School system


The Queensland school system starts at Prep (4 to 5 years of age) and goes to Year 12 (average age 17 years old).

Students complete 7 years of primary school (Prep to Year 6) and 6 years of high school (Years 7–12).

At the end of a successful Year 12, Queensland students have many options to continue with their study, including Technical And Further Education (TAFE) courses, a private college or one of our world renown universities.​


Queensland traditionally had a Year 12 Overall Position (OP) score but in 2021, moved to the ATAR system, which is a ranking (not a score). If a student gets an ATAR of 80, they don’t have an average of 80% for their subjects but are 20% from the top of their age group.

The main purpose of the ATAR is to determine who gets offered a place in a university course.

How is the ATAR cal​​culated?

Eligible Year 12 students in Queensland receive an ATAR ranking at the completion of studies.

The ATAR is calculated on a student’s 5 best general subjects, or the student’s best results in a combination of 4 general subjects and either 1 applied subject result or a completed VET qualification Certificate III level or above.

To be eligible for an ATAR, students must satisfactorily complete a QCAA English subject. While students must meet this standard in order to be eligible for an ATAR, it is not mandatory for this result to be used in the calculation of the ATAR.

Queensland Certific​ate of Education

The QCE will remain as Queensland’s senior school qualification. All eligible Year 12 graduates will be awarded a QCE.

The requirements for a QCE are different to those for tertiary entrance. A QCE does not give you an ATAR.

You can access more information about the new ATAR system on the QCAA website.

Queensland Certificate of Education (PDF, 416KB).

The Queensland academic year

The Queensland academic year consists of 2 Semesters, with 2 Terms in each Semester.

​Semester 1
  • Term 1 (January to March)
  • Term 2 (April to June)
​Semester 2
  • ​Term 3 (July to September)
  • Term 4 (October to December)

The 4 school terms combined is approximately 10 weeks in duration, with holidays at the end of each term. Schools generally operate from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, however, there are some schools with their own flexible school hours.

Find out current information about school term dates and public holidays​.

Our class sizes

  • Prep to Year 3 – the target is 25
  • Year 4 to Year 10 – the target is 28
  • Year 11 to Year 12 – the target is 25

The Queensland assessment system

The Queensland assessment system measures student performance continuously throughout the year, giving students an opportunity to continuously improve their results. Students must submit a number of school-based assessment tasks, including:

  • assignments
  • oral presentations
  • practical exercises and demonstrations
  • tests and examinations
  • various subject-specific tasks.

Student reports

Students receive their reports at the end of each term.

Student progress is benchmarked by five levels of achievement:

  • ​Very high achievement (VHA)
  • High achievement (HA)
  • Sound achievement (SA)
  • Limited achievement (LA)
  • Very limited achievement (VLA).

Find out more information about the Queensland school curriculum, assessment and r​eporting framework​.​

Last updated 22 October 2021