Moving to Darwin? We're here to make the transition easier!

Feature Articles Wednesday, 09 Feb 2022

Moving can be a stressful activity at the best of times, especially when relocating with the family.

Essington's diverse community is made up of families and staff who have newly relocated, those who relocated years ago and haven't left, and those who are born-and-raised Darwin locals.

This diversity amongst students, parents and staff means that we know first-hand the complexities involved with relocating, and that Darwin can often be a mystery to families moving from interstate or overseas.

So, to help ease those relocation jitters, and to provide some greater clarification on common queries received by our enrolments team, we've put together the following article.

Common Early Years/Junior School related queries

We often receive queries from parents of Junior School aged children, who are looking for more information on formal schooling, when students can start school in the Northern Territory and the schooling and care options for children under 5 years of age.

Read below for more information on formal schooling and Early Years options.

When can my child commence full-time school in the NT?

Formal schooling in the Northern Territory begins in Transition and it is compulsory for all children to have started formal schooling before they turn 6. The school starting age differs between and within  sectors of schooling across all states and territories of Australia. At Essington we have unique early childhood pathways. To learn more about entry into our programs please CLICK HERE.

If you are moving from interstate or overseas, you may not be familiar with the term Transition, which is NT specific. You may be more familiar with the following interstate terms for the start of Big School:

  • Pre-primary
  • Reception
  • Preparatory
  • Kindergarten
My child is younger than 5, can they start schooling earlier?

Whilst formal full-time schooling begins in Transition, your child can begin in Essington's Early Years program from 2 years old, starting with our Kinder program. This parent and child program runs on Friday mornings, and leads in to our Preschool program.

You can find additional information on the  Early Years programs available at Essington HERE.

Common Middle/High School related queries

Transitioning to Middle School or High School can often cause stress, particularly when also moving locations at the same time.

We've clarified a few common queries around Middle School and High School in Darwin, and common entry points at Essington.

When does Middle School and High School start in the NT?

Essington provides families with an all-through educational journey, welcoming families from Kinder to Year 12. Provided that the requested year group has availability, we welcome new families at any point throughout the school year.

Common entry points for local families are Preschool, the transition from Junior School to Middle School in Year 7 and Middle School to High School in Year 10 (which is also called Senior College at Essington).

Middle School's in Darwin include Years 7 to 9. For more information on Essington's Middle School programs, click HERE.

High School's in Darwin include Years 10 to 12. For more information on Essington's High School (Senior College) programs, click HERE.

What educational certificate do senior students study in the NT?

Students in Years 10 to 12 in the NT study the Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET), which is based on and administered by the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

You can find more information on the NTCET on the Northern Territory Government website HERE.

Can my child study at Essington as an International Student?

International Students can join Essington only if they are on a dependent visa or hold a visa which is treated as a domestic enrolment. 

For more information on the different visa types please get in touch with the Admissions team (

Can my child board at Essington?

Essington does not have Boarding facilities nor do we offer homestay.

For more information on the options available for your family please get in touch with the Admissions team (

Additional queries about life in Darwin and additional services available for your family.

My child enjoys learning languages, what is available to them?


We proudly offer Indonesian language and cultural studies as part of our core curriculum for students in Preschool to Year 8. Students may then continue to study Indonesian as an elective in Year 9.


At the Senior College, students who speak and write fluently in a language other than English can enrol into a Stage 2 language subject. In the past we have had students studying Chinese, Russian, Italian, and Sinhalese.  

Students for their assessments will need to sit both oral and written examinations in October/ November of the year studied.  


For students wishing to study additional languages outside of School, Essington's After School Clubs programs offer a range of languages, including Spanish, French and Chinese. Students may also attend classes at the Darwin Languages Centre, you can find more information HERE.

My child and family love sports, what are our options?

Darwin is the perfect city for active families who love sports and getting outdoors, with numerous sporting codes encouraging new members to join all throughout the year.

Whilst the School does not have dedicated sporting teams, there are lots of options for students to compete against their peers and against other schools throughout the year. To find out more about Physical Education at Essington, click HERE.

For more information about local sporting clubs and where to find information, see below:

What activities can my child do outside of school hours?

Darwin has a huge range of co-curricular  opportunities for school-aged children. 

Our After School Club options for students in the Junior and Middle School are designed to offer recreational activities each afternoon. The options available change each term based upon community feedback, but you can find more information HERE.

The Northern Territory does not host an inter-school sport competition on a seasonal basis. All competitive sports are conducted at club level. Please see the list of governing bodies above.

We're arriving during the School Holidays, what options are available for our family?

All students enrolled at Essington from Transition to Year 7 can access our Holiday Care Program, you can find more details on the program and what's available HERE.

Otherwise, you can check out the myriad of activities on offer around Darwin throughout the holidays HERE.

We're relocating to Darwin, but aren't sure what suburb to live in.

Darwin boasts many beautiful suburbs, with some close to the water, and others further out in rural areas.

The Essington School is located in Rapid Creek, a suburb that borders on the larger suburb of Nightcliff. This is approximately 15-20 minutes drive from the Darwin CBD.

In 2019, an article written by News Corp Australia (NT News) listed the following best suburbs, as voted by local real estate agents:

  • Fannie Bay
  • Nightcliff
  • Parap
  • Wulagi
  • Rapid Creek
  • Larrakeyah

All the above suburbs are within a 15 minute drive of the School and are very family-friendly areas. You can read the full article HERE.