For school contact details and term dates, visit the Department of Education and Training website.
Almost 42 000 students attend 151 government and 35 private schools in Australia’s Northern Territory, ranging from large senior secondary schools in Darwin and Alice Springs to small schools in remote communities.
The school year starts in late January and is divided into 4 terms of 10 weeks. There is a 1-week break at the end of Term 1, a 4-week break at the end of Term 2, another 1-week break at the end of Term 3 and a 6-week vacation from December to January.
The Northern Territory Curriculum Framework forms the basis of learning programs from preschool to Year 10.
Education is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 15 years. Northern Territory Government schools provide preschool programs for children turning 4 by 30 June of the year in question. Schools will have information on availability of places.
The first year of full-time schooling in the Northern Territory is known as Transition, a period that helps prepare children for formal learning. To access Transition, children must have turned 5 by 30 June of the year in question. You can also contact the school for current intake policy.
The stages of schooling in the Territory align with those used interstate. Early years encompasses preschool to Year 3, Primary years 4 to 6, middle years 7 to 9 and senior years 10 to 12.
Senior secondary students undertake courses that lead to the Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET), which is a certificate of completion of secondary schooling. This qualification is recognised by all Australian colleges and universities. Students seeking university entrance must also comply with Northern Territory and South Australian tertiary entrance requirements as prescribed by the universities.
The Northern Territory recognises that students should consider vocational education and training as a valid career pathway, often as part of their NTCET. High schools and registered training organisations offer a wide variety of courses and deliver high quality, nationally consistent training outcomes for industry, communities and individuals.
Students who do not live near a school can access distance education. This is coordinated through the Northern Territory Open Education Centre, the Katherine School of the Air and Alice Springs School of the Air.
An interactive distance learning studio at Katherine provides a pool of specialist teachers to support face-to-face teaching in remote schools, while a distance education expert oversees curriculum development for all regions.
Senior students in remote areas can access Vocational Education and Training (VET—sometimes known as TAFE) opportunities.
In some cases, home education is a viable option for families—particularly when disability, geographical location or other factors prevent a child from attending formal classes.