Are you moving back to Brisbane with children and wondering where the best school catchment zones are located?
Do you have any idea on where to start to find a primary or high school for your little ones?
Here we explore how to find the best schools for your children and how you can ensure that you buy or rent a home in the perfect Brisbane school catchment zone for your family.
If you moved away from Brisbane when you were younger, you may not have previously thought about what school catchment zones in Brisbane are the best.
It may be a new concept to you now to consider looking at school catchments in Brisbane.
We all want the best for our children. Education is a very big part of our children’s lives. Even as a parent, where our children go to school makes a difference to our way of life. So it’s important to understand how to find a home in a good school catchment zone within Brisbane.
What is a Brisbane School Catchment zone?
A school catchment zone is the geographical area where a state school’s main intake of students must live.
This system ensures that every student from Prep to Year 12 is guaranteed a place at their local state school.
Below is a snapshot of some of the school catchment zones in Brisbane.
Families need to live inside the catchment zone, either in their own home or in a rental home, to guarantee their child’s enrolment in that state school.
You will need to provide proof of this, so please don’t be tempted to use a friend’s address. There can be very strong consequences if you are found to be providing misleading information!
Some state schools in Brisbane are so popular, or cover a densely populated geographical area, and therefore they do not accept “out of catchment” enrolments.
All of the schools in the illustration above with a star before their name are “enrolment managed.” This means that the school is nearing capacity and that they restrict out of catchment enrolments.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t accept students out of catchment. It simply depends on the number of children enrolled from within the catchment zone. This can change from year to year depending on the number of children in the local area.
Why are school catchment zones in Brisbane important?
For parents wanting to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on sending their children to private schools, these Brisbane school catchment zones are critical. A quality high school is so important and those that are high achieving are well sought after.
Here is a brief video explaining some of the other benefits of a good Brisbane school catchment zone.
For example, Brisbane State High School is the only State secondary school in Brisbane that is included as a GPS member school. This provides outstanding opportunities for students to take part in an extensive range of sporting and cultural activities, otherwise only available to the more expensive private schools in Brisbane. This school is highly sought after for this very reason.
For a list of top ranking high schools as per their academic results for year 12, you can check out Your Local Families Magazine. This provides a ranking of Brisbane Secondary Schools – a mix of both private and public schools.
If you want your children to attend a specific school, it is important to remember that living in the same suburb as the school, does not guarantee that you will be located in the same school catchment zone.
Brisbane continues to develop and grow and there are new schools opening to cater for the increase in students. Due to this, the Brisbane school catchment zones can and do change, so it is important to do your research before buying or renting your home.
What are the first steps to finding the best school catchment in Brisbane for your children?
- Work out what you mean by “best school”.
Are you looking for academic success, sporting opportunities, a focus on arts, reputation of teachers, overall happiness of students? What do you value most in education?
- What are the needs of your child/children? Do they have additional needs where they will need extra support? Is accessibility of the school critical?
- Is primary school most important for your decision or do you also need to consider a state high school? Choosing just for primary school may mean you will have a costly move once your children are older. If you are looking to send your children to a state high school then make sure you’re thinking beyond the immediate future.
- Do you want your children to attend a large school with more resources or are you looking for a smaller school with community feel?
- How much do you want to be involved in the school community? Do you enjoy being involved when possible? In a smaller school more parents are generally needed to help out with fundraising activities.
- Will you need before and/or after school care facilities?
- Will you need the school to be easily accessible by public transport?
Once you’ve established what the best school means for you and your children then you can do your research. Talking with friends and family who are living in Brisbane and are already in the school system can be a great help.
There are also Facebook groups out there such as “Aussie Expats Coming Home”, “Moving to Australia Tips” etc which can help share information and ideas. Buyers Agents in Brisbane can also be a great source of knowledge with not only the property search but also checking which school catchments the properties are in and a general overview of the area.
Here are some other websites which could help you.
Working out the school catchment zone
Now that you’ve made some decisions as to where you would like to send your child to school you need to check which area that school catchment covers. There are two ways to do that through the Education Queensland website.
You can search by school which will give you the general area of the catchment but not the exact house number – see below.
Or once you have a particular property you’re interested in buying or renting, you can search by the address.This will give you a result including primary and high school.
So now that you’ve found your ideal location and chosen the best school in alignment with your values and needs, what’s next?
Call the school or visit their website to get the enrolment form and details on documents to provide with the enrolment. Processes can vary from school to school so it’s best to make sure of the exact details so that you’re prepared.
In addition to the enrolment form the minimum you will need to provide is:
Proof of child’s age and identity
- Original birth certificate – the purpose of a birth certificate is not only to verify the child’s details (i.e. age and identity), but also to establish that the person applying for the enrolment is a parent of the child, and therefore eligible and obliged to enrol them OR
- Passport (if the child is born overseas)
- Visa (if applicable) International Passport Holders – the student’s passport, visa and an “Authority to Enrol” email from Education Queensland International
Proof of Residency
You will need to provide proof of your residential address to ensure that you reside within the school’s catchment area. The following documents are required:
- Home ownership – unconditional house contract or current rates notice OR
- Lease agreement – must be current at the time your child commences enrolment
- Current gas / electricity bill at the in-catchment address
If the proof of residency cannot be presented, a Statuary Declaration must be provided. Please remember, this is a legal document.
What if you’re “out of catchment”?
For out of catchment enrolments it depends on the school’s process. Some schools may have a first in best dressed policy and others a ballot system. Some schools are so desired that in the past parents have actually camped out on the street to be one of the first to hand in their child’s out of catchment enrolment!! One such school is Ascot State School. Thankfully many of these schools including Ascot, have moved to online enrolment to save this inconvenience. The ability to submit an enrolment is opened up at a particular date and time so it is recommended to have everything ready and set your alarm!
We hope this has helped you understand the world of Brisbane school catchments! Of course, if you need help and would like to explore using a buyers agent in Brisbane to help you streamline the process please reach out. Check out our home buyers guide on our website here.