Education & childcare

College students in the library

Canberra nurtures the pursuit of dreams – from the ground up. Here families are provided with the supportive services, facilities and environments to raise happy, inspired and resilient children.

Community is crucial for the support of families and Canberra has a number of ways to connect families with each other through playgroups, family events and activities.


A wide range of childcare services provides children with a caring, creative and stimulating environment while allowing parents to pursue work or study. Government assistance is available to help with the cost of these services that include family day care, occasional care, long day care and school-aged care.


The ACT Government’s Education and Training Directorate also provides one year of public preschool education. Public preschools are part of the local primary schools and are open to children who turn four on or before 30 April. In some areas, children are also eligible to start preschool from age three at an Early Childhood School.

Canberra school system

Canberra’s school system has a national reputation for achieving excellent academic results.

Consisting of 86 ACT Government public schools and over 44 Catholic and independent schools, each school offers a modern, well-equipped and supportive environment with opportunities for intellectual, sporting and cultural development.

Generally, children attend primary school from age 5 until they are 12 or 13 years old and then attend high school (or ‘secondary school’) until they are 17 or 18 years old. Some colleges (senior secondary schools) take only students in Years 11 and 12 who are preparing for the Year 12 Certificate. Find out more in our 'Learn' portal.