Education and Training in Australia starts with Pre-school or Kindergarten and Reception Reception and is followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school.  In South Australia Years R-7 for the primary school years and 8-12 are secondary, culminating in the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).  The tertiary sector covers 10 levels of qualifications across Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education.

For more information about the education and training system see:


There are a number of pathways for young people to achieve their South Australian Certificate of Education including Vet in Schools or VET for Schools, Australian School Based Apprenticeships, Community Learning, and other recognised learning options.

Each of these pathways is designed to facilitate different learning opportunities to suit various learner needs.  Each needs to be considered carefully about whether it is appropriate for your young person based on their learning style, circumstances, challenges, and desires.

South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)

In South Australia, students work towards achieving the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) by acquiring a minimum of 200 credit points over two stages.  Most students commence Stage 1 in year 10 and complete Stage 2 is completed by the end of year 12.  There are a number of different ways to earn SACE credits.

The combination each student chooses will depend on their learning style, the post-secondary pathways they are considering, and the availability of study options at the school they attend.  For more information about the SACE -

SACE & Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR)

The primary entry methods for making an application to an undergraduate course offered by the three South Australian universities are via an Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR).  To do this, students will need to consider completing SACE subjects that attract an ATAR.

For information about completing your SACE to gain an Australia Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR) go to -

SACE & Vocational Education and Training (VET) in and for Schools

The SACE is designed to incorporate Vocational Education and Training (VET) to provide e a range of practical learning opportunities to create vocational qualification pathways and achieve credits towards the SACE.  Students can gain recognition for a number of SACE credits at Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 for successfully completing VET studies.  These recognition arrangements offer a wide range of pathways to education and training beyond secondary school, as well as to employment.

VET is provided by a range of private and public RTOs (Registered Training Providers) and include Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, Adult and Community Education (ACE) providers, agricultural colleges, private providers, community organisations, industry skill centres, commercial and enterprise training providers and some universities (VET for Schools).  Some schools also provide VET (VET in Schools).

Students wishing to complete a VET course will need to be well organised as it requires managing school study requirements as well as the study components of the VET course, together with work placement and any other activities the student is involved in.  The best way to find out about your teenager's options is to contact your school VET coordinator, Student Counsellor or a Career Advisor.

VET in Schools & VET for Schools

The VET in Schools option provides a range of Vocational Education and Training courses at school.  Vet for Schools are recognised Vocational Educational and Training Programs provided by public and private training providers to complete a range of recognised VET qualifications.

Training Guarantee for SACE Students (TGGS)

Students who are at school and know that they would like to pursue a VET pathway after school can elect to start their studies while at school and make a commitment to complete their qualification after school.

Australian School Based Apprenticeships (ASBA)

School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeships (ASBAs) are another way that students can do a VET course.  An ASBA combines paid work (8 hours a week), VET training, and school.  ASBAs allow students to commence an apprenticeship or complete a traineeship while at school. As well as an industry recognised national qualification, students may gain credit towards the SACE. ASBAs are available to all Year 10, 11, and 12 high school students in South Australia.  Information about SACE recognition of VET is at

Community Learning

Within the SACE there are other activities or services, which benefit the local or broader community and can be acknowledged as learning.  Credits can be earned from Community-developed Programs (e.g. Royal Life Saving Society) or Self-directed learning (volunteering for a community project).

Other Recognised Learning

There are a range of other alternative learning options that students can complete to achieve the SACE. 

These options are outlined at:

There are also, a range of options to support students with Disability to achieve their SACE:

  • Modified SACE subjects- see
  • Reasonable adjustments and flexibility within SACE subjects
  • SACE subjects that focus on applied learning subjects such as Community Studies / Integrated
  • Learning / Workplace Practices / Cross-disciplinary Studies
  • Special Provisions- see
  • State Transition Program/ Transition Centres
  • Stage 1 and Stage 2 completed over an extended period

You can explore options on the SACE website:


Community Education is a broad title to describe learning in community settings like neighbourhood houses, community, and learning centres.  A number of training Programs, short courses (some of them accredited just like a TAFE course and sometimes cheaper) and leisure courses are offered.  Consider exploring short courses at your local TAFE, WEA or through local and community services.

To find out more about ACE and what courses are offered and where, go to:

WEA has a range of short courses which you can learn about on the website:

They also have a Disability Enrolment Service:


TAFE (Training and Further Education) SA is the public and largest provider of VET courses in South Australia, offering Certificate I through to Advanced Diploma levels, as well as short courses.  Many courses can be studied during the day or evening, part-time or full-time and include some on-line coursework. For information about courses offered by TAFE SA go to:

Applications for most Award courses (i.e. qualifications) must be made through SATAC (South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre).  For information about how to apply go to:

TAFE offers courses in many trade and vocational areas, including training for apprenticeships.  The courses are also recognised by Universities and can be used as a 'pathway' or 'articulation' into university. Students are often granted credits towards their university course, thus reducing the time to complete their degree. For information about these opportunities go to:

There are also a range of Private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in South Australia that also deliver Vocational Education and training.  You can find out more about these on the Skills SA Website"


A university is an institution for higher education and research, which grants academic degrees and focuses on equipping graduates to work as professionals in their chosen fields.  Higher education entry level qualifications are usually Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Bachelor Degree. Each university has the freedom to design its own courses, so courses from different universities will have a different emphasis. All courses expect high levels of written communication, problem solving and independent learning and research skills. Assessments are designed to ensure students have a strong grasp of the theory to underpin their skills.

There are multiple ways to enter university:

  • The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) and using an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) to apply through the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT).  The SATAC website contains information about admission to university via STAT.
  • Special Entry Programs and Foundation Studies Programs run by individual universities. Refer to the individual university prospective student websites for more information.
  • TAFE Credit Transfers.  Some university courses recognise some TAFE qualifications for entry and some course credits.  Information is available from the universities' websites.
  • TAFE SA & Uni Dual Offers.  In some instances you can apply to complete a VET Certificate with a provisional offer to University on successful completion of your course.
For more information about these opportunities please go to the University website: There are other Higher Education providers in South Australia.  Information about these options is available on the following websites:


Disability support is offered through schools, ACE, VET and Universities and TAFE for students with a disability, learning difficulty or medical condition in keeping with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) & Education Standards (2005).

The TAFE SA Disability Support Program provides support services and special arrangements to assist students with their study.  Disability Officers (DOs), Student Services Officers (SSOs) and Career Advisers (CAs) can assist with access arrangements to minimise the effect of a disability without compromising the academic integrity of a student's Program of study.

The three public universities in South Australia have well established disability services and processes.  Officers who support students with a disability in negotiating an Access Plan are called Disability Advisers (DA).

Other higher education providers in South Australia have the same responsibilities to provide disability support and students should make contact with appropriate officers at the time of enrolment.


An Access Plan provides information about the impact of a student's disability, mental health or medical condition on their studies, identifies agreed services that will be provided by Disability Services and any alternative exam adjustments.  The Access Plan helps students to negotiate reasonable adjustments with education and training staff to assist them to study successfully.

Student's disability or medical information remains their private information.  Only information students choose to release within the University goes into their Access Plan.  By providing information to staff about the impact of their disability at university, it can help staff in assisting students with their studies.  No information about a student's disability, mental health, or medical condition is passed outside the University without a student's consent.

Students will need to make an appointment and present evidence of their disability and its functional effect on their studies.  This process is strictly confidential and the only information provided to lecturers by the Disability Service relates to the functional impact of the disability and any adjustments the lecturer needs to provide in order to overcome the impact of the disability.  It is up to the student howmuch more, if any, information is given to their lecturers and fellow students.

Some important matters to consider:

  • Places are not specifically reserved in courses or Programs for people with a disability.
  • Courses, qualifications and Programs are not specifically devised for students with a disability.
  • Students with a disability need to be able to meet the inherent or core requirements of a course.
  • There is no entitlement package attached to particular disabilities.  Supports are negotiated individually and are designed to meet the unique needs of each student.


National Disability Coordination Officer
Programme (NDCO). South Australia:
Regions: 23-24-25

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