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Enrolling in 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.

At what age can I enrol my child in Kindergarten (first year of formal schooling)?

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:

Applications for Early Entry for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Early Entry for Children with English as an Additional Language or Dialect are made using the online enrolment form and managed by the enrolling school.

Applications for Early Entry for Gifted and Talented Children and Early Entry for Mobility are submitted to the Directorate for approval  DET.consultation@act.gov.au. Approved applications are provided with an Early Entry (EE) number that enables you to complete the online enrolment form.

If you require information about Early Entry for Gifted and Talented Children or Early Entry for Mobility please email DET.consultation@act.gov.au
or telephone (02) 6207 1106.

Later Entry

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

Which school can I enrol my child in?

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).

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.

If you are seeking to enrol your child in an out of area school, you will be asked to provide a reason for this when completing the online enrolment form. Please refer to the criteria below.

Categories of Schools

We divide our schools into two categories so that families 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.

View the list of Category A Schools.

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 (recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship relationships).

Category B Schools

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

View the list of Category B Schools.

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 (recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship relationships).

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 2021, this applies to all Gungahlin-region resident students (please note that Gungahlin resident students are all guaranteed a place in their local school if that is their school of choice.)
  3. Student is seeking to continue on to Year 7 or Year 11 with the majority cohort from their current ACT public school.
  4. Student had a sibling who formerly attended the school.
  5. Student lives in NSW and has a sibling concurrently attending the school.

Special curriculum schools

There are 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.

Specialist language settings:

Students with an interest in studying in one of these three programs should 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)

There are a small number of schools (called Early Childhood Schools) that provide early education and care from birth to year 2.

Early Childhood Schools:

ACT Early Childhood schools

Early Childhood Schools are based on the philosophy that learning begins at birth and supports a child’s learning and development through to their transition to school. Early Childhood Schools provide educational programs and services that promote children’s health and wellbeing and help build strong relationships with families and communities, including making connections with community services.

Enrolment applications for Preschool to Year 2 in these schools are assessed against the following criteria, in the order of priority indicated:

  1. Exceptional circumstances, based on student wellbeing
  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

* For Franklin for 2021, a limit may be applied to this criterion depending on school capacity. Please note that this criterion does not apply to the O’Connor Cooperative School setting.