Education system

Education system

An education at a Western Australian government school will give your child the best education possible.

The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)

The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is awarded to senior secondary school students who satisfy its requirements. It is a senior secondary certificate recognised nationally in the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Generally, students will complete 2 years of senior secondary study to achieve the WACE. The WACE is recognised by universities, industry and other training providers.

Achievement of a WACE means that a student has successfully met the breadth and depth standard, the achievement standard and the literacy and numeracy standard in their senior secondary schooling.

WACE requirements

The WACE is typically achieved over 2 years. Students must successfully complete a total of 20 units and demonstrate the minimum standards of literacy and numeracy. Students can demonstrate they meet these standards by passing the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) in Year 10, 11 or 12.

Students can choose courses that reflect their strengths, interests, and career aspirations. Schools make decisions about which courses and programs they will offer. These decisions are based on a range of factors, such as resources and community need. There are 2 main types of WACE courses, Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and General courses.

To find more information about the WACE requirements, visit

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)

ATAR courses are designed for students who are typically aiming to enrol in a university course. Some ATAR courses are also suitable for students entering vocational pathways after school that require a higher level of preparation.

ATAR is the main way students are measured for entry into most university programs in Australia. It is a rank between 0.0 and 99.95 which indicates the student’s position relative to all other people of the same age. An ATAR of 80.0 means that the student is in the top 20% of the age group.

General courses

General courses are designed for students who are typically aiming to enter vocational training or the workforce directly from school. This includes Vocational Education and Training (VET) industry-specific courses.

Vocational Education and Training qualifications

Many students combine their courses with a Vocational Education and Training qualification at Certificate II or higher.

These qualifications are nationally recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework and prepare students for further training or for entry into the workforce. The qualifications available at each school are determined by the individual school and they contribute to students’ achievement of the WACE.

For students interested in a particular employment pathway, such as engineering, tourism, hospitality, technologies or automation, the school will do their best to support each student to help them reach their goals.

Western Australian government schools

Western Australian government schools

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