The Preparatory (Prep) Year is the important, first year of full-time schooling. Prep is designed to strengthen links between the Prep Year and Year 1, promoting continuity of children’s progress throughout the early years. International research shows the benefits of children taking part in full-time quality programmes before they start Year 1.
While Prep is compulsory, there are some exceptions including circumstances where:
- the child has undertaken education in another jurisdiction that is equivalent to Prep;
- the child was registered for home education in the year prior to enrolment in a state or non-state school; or
- the principal is satisfied the child is ready to be enrolled in Year 1 taking into account the child’s attributes
When can they start?
Children must turn five by June 30 in the year they start school in order to enter the Prep programme.
|Birth date||Eligible for Prep Year in|
|Child born 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017||2022|
|Child born 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018||2023|
|Child born 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019||2024|
|Child born 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020||2025|
Is there Early Entry to Prep?
An amendment to the Education Act has allowed for the possibility of early entry for some students who will turn five by July 31st in the year they are in Prep, however that entry is conditional on the principal also being satisfied that they are ready for schooling in terms of:
- aptitude and ability; and
- social and emotional competence; and
- physical development; and
- level of knowledge and understanding
This is not a change for all children born in July and it is certainly not compulsory to send your child to Prep if he or she turns five during July.
What should I do if I think my child isn’t ready to start Prep?
Most children commence Prep in the year they become eligible (turning 5 by June 30th), however parents who are concerned their child is not ready to start Prep at that time can choose to start their child a year later – the year they become 6 years and 6 months.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s readiness for Prep, speak with your child’s Kindergarten teacher or school principal.
For related documents, visit Starting Prep