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Enrolling in Kindergarten To Year 12


You can find answers to these and more Frequently Asked Questions at Frequently Asked Questions – Kindergarten to Year 12.

Who Needs to Enrol?

Under the Education Act 2004, it is compulsory for every child living in the ACT between the ages of six and 17 years old to be enrolled in and attending a school or registered for home education until they complete Year 10.

Can I Enrol My Child at an Earlier or a Later Age?

Early entry enrolment

Early entry to preschool and kindergarten is offered to eligible families to meet the needs of their children in the early years of their education. Early Entry will only be considered for children in the following categories:

Early Entry criteria, procedures and application forms are available from the Policies section of the website.

If you would like to access early entry for your child, please contact the Early Years team on (02) 6207 1106 or DET.consultation@act.gov.au for an assessment. Once your child’s early entry application has been approved, you will be given a unique code (an ‘EE’ number) that will enable you to complete the online enrolment form.

Later Entry

If you wish to delay enrolment for your child until older than 6, you will need to apply for an exemption from the requirement that all children aged between 6 and 17 must be enrolled. More information, including an application form, is available on our website at Exemption Certificate.

Which School Can I Enrol My Child in?

1. Your local school

Enrolments in public schools have been growing rapidly in recent years and they will continue to grow. However, every child from Kindergarten to Year 12 continues to be guaranteed a place at their local public school (by Priority Enrolment Area or PEA).

2. An "out of area" school

You may apply to enrol your child at a school outside your local area (referred to as an out of area enrolment application) but there is no guarantee that your application will be successful. All schools must consider such enrolment applications against specific criteria.

When parents and carers who are seeking to enrol their child in an out of area school are completing the online enrolment form, they will be asked to provide a reason for the out of area application. You must refer to the criteria below.

Categories of Schools

We divide our schools into two categories so that parents and carers can more easily see if the school of their choice is readily able to accept enrolments from out of the school’s area.

Category A Schools

These schools are generally not able to accept students from out of their area primarily due to their capacity for students both now and in the near future.

These schools will only consider applications from out of area students against the following criteria, in the order of priority indicated. When completing the online enrolment form, you will be asked to provide a reason for your out of area application. Please refer to these criteria:

  1. If you have legal considerations, where a court order identifies that a student needs to attend a specific school
  2. If there are exceptional circumstances, based on student wellbeing, that mean that your child cannot attend your local school and must attend the school they have applied for. (Where there are reasons why your child cannot attend their local school, but they could attend another school with more room to take out of area enrolments, the Directorate will help your family find an alternative school. Contact the Enrolments Call back Service: (02) 6205 5429)
  3. Subject to capacity, the school will enrol your child if they have an ACT-resident sibling attending that school. This includes step/half and cultural siblings.
Category B Schools

These schools have some capacity to accept out of area enrolments.

Like the Category A schools, the Category B schools will consider applications from out of area students against the criteria below, in the order of priority indicated. Please refer to these criteria when completing the online enrolment form:

  1. If you have legal considerations, where a court order identifies that a student needs to attend a specific school
  2. If there are exceptional circumstances, based on student wellbeing, that mean that your child cannot attend their local school and must attend the school they have applied for. (Where there are reasons why your child cannot attend their local school, but they could attend another school with more room to take out of area enrolments, the Directorate will help your family find an alternative school. Contact the Enrolments Call back Service: (02) 6205 5429)
  3. Subject to capacity, the school will enrol your child if they have an ACT-resident sibling attending that school. This includes step/half and cultural siblings.

Subject to capacity, Category B schools will also consider out of area applications on the following criteria, in the order of priority indicated:

  1. Student is seeking to access a curriculum choice(s) not available at their PEA school.
  2. Student is from a designated high-demand PEA (in 2020, this applies to all Gungahlin-resident students1).
  3. Student is seeking to continue on to Year 7 or Year 11 with their cohort from their current school.
  4. Student had a sibling who formerly attended the school.
  5. Student lives in NSW and has a sibling concurrently attending the school.

1 Note that Gungahlin resident students are all guaranteed a place in their local school if that is their school of choice.

3. A School Open to All Canberrans

There is a small number of schools with special curriculums that are open to all Canberra students. Instead of a priority enrolment area, these schools assess enrolment applications against specific criteria. You can apply to these schools no matter where you live in the ACT, but entry is subject to meeting the criteria. The schools are:

Specialist language settings:

Students with an interest in studying in one of these three programs can identify this as a preference on their enrolment form.

Students (who meet eligibility criteria established by schools) will be accepted into the program, subject to capacity.

For further details of these programs please contact the schools directly.

Early Childhood Schools (Preschool - Year 2)

Enrolment applications are assessed against the following criteria, in the order of priority indicated:

  1. wellbeing considerations (evidence from a registered psychologist or medical specialist required)
  2. child lives in the ACT and has a sibling attending the school
  3. child lives in the ACT and attends the long daycare program at the school
  4. child lives in the suburb where the school is located
  5. child lives elsewhere in the ACT
  6. child lives outside the ACT.