The UK and Australian curriculums whilst being similar in parts, have some differences due to their unique education systems and cultural contexts.

If you are thinking about teaching in The UK or Australia, there are of course going to be differences in the education systems. However, there is no better way to expand your skill set as an educator and grow as person than living abroad and experiencing something new. Taking the leap to teach overseas is a daunting one that not everyone is brave enough to do. Having that experience on your CV speaks volumes about you as an educator and individual. There can be similarities and differences between both education settings and you will end up combining different aspects from the UK and Australian system to frame your teaching pedagogy. To give you a head start and help you understand the main differences we have outlined some of those key differences below: 


  • Centralised vs. Decentralized System 

UK Curriculum: The UK has a centralised education system, specifically in England, where the National Curriculum sets out the content taught in schools. While Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland also have their own curricula, England’s National Curriculum is the most widely recognized and followed. 

Australian Curriculum: Australia, on the other hand, does not have a single national curriculum. Each state and territory has its own education department responsible for developing and implementing the curriculum, leading to some variations in what is taught across the country. However, there are some commonalities through the Australian Curriculum in subjects like English, Mathematics, Science, and History. 


  • Curriculum Structure 

UK Curriculum: The UK curriculum is divided into key stages, which are distinct phases of a child’s education. Key Stages 1 to 4 are followed in England, covering ages 5 to 16. Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) and Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) are usually completed in primary school, while Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14) and Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16) are typically part of secondary education. 

Australian Curriculum: The Australian curriculum is organized by year levels, starting from Foundation (Prep/Kindergarten) through to Year 12. The year levels progress incrementally, and students move up a year level at the beginning of each academic year. 


  • Educational Focus 

UK Curriculum: The UK curriculum often places a strong emphasis on academic subjects, including English, Mathematics, Sciences, and History. There is also a focus on preparing students for standardized exams, such as GCSEs and A-levels. 

Australian Curriculum: The Australian curriculum aims to provide students with a well-rounded education. In addition to core subjects, there is an emphasis on other areas such as Health and Physical Education, Arts, Languages, and Technologies. 


  • Qualification Systems 

UK Curriculum: In England, students typically take General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations at the end of Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16). After completing their GCSEs, students can choose to pursue Advanced Level (A-level) qualifications, which are more specialized and serve as the entry requirement for higher education institutions. 

Australian Curriculum: In Year 12, Australian students can work towards obtaining an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), which is a rank used for university admission purposes. 


  • Assessments and Examinations 

UK Curriculum: The UK curriculum often relies on external standardized exams, especially for qualifications like GCSEs and A-levels, which have a significant impact on a student’s academic progression. 

Australian Curriculum: While external exams may be a part of the assessment process, the Australian curriculum also incorporates various internal assessments, project work, and practical tasks to evaluate students’ progress. 


These differences highlight the diverse approaches taken by the UK and Australia in structuring their education systems and shaping their curricula. It’s important to remember that both systems continuously evolve, so it’s essential to refer to the latest curriculum documents and guidelines for the most up-to-date information.  


Having helped many Educators make the transition from UK/Australia schools and vice versa for a number of years, anzuk would like to note that whilst there are differences in curriculum as stated above, there are also a number of similarities that assist with a smooth transition into a classroom across the globe and that we are there every step of the way J. 


Next steps… 

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it!? If you’re interested to find out more, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.  

Our extensive network includes opportunities in Private, Faith, State and Academy settings, across regional and city locations. We can assist with opportunities in;  

  • London  
  • Surrey  
  • Bristol & South West England  
  • Wales  
  • Regional UK 

If you haven’t yet registered with anzuk please click on the following link & we can chat further about your work preferences.  

Teach in the UK with anzuk 


Or, if you have any friends/peers who may be interested, we offer a $150 referral bonus following 10 days worked in the UK:  

Refer a friend 


We look forward to speaking with you soon.