to TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA). For further information please see the Complaints and Appeals section of the website.

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