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Keeping Up with the British Curriculum in Australia

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

If you’re a British family moving to Australia, your children’s education is likely one of your main concerns. You may be wondering if it’s possible to keep up with the British curriculum in Australia? Or maybe, if it’s even worth it in the first place? In this article, we’ll help answer just that and more. Read on for a breakdown of the differences between the UK and Australian curriculums, the different schooling options you can expect to find in Aus, as well as the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ of keeping up with the British curriculum in Australia.

British vs Australian Curriculum – what’s the difference?

Although the UK and Australia are both English-speaking countries, there are some key differences when it comes to school systems and curriculums.


While all across England children take their GCSEs and then A-Levels, the name of the qualification Australian pupils receive varies from state to state. Australian secondary school pupils in Years 11 and 12 are awarded a “Certificate of Education” in all states except New South Wales, where it’s called a “Higher School Certificate”. At the end of Year 12, Australian students receive their ATAR score (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank). This is the equivalent of our A-Level marks and is what allows pupils entry into universities.

Class Sizes

In the UK, class sizes are capped at 30 pupils. Australia, on the other hand, generally caps its classes at 25.

Academic Year

Australia operates on an opposite seasonal timeline to most other countries, so it’s no surprise this affects the make-up of the school year. While in Britain school starts in September, Australian pupils start the new school year in January and end again in early December. There are four terms to an Australian academic year rather than our three, and the longest break is over the festive period in December and January.

Schooling options in Australia

Much like in the UK, Australian schools can be divided in to the following categories: government (public) schools, non-government (private) schools and alternative schools such as Montessori or Steiner. Non-government schools include faith-based schools like Catholic or Islamic. The vast majority of schools in Aus follow either the Australian or New South Wales curriculums. However, there are a fair few independent schools with a more international outlook delivering programs based on the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Keeping up with the British curriculum in Australia


Despite it’s huge British expat population, the demand for British schools in Australia is pretty minimal. Australian schools in general are of a high standard, and many expat Brit kids have no trouble slotting in and thriving with the Aussie curriculum. That being said, if you know you’ll be moving back to the UK while your kids are still at school, the curriculum issue might be more of a concern. The Australian and UK year group levels often don’t correspond because of their different academic year structures, which can make the transition back to a British school a little more awkward.

Whether or not your child is in their GCSE or A-Level years is another thing to consider. If you are moving between countries during this time, it’s understandable that you’d want their education to stay as consistent as possible.


Whatever your reasons for wanting your child to continue to learn the British curriculum while in Australia, the good news is that it is still possible! Online schooling has become increasingly popular in recent years, having opened up learning opportunities for children all over the world in various situations. One of the major benefits an online education offers is the flexibility it provides expat families like you, who, despite the constant moving around, want their child to have a consistent and high quality education.

My Online Schooling provides a full-time, English National Curriculum-led education online that your child can access from home, or wherever there’s a stable internet connection. Sound like it could be a good option for you? For a personal introduction, please contact Jo, Client Relationship Manager at Woodhams Relocation Centre. Jo can be reached at


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