How Enrolment/Transfer is Organised in the ACT


  1. Parent Guide
  2. How Enrolment/Transfer is Organised in the ACT
  3. How Enrolment/Transfer Applications are Decided
  4. Accepting an Offer of Enrolment/Transfer

ACT residents have priority enrolment in Canberra Public Schools.

Enrolment applications are accepted from ACT residents, NSW residents and international students.  NSW students have notional priority enrolment at selected Canberra Public Schools. For more information, visit: NSW Enrolments.

Applications for enrolment/transfer for the current year may be lodged throughout the year and are processed as received.

Prospective enrolments

The online enrolment/transfer form allows for prospective enrolments for the following year.

If more than one application is submitted any previously submitted form may be made invalid.

Priority Enrolment Area (PEA)

Most schools have a group of nearby suburb(s) listed as the school's Priority Enrolment Area (PEA).

Each Canberra Public School gives priority to the enrolment of children living in its PEA. A number of suburbs in the ACT have a PEA for two or more public schools; this is called a Shared Enrolment Zone. A list of priority enrolment areas can be found at PEA boundaries. They can also be found at allHomes.

Out of Area Enrolment (OAE)

Families who live in a suburb outside of their PEA are deemed to be living in the Out of Area Enrolment (OAE) area. You may apply for a school that is located outside your PEA. When seeking an OAE school it is important to provide detailed reasons for the application on the online application/transfer form.

Where the reason of OAE is to study a specific subject and/or level this information should be included in the reasons for the OAE application.

If an application for OAE is unsuccessful the application will be forwarded to the school next listed in your application.

Where there is no next choice school listed, the application will be forwarded to your PEA school.

If your child has an OAE at an early childhood school that is located in a primary school's PEA, enrolment at the primary school is not guaranteed.

If your child has an OAE at a primary school that is located in a high school's PEA, enrolment at the high school is not guaranteed.

If your child has an OAE in a high school that is located in a college's PEA, enrolment at the college is not guaranteed.

New South Wales students

NSW families wishing to enrol in a Canberra Public School are offered a place at a selection of schools in either a southern or a northern zone in the ACT.  More information about pathway schools can be found here: NSW Enrolments

International students

The Education Directorate welcomes the dependents of temporary resident visa holders to enrol into a Canberra Public School from Preschool through to Year 12. Enrolment is subject to certain conditions, which may include the payment of international student tuition fees. The International Education Unit is responsible for the enrolment of international students and the dependents of temporary residents in all Canberra Public Schools. Please contact the International Education Unit for the documentation required before an approval reference number is allocated in order to proceed with the online enrolment process.


Under the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011, preschool class sizes are set at a maximum of 22 students. Where there is enrolment pressure from within the school's PEA, the maximum class size may be increased to 25 students depending on the site's physical capacity. This provision will only be available until the end of 2015. After this the preschool class size will return to a maximum of 22 students.

Where there is excess demand for places from students within the PEA, enrolments may be referred to other preschools within the local area that have capacity. This may occur for children who are:

  • resident within the PEA
  • not resident within the PEA yet have siblings concurrently enrolled at the school
  • resident in the shared enrolment zone for the school.