Across Australia the formal years of schooling are uniformly defined as being from Year 1 to Year 10. In the Northern Territory Catholic education system, the year before the first year of formal schooling is known as Transition. A child entering Transition must turn five years of age before 30 June in the year of enrolment.

Early Years

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Catholic Education in the Northern Territory supports a dynamic group of Early Learning Centres, Preschools and Primary Schools. We welcome children aged between 3 and 5 years of age into our Preschools and Early Learning Centres.

Our Darwin and Katherine Catholic primary schools have an Early Learning Centre attached. All Indigenous Catholic Community Schools are inclusive of Preschool. Our Catholic school in Alice Springs has an Indigenous Early Learning Centre attached.

From January 2012, our Early Years educators plan from the unified National Quality Framework which replaced the licensing and accreditation processes previously undertaken by the state, territory and Commonwealth governments. The new system regulates early childhood education and care and school aged care services including long day care, family day care, outside school hours care and preschool.

The aim of the Framework is to:

  • improve the quality of early childhood education and care
  • streamline the administration and regulation of services
  • ensure services meet the needs of families
  • provide parents with information about the quality of the services their children attend.

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has been established to oversee implementation and ensure national consistency of the National Quality Framework in all jurisdictions. Available on the ACECQA website are a comprehensive range of important resources, guides and information for all stakeholders regarding the new reforms.

Primary Years

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Our Catholic primary schools welcome children aged between 5 and 8 into the year levels of Transition to Year 2 – we call this our Early Childhood years of learning.

Children aged between 8 and 12 are welcome into Years 2 to Year 6 – we call this our Primary Years of learning. The Primary Years of learning plan and teach the Australian Curriculum and the (NTCF), which includes year level achievement standards for all Northern Territory learners.  

Middle Years

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The Middle Years encompass Primary Years 5 & 6 and Secondary Years 7, 8 & 9 (ages nine to 14)

During these years, we provide a focus on pastoral care and relationship building, alongside school programs that are flexible and based on the needs of learners.

Our approach to schooling the Middle Years works on building positive relationships between teachers and students, and encourages students to become actively and successfully engaged in their own learning.

Up until senior secondary education, for subjects other than Australia Curriculum subjects and Religious Education, the curriculum for Catholic schools is the (NTCF). The NTCF has been revised to include year level achievement standards for all Northern Territory learners from Transition to Year 10.


Senior Years

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The Senior Years incorporates Years 10 to 12 (ages: 14 to 18+)

Year 10

Year 10 is a transition year from middle to senior secondary education. Students in Year 10 study Australian Curriculum subjects including English and Mathematics. In other learning areas schools use the content of the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework to inform teaching and learning, as well as vocational learning opportunities.

In most schools offering Year 10, students undertake the Personal Learning Plan, a mandatory Stage 1 subject for the Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training.

Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET)

During the Senior Years, students will study the NTCET. Based on the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), the NTCET is awarded to students who successfully complete their senior secondary education. Students usually complete their NTCET over 2 years, but may take longer.

An NTCET student is required to undertake literacy and numeracy studies, the Personal Learning Plan, as well as a selection of subjects at Stage 1 (usually years 11) and Stage 2 (usually year 12).

Vocational Education and Training in schools

The Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) Program gives students the opportunity to undertake vocational training while still at school. The student takes part in VET studies while at school that can be accredited towards achieving their NTCET.

By participating in this program students learn about the skills and requirements of a particular job at school or through a local registered training provider, and can complete a number of work placements during the year.

More VETis information