About Me

Choosing a path in the arts

It's a bit of a myth that great artists are born great. Great artists need support and development by great teachers. I am really passionate about arts education, as I think it can be too easy for people to just look at the end result and forget all of the practise and training that goes into producing a great artist. This blog is all about demystifying arts education and showing how anyone can become a better artist. It will be useful for budding artists, but also for teachers and parents looking to inspire teenagers into further art education to improve their skills.

Choosing a path in the arts

Compare the structure of schooling in Australia and the United States

by Dylan Olson

The United States of America and Australia have formal schooling structures that have some similarities and some differences. One of the main distinctions between the two countries is the timing of the academic year to accommodate the different time of summer in the two hemispheres. In both countries, a longer summer holiday / vacation marks the end of the academic year.

The school calendar

In the USA, the school year runs from August or September to May or June. During the year, scholars have four fairly short holidays:

  • Easter vacation (in March or April, depending when Easter falls)
  • Spring break vacation (in the last part of May)
  • Autumn vacation (at the beginning of November)
  • Christmas vacation (late December to early January)

There is one, very long holiday in summer (from late July to early September) that marks the end of the academic year.

In Australia, the school year runs from January to December. The long summer holiday in December is also at the end of the academic year. During the year, there are three holidays in April, June/July and late September.

Duration of schooling

In both the United States and Australia, there are twelve years of basic schooling. The labels given to the years of education differ between the two countries: in the US, the years are called Grades, and they are called Years in Australia.

Although formal schooling is considered to begin with the first Grade or Year in both countries, most children actually begin school before entering the first grade / year, by going to pre-school or kindergarten.

In the United States, children are five years old when they begin kindergarten. Most children begin pre-school at the age of three. In Australia, children usually begin Year one at the age of six. They usually attend pre-school or kindergarten for about three years prior to that.

Structure of schools

One of the similarities between the education system in both the United States and Australia is that children attend three different schools during their twelve years of formal schooling, although the names of the different schools and the age of attendance differ slightly between the two countries.

In the United states, the schools structure is as follows:

  • Elementary school: Grades one to six. (Sometimes beginning with kindergarten)
  • Middle school (or junior high): Grades seven to nine.
  • High school: Grades ten to twelve

In Australia, these years are structured as follows:

  • Primary school: Years one to six.
  • Secondary school: Years seven to ten.
  • Senior secondary school: Years  eleven and twelve.