Education and Training
There are three main education providers in the Northern Territory:
- the Northern Territory Government (150 schools)
- Catholic education (15 schools)
- independent schools sector (20 schools).
Government schools are often called state schools or public schools. Non-government schools are usually called private schools.
The Department of Education and Training administers 150 government schools with a total enrolment of approximately 33 000 students and employing more than 3800 teachers and support staff. The Northern Territory Government is committed to education and training, allocating a record budget of $930 million in the 2011‑12 budget.
The department is dedicated to providing access to quality education that leads to educated and skilled Territorians with great life and job opportunities.
Northern Territory school children have:
- one (non-compulsory) pre-school year
- one (non-compulsory) transition year
- six years in primary school (years 1 - 6)
- three years in middle school (years 7 - 9)
- three years in senior school (years 10 -12).
Starting and Finishing Age
Children must turn five by June 30 in the transition year to start at the beginning of the year. While schools may have a continuous intake for transition programs during Terms 1 and 2, the final intake will be Week 1 of Semester 2. Children progress to Year 1 when the school and parents agree that they are ready. All children in the Northern Territory must start school by their sixth birthday and remain in school until turning 15.
On 29 April 2009 the Chief Minster announced a change to the school leaving age in the Northern Territory which will make it compulsory for young people to complete Year 10 and then move into a period of participation in education, training and/or employment until they reach 17 years of age. It will be necessary to amend the Education Act (the Act) to give effect to these reforms.
The Northern Territory school curriculum places an emphasis on eight key learning areas from transition to year 10:
- design and technology
- studies of society and the environment
- languages other than english
- the arts
- health and physical education.
The Northern Territory Certificate of Education is awarded to students who successfully complete their senior secondary education. Students can undertake vocational education training courses in senior years which include practical and hands-on study in areas such as trades, hospitality and information technology. The certificate of education score can be used to meet tertiary entry requirements at universities in any state in Australia. Some vocational education training courses can help gain a place at a university, while simultaneously providing an industry qualification.
Northern Territory Government schools are registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and can offer places to international students. Students can undertake intensive English courses before entering mainstream classes. On satisfactory completion of Year 12, students are awarded the Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE) and depending on the level of their results will be entitled to enter Higher Education institutions throughout Australia, including Charles Darwin University in Darwin.
Most private schools have a religious affiliation, either Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and Uniting or non-denominational. Northern Territory Government schools are non-denominational.
Children who speak little or no English can receive intensive language instruction at school and may continue to receive specialised support when they enter mainstream English classes.
English Second Language Schools
The Northern Territory Government is committed to language development. Languages other than English subjects are part of school curriculum and all students are required to study one or more languages between middle and senior school years. Languages available include Indonesian, German and French.
The Australian Government offers free English language tuition through its Adult Migrant English Language Program. Most permanent adult migrants are eligible for up to 510 hours of free tuition.
Special Needs Schools
The Northern Territory has a number of special needs schools for children with disabilities in the government sector and a number of mainstream schools also offer programs for special needs students.
The Northern Territory Distance Learning Service, through the Northern Territory Open Education centre (NTOEC) and Schools of the Air, provide distance based learning and services throughout all stages of schooling. Classes are conducted using a variety of technologies including web-based interactive tools.
There are two Schools of the Air operating in the Northern Territory. Alice Springs School of the Air provides an educational service for 120 children living on properties or settlements covering more than 1 million sq kms of Central Australia and the Katherine School of the Air covers an area of approximately 800 000 sq kms.
Charles Darwin University is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence in Indigenous and cross cultural knowledge, tropical knowledge and desert knowledge. As a multi-sector education and training provider, the university provides unique pathways for students, from school-based vocational education and training through to advanced research degrees.
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (located an hour from Darwin) delivers tertiary education and training to Indigenous people. The Institute is a dual sector institution offering both vocational education and training and higher education. The institute focuses on cultural issues in the context of the national and international social, political and economic environment.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Australian Apprenticeships NT provides advice and assistance to both employers and apprentices on behalf of the Australian and Northern Territory governments. Services offered include:
- inspections of workplaces and provision of approval to employers to employ apprentices
- registration of training agreements and receipt of training schedules
- site visits and monitoring of apprentices
- dispute resolution
- payment of Commonwealth subsidies to eligible employers, apprentices and trainees.
Phone: 1300 137 130
Training Advisory Councils
Training Advisory Councils work with industry, enterprises, governments and training providers to improve training arrangements for their respective industries.
Operational support funding is provided to councils to assist the Department of Business to:
- contribute a Territory perspective to the development, implementation and review of training packages
- act as a conduit between enterprises, industry and government on vocational education and training
- increase awareness and uptake of vocational education training.
There are six councils in the Northern Territory, each with links to national and interstate training advisory networks.
Australian skills recognition helps people find out how to get an assessment of their job qualifications, skills or experience gained outside of Australia.
Licenses and Registration
The Australian skills recognition provides information on state or territory-specific licensing and registration requirements so individuals can practice their occupation in Australia.
Financial incentives are available to eligible Northern Territory businesses that employ apprentices and trainees in areas with identified occupational shortages or from disadvantaged groups. Employers who receive the occupational shortage incentives may also be eligible for the Disadvantaged Groups Employer Incentive if the apprentice or trainee employed is from a disadvantaged group.
These incentives assist in countering the affects of skill shortages on the Northern Territory economy and assist disadvantaged groups in gaining employment through apprenticeships and traineeships.
Phone: 1300 137 130
Employee Incentive - Workwear / Workgear Bonus Scheme
The Workwear / Workgear Bonus Scheme assists Northern Territory apprentices and trainees with costs they incur buying workwear, safety gear and other work related necessities during the first year of their apprenticeship or traineeship.
Phone: 1300 137 130
Content current at 27 May 2011.