Throughout each year academic and other competitions and challenges are available for students and schools. These cover all curriculum areas from Language to The Arts. Some are run by subject organisations, some by governments, some by private organisations, some by international groups.
“Challenges”, such as the Premier’s Reading Challenges, are listed in a separate section.
For ease of presentation, competitions are listed in curriculum groups. Where specific levels are important, this is included. In some instances, the listing is broken into further sub-directories, e.g. Language → Writing, Spelling, Public Speaking, Debating, … .
No sporting competitions are listed. These are often of a local nature, while state based options are usually notified either through major school or sporting bodies direct to schools. The same applies to Eisteddfods.
- 48 Eco-Film Challenge
‘A national short film competition designed to showcase how film can play a role in encouraging action relating to environmental, ecological and sustainability issues. But the real challenge lies in making a telling short film, in only 48 hours’. There is a student section as part of this.
- Anzac Day Schools’ Awards
‘Designed to encourage initiative and creativity in the way that schools commemorate Anzac Day, with an emphasis on inventiveness balanced with tradition’.
- Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge
‘Motivates young people to learn about the brain. Created to inspire students to pursue careers in neuroscience research. A test of knowledge about important facts concerning intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, aging, sleep, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke’.
- Australian International Model Solar Challenge
‘Tens of thousands of Australian high school and primary students have participated in this hands-on science program’. The Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge is only one state level challenge as part of this.
‘BackMeUp is a video competition to help eliminate cyberbullying in Australia ! If you’re 13-17, then get snazzy with your camera and enter the competition’.
- Junior Landcare Challenges
Information about several challenges, all in the primary years. Some have restrictions relating to area and schooling form such as Distance Education.
- First Lego League [Australia]
‘Every September, FLL releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic. Each Challenge has two parts : the Robot Game and the Project’. The Australian part of an international group found at The Challenge - FIRST LEGO League.
- FIRST Tech Challenge
‘Designed for high school students to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams’. Through Macquarie University and FIRST Australia.
- Global Cardboard Challenge
‘Celebrates child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. Kids of all ages are invited to build anything they can dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination’. Resources available from the site. [USA, but done in 46 countries.]
- Little Big Idea
Origin Energy For Schools. If you’re in Years 3 to 8, chances are you’ve got some great ideas bouncing around that brain of yours. And we want to hear all about them. Closing date 5 September 2014.
- Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians
‘Targets the top 20 per cent of primary students in Years 5 and 6, and secondary students in Years 7 to 10’.
- Money Stuff Challenge
‘Challenges students to be creative in researching and developing consumer messages using fun, interactive media and creative publicity that will appeal to their peers and quickly grab their attention. Open to NSW high school students in Years 8-10’.
- MS Readathon
A Reading Challenge supporting a charity. Four age groupings 0-6, 7-12, 13-17, 18 and Above. All details on their new site, including 60 Minutes for MS Readathon.
- National Computer Science School Challenge
‘Online programming competition for high school students, run by the School of Information Technologies at the University of Sydney and NICTA. Unlike any other programming competition because we will teach you how to program as you compete’.
- National History Challenge
‘Encourages students to use research and inquiry based learning to discover more about the past. Students from Primary years to Year 12, 19 years of age or younger in Australian schools’.
- NCSS Challenge 2015
‘A programming competition for secondary school students. The NCSS Challenge teaches students to code in Python 3.4’.
- NSW Premier’s Sporting Challenge
‘A range of initiatives with one common purpose - to have more students, more active, more of the time !’
Premier’s Reading Challenges
- ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge
- NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge
- Queensland Premier’s Reading Challenge
- South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenge
- Tasmanian Premier’s Reading Challenge
- Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge
- West Australian Premier’s Summer Reading Challenge
- Premier’s Active April
‘Part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to promote healthy and active lifestyles and get Victorians more active, more often’.
- Premier’s Be Active Challenge - SA
- New !
Read More in May
Scholastic. ‘The competition is open to students, Scholastic Book Club Organisers and Teachers from registered participating schools in Australia’. Relevant details from the site.
- Re-imagine Learning Challenge
‘Open to all individuals, organisations, and partnerships from around the world who are using play or playful approaches to enrich learning’. More for staff and parents than pupils.
- Space Design Competitions Australia
‘Hosts a number of industry simulation experiences for school students. These combine elements of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM], with an emphasis on teamwork, marketing, and human relations to provide a unique set of challenges for young people’. Linked to the Australian Space Design Competition [see Science section below].
- STEM Video Game Challenge
‘The Challenge is open to upper primary and secondary school students. Students are encouraged to design, build and submit an original educational video game that includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] content or themes’.
- The Global Enterprise Challenge
‘An online international enterprise skills competition to be held for high school students. Plus an optional exciting simulation challenge to run online’.
- The Science and Engineering Challenge
‘The Challenge is designed to inspire students to study science and engineering at a senior level. Each day the students participate in a range of exciting hands-on activities’. The Tasmanian Science & Engineering Challenge details are found here.
- New !
UniSchools Steer Challenge
University of Western Sydney. ‘Held annually, the UniSchools Steer competition brings together 16 high schools from across Sydney to compete as individuals and school team members in a steer-raising challeng’.
- Yates Junior Landcare Challenge
‘You need to be 17 or under. Take a photo [no bigger than 2MB] that includes your Yates competition planter stake, write a short story [maximum 50 words] and upload them together to the gallery’.
- ACT Debating Union
‘Debating competitions for school students in the Canberra region’. Select “Competitions” from the main menu.
- Debating - NSW
‘In addition to the Premier’s Debating Challenge [multiple levels], The Arts Unit runs a number of other programs to provide opportunities for exceptional debaters in different age groups. These include the Primary Schools State Debating Championships involving teams of students in Years 5 & 6; the Junior State Debating Championships for students in Years 9 & 10; and the Combined High Schools Debating, for government school students in Years 11 & 12, competing in a series of debates against representative teams drawn from non-government schools’.
- Debaters Association of Victoria - Schools
‘Competitions for schools across Victoria. Training and resources for debaters, teachers and adjudicators’. Primary, Junior, Secondary, Regional.
- Queensland Debating Union
Check the “Competitions” link to find both the Junior Round Robin [Primary Schools] and Brisbane Secondary Schools information.
- Schools’ Competition Information
The UniSA SADA Schools’ Competition. 5 competitions from Junior to Senior.
- Schools’ Competitions [TDU]
‘Open to all secondary schools in southern Tasmania. Divided into six age groups’. The ‘Parliamentary Shield draws together the best debaters from public, independent and private schools around Tasmania’
- Debaters Association of Victoria - Junior Public Speaking
‘Every year the DAV runs a state-wide Junior Public Speaking Competition for students in Years 7 - 9’.
Junior Public Speaking Award
Training/competition for speakers in the 12-14 age group. Topics based on Australian history. This is the NSW site.
- Plain English Speaking
All details provided. Often run in each state by the Government Education Department. This is the Victorian site.
- Public Speaking
Calendar, competitions, resources, more. NSW Department of Education Arts Unit. Includes the Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition [government primary schools], The Plain English Speaking Award [senior secondary students; all NSW schools] and the LJPSA [students aged 12-14 years, all schools, see above].
- Voice of Youth
‘Public Speaking Competition for Secondary School Students’. Run by Rostrum.
‘Any Australian school student up to Year 9 may enter. Junior division : Grade 5 & under; Senior division : Year 9 & under’.
- Australian Writers’ Resource - Competitions
Competitions done in Closing Date order. Not all are for students or young people, but all have a clear indication of the age range and topic/format.
- Creative Writing Competition
‘Express yourself and enter the University of Adelaide Creative Writing competitions. Submit one or two pieces of work, fiction or non-fiction with a maximum of 1 500 words each’.
- CYA Hatchlings
‘All writers/illustrators who are between 8 - 18 years old, who have not been published in book format within the CYA genres’.
- Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards
‘The oldest and largest poetry competition for school aged children in Australia’.
- New !
Gen Z Competition
‘We want to know what WA’s young people have to say about the world we live in, and life in general. Entry is open to Year 7-12 students in WA schools’.
- New !
Gen zED!! Competition
‘Choose from the story options and have a go at writing your own ! Entry is open to Year 3-8 students in WA schools’.
- Heywire [ABC]
‘Open to people aged 16-22, to submit a story about life in Australia outside the major cities’.
- Junior Authors Poetry Contest
‘Free International Poetry Contest Open to Young Writers Ages 9 to 21 from Every Country’. See details about age groups.
- Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest
‘Student[s] between 9 and 21 years old. Proof of age may be required. Entries from any country are welcome’. 4 age categories.
- Litlinks [ACTATE]
‘Creative writing competition open to all ACT school students in Yrs 9-10 & 11-12. All genres of writing are accepted’.
- QIEU Literary Competition
‘Students and teachers in Queensland and Northern Territory schools are invited’.
- The Somerset Novella Writing
‘Open to all Australian high school students. Supported by Bond University and Penguin Group’.
- What Matters ? Competition [Whitlam
‘A writing competition that gives Year 5 - 12 students in NSW and the ACT a chance to say what matters to them in society today’.
- Write4Fun Writing Competition
‘Entrants are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild and get their creative juices flowing to write on ANY TOPIC and in ANY STYLE. Students from ALL GRADES are welcome to enter - Kindergarten to Grade 12’.
‘WriteOn is an annual writing competition for NSW students in Years 1 to 6. WriteOn is designed to encourage young students to develop their writing skills in an engaging way’. BOSTES.
- Young Writers Award
AATE. ‘Open to all South Australian students. Free of a topic. Write poetry or prose, up to 1 000 words. Categories from Reception to Year 12’.
- Australasian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads
Up to 30 students from an individual school comprise a team. Registration and other information from the site.
- Australian Mathematics Competition
‘For students of all standards. Students are asked to solve thirty problems in 60 minutes [Years 3 to 6] or 75 minutes [Years 7 to 12]. There is an entry fee, but this is modest’.
- Have Sum Fun Online
MAWA. ‘HSFOL is designed to foster mathematical problem solving for students in Years 3-10 across Australia’.
- Investigating with Mathematics
‘Aims to promote interest in mathematics and foster positive attitudes amongst students, teachers and parents. Students from Kindergarten to Year 10 in NSW are eligible to enter’.
- Maths Talent Quest
MAV, Victoria. ‘All students from the Early Years to Year 12 can enter the Maths Talent Quest’. Registration opens 13 April 2015.
- Reach for the Stars
‘AAMT has conducted Australia-wide activities for schools as part of National Literacy and Numeracy Week. By submitting your results, you can go into the draw to win some great prizes for your classroom. For information, contact an AAMT Affiliated Association in your state or territory’. Preschool to Year 12. Also check the Reach for the Stars [Literacy and Numeracy Week] page.
- SA School Mathematics Competition
‘For South Australian students in Years 6 - 13’. All other details from the site.
- The UNSW School Mathematics Competition
‘Secondary school students in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Two divisions : Junior, up to and including Year 10, and Senior, Years 11 and 12. Designed to assess mathematical insight and ingenuity rather than efficiency in tackling routine examples’.
- Ekka : School Garden Competition
‘For school students to learn and apply their gardening schools in a fun, competitive environment and win fantastic prizes for their school. Open to both primary and secondary students’. Queensland.
- German School Film Festival [Goethe-Institut]
Multiple age groups - Years 3 to 6, Years 7 to 9, Years 10 to 12. ‘Production of a short feature film, animation or cartoon film in German. Maximum length 4 minutes’. Entry forms and other information from the site.
‘Independent skills-based assessments with a competition element. The most comprehensive generally available suite of academic assessments and school tests for primary and secondary school students’. Run by Educational Assessment Australia UNSW.
- Inter-school Mock Trial Competition
Law Society of Western Australia. ‘Students enrolled in years 10, 11 and 12 and who are not older than 18 years of age as at 31 December. Schools may enter more than one team’. Western Australia.
- Language Perfect World Championships
‘Join over 1 000 schools and 300 000 students from around the world to learn vocabulary in foreign languages. Anyone can participate, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never learnt a language before’. All details from the site.
- Panda Competition
‘Conducted every year by the Australia China Friendship Society and is open to students from Preschools, Primary schools and High schools’.
‘Held in various Australian states. The rationale for the Philosothon methodology is based on empirical evidence that teaching children reasoning skills early in life greatly improves other cognitive and academic skills and greatly assists learning in general’.
- Australian Space Design Competition
‘Would you like to design your own futuristic space station ?’
- Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize
‘Aims to increase interest in water- related issues and research, and to raise awareness and knowledge of global water challenges. Open to all Australian high school students between the ages of 15-20’.
- BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards
‘BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards are Australia’s most prestigious school science awards. Primary or secondary school students [including homeschooled] or undertaking full-time secondary study in TAFE colleges’.
- New !
Chevron Focus Environment Competition
‘Choose one or more of the categories to focus on. Entry is open to primary and secondary students in WA schools’.
- Crystal Growing Competitions
Links to these in 6 states and territories. Primary and Junior Secondary students.
- Eureka : Sleek Geeks Science Prize
‘The Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize encourages students with a passion for science and for communicating ideas to tell a scientific story via a short film’. Main website is found at an Australian Museum website. Multiple Teacher resources are available here. Primary and Secondary competitions. Entries closed 1 May 2015.
- New !
Has a number of challenges/competitions/involvements for different levels, e.g. Year 9, Year 10, K-6. Check the site for details about each of these.
- Google Science Fair
‘The largest global online science competition that celebrates the curiosity and investigations of young scientists everywhere !’
- NATA Young Scientist Award
‘Encourages students to look at how science impacts on people’s lives. Every school across Australia is invited to submit a science project in the competition to win cash prizes’. Primary students.
‘A student-run organisation that aims to increase female participation in engineering, science and technology’. A non-competition process.
- Science iQ [STAWA]
Western Australian schools. ‘A series of separate online science competitions. ScienceiQ is for school teams of four students’. Year 5 to Year 10.
- Science Victoria : Science Talent Search
‘Science based competition open to all primary and secondary students in Victoria’.
- Science Talent Search [STAWA]
‘Aims to promote science teaching and learning through creative project work. Entries may be submitted by students from any school in Western Australia, or students under home tuition’.
- The Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest
‘Applying science, being creative, and having fun ! There’s also the challenge of getting your machine to achieve its task’. Open to Year 10 students in Victoria.
- The Rio Tinto Big Science Competition
‘Encourages critical thinking and problem solving skills. Challenges secondary students from Australian and International schools in Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions’.
- UTAS Science Investigations Awards
‘Students [Year 5-12] carry out a science investigation and present their findings to science/industry judges’.
- Australian Science Olympiads
‘Though open to all, the exams typically benefit high achievers in science from Years 10 and 11 and those who have high aspirations and enjoy a challenge. Year 12 students are welcome to sit the exam’. 4 separate exams in areas of Science.
- Strange Nature - The Synthetic Biology Writing Competition
‘Are you a high school student interested in synthetic biology ? Write a maximum of 1 000 words inspired by the [above] question for your chance to win’.
- The Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee
‘Created to inspire students to pursue careers in neuroscience research. As Australia’s only neuroscience competition for high school students, the ABBC is an event that will have you expanding your hemispheres !’
- UQ Sunflower Competition
Students in Years 8-10 and 11-12 in Queensland. Awards fro different aspects.
- Australian National Chemistry Quiz
‘Provides a major focus for secondary school students on the relevance of chemistry’. Secondary students.
- Australian Science Olympiad Exams - Chemistry
- Australian Science Olympiad Exams - Physics
- IYPT Australia
‘The nature of the tournament promotes scientific research and problem solving stretching the participants to work on very complex problems’. Secondary students.
Economics & Business Studies
- Australian Economics and Business Studies Competition
‘Both competitions will comprise of 40 multiple-choice questions. Students will be competing in two divisions : Junior Division - Year 11 and below or Senior Division - Year 12 and equivalent’. UNSW.
- BlueShift Business Case
‘Open to all high schools in Australia. Teams must consist of four students in total and can include any combination of students from Year 11 and 12. Each team will be emailed a real-world written case study, and will have four weeks to submit a solution in a written report’.
- Plan Your Own Enterprise
‘Secondary students studying in Australia or New Zealand are invited to enter the competition by completing a 3 000 word plan on a creative idea for a small business’.
- Australian Geography Competition
‘Challenges secondary school students to demonstrate their geographical knowledge and skills. Rewards student excellence with great prizes, including selection for Australia’s international geography teams’.
- Geography Challenge
‘Select which country you will be representing and take the quiz. The quiz consists of trying to locate 10 randomly selected countries on a map of the world. It is different every time’.
- Anzac Day Schools’ Award
‘Open to all Australian primary and secondary schools. Schools can enter as an individual class or the whole school, with a limit of one entry per school’. Entries close : Friday 22 May 2015
- Australian History Competition
‘Each competition will present 50 multiple choice questions. Questions will focus on key elements of the Australian History Curriculum - sound historical knowledge, historical skills and historical understandings’. Year 10 and Year 8 Competition levels.
- HTAV Historical Fiction Competition
‘Inspire your Year 5-10 students to create stories based on historical events and people’. Three levels - Years 5 and 6, Years 7 and 8 and Years 9 and 10. Victoria.
- Premier’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize
‘An annual competition held to select Year 9 or 10 students [Victoria] for an overseas study tour of sites where Australians have served in war, centred on Gallipoli or the Western Front’.
- Remembrance Day Poster Competition
‘Victorian Primary Schools are invited to show off their creative skills and submit their design for the annual Shrine’s Remembrance Day poster’.
- The Frank
MacDonald Memorial Prize
‘Open to all students currently in Year 9 in government and non-government schools in Tasmania, as well as home-schooled students at the same year levels. The winners will travel to Turkey, Belgium and France for approximately 12 nights [incorporating Anzac Day]’.
- The Premier’s Anzac
‘Gives 50 Queensland high school students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Anzac tradition first-hand. Open to all eligible Year 8-12 Queensland high school students’.
- Premier’s ANZAC Spirit School Prize [SA]
‘Provides the opportunity for eight students and two teachers to win a fully-funded two-week study tour of Europe’s World War I battlegrounds. Open to all Year 9 and 10 students in South Australia’.
- The Simpson Prize
‘A national competition for Year 9 and 10 students’. Details are on the site.
- ATOM Awards
Find all the categories for Primary and Secondary students by selecting the “Entering” section of the menu.
- Aurecon - Bridge Building Competition
Open to students in Years 8 and 9 [in Australia]. Separate information on the site for a number of areas around Australia and New Zealand.
- Australian Informatics Competition
‘The questions involve some mathematical ideas related to computing and are therefore an ideal enrichment activity’. Secondary students, Years 7-8, Years 9-10, Years 11-12. Some links to the Australian Informatics Olympiad [below].
- Australian Informatics Olympiad
‘Activities aimed at high school students for enrichment and competition in computer programming and algorithm design. The pinnacle of these activities is sending a team of four overseas each year to represent Australia at the International Olympiad in Informatics’.
‘An initiative of Engineers Australia, delivered free of charge to Australian schools. Lower primary, primary and middle years students work, applying their problem-solving skills to designing, constructing and unravelling exciting engineering projects’.
- F1 in Schools [REA Foundation]
‘The world’s largest secondary school technology program. Involves over nine million students from 17 000 schools in 31 nations’.
- FIRST Robotics Competition
‘An FRC team consists of high school students typically aged 14-18. These students have to work together to design, build, program and drive robots’. All details from the site.
‘National competition for primary and secondary school students or filmmakers under 18 years old’. Part of Flickerfest.
- Google Code-in
‘For pre-university students [e.g., high school and secondary school students ages 13-17] with the goal of encouraging young people to participate in open source’.
- Imagine Cup Australia
‘The world’s premier student technology competition’. Students must be at least 16 years of age and satisfy a number of other requirements. Individual and team competitions.
- Kids Design Challenge : TiPS
‘Provides a unique opportunity for primary aged students to participate in real-life tasks of personal and community relevance’. NSW.
- OzCLO - Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad
‘Designed for high school students from Year 9 to Year 12. It challenges them to develop their own strategies for solving problems in fascinating real languages’.
- RoboCupJunior Australia
‘A project-oriented educational initiative. Teams work in a co-operative and supportive environment in three distinct challenges : Dance, Rescue and Soccer. Primary and secondary students’.
- New !
Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero
‘Teams consist of up to 5 young women in primary or secondary school [ages 10-18, although younger students with the maturity necessary to complete the program are encouraged to participate]’.
- VEX Robotics Australian Competition
‘The VEX Robotics Competition is the ultimate STEM activity for middle school and high school students [ages 11-18]’. The VEX IQ Robotics Competition ‘is a brand new STEM program for elementary and middle school students [ages 8-14]’.
- WorldSkills Australia
‘Australia’s Largest Trade and Skill Competition ! Competitions [are] held on a regional, national and international level. All three levels of competition run biennially’.
- Bayside Film Festival - Jump Cut
‘Invites young people from across Australia and internationally to submit works for screening in its Jump Cut sessions. Jump Cut is open to 8 - 26 year olds and films in any genre, up to 15 mins in length are accepted’.
- CinéfestOZ Short Film
‘Encourages South West [WA] students to explore the medium of film and use multi-media formats for production, awareness, marketing and audience reach. Participants need to be 13-18 years old and attending secondary school’.
- CREATivE CHANGE Competition
Primary and Secondary competitions. ‘Every school in Australia has received a DVD with additional resources for teachers and students. We hope the activities and information will assist you to prepare your entry’.
- New !
Doodle 4 Google
‘We’re inviting school students in Years 1-10 to sharpen their pencils, use their imagination and artistic talent to create a Google doodle depicting their vision for … ’. Registrations close 20 July, 2015.
- My Story My Content Short Film Competition
‘Entry is free, and open to all students in Australia and New Zealand’. Primary, secondary and tertiary categories.
- Schools Photographic Competition
Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens. ‘Open to students of high schools and colleges in Canberra and Queanbeyan. Entries must be submitted through the student’s school or college. All photographs must be taken in the Australian National Botanic Gardens’.
- Screen It
ACMI. An ‘epic moving image competition for Primary and Secondary school students. Screen It is designed to educate, encourage and foster the next generation of young moving image makers’.
- Screenshot Competition
‘Offers students an opportunity to develop their photographic skills and gain recognition for their efforts ’. Three school levels for entry. Art Gallery of NSW.
‘The ultimate performing and visual arts challenge for schools’. Sections on site for students [primary & secondary] and teachers.
- Angelico Exhibition
Art competition and exhibition for secondary students in Catholic schools in Western Australia. Access through the menu on the left.
- QIEU Art Design Awards
‘Preschool, primary and secondary school students and teachers in independent schools throughout Queensland are invited to submit artworks’.
- Young Australian Art Awards
‘Open to Australian primary and secondary school students and free to enter. Children can choose to enter into any one of the following categories : drawing, painting, photography or computer art and will be judged according to 3 different age groups’. Closing date for 2015 is 2 October.
- ACMF National Songwriting Competition
‘An annual National Songwriting Competition for every Primary and Secondary School, both public and private, in Australia’.
- Australian Singing Competition
‘Australia’s richest and most prestigious competition for young opera and classical singers’. Suited to senior secondary and tertiary students.
- Music : Count Us In
‘For all schools - primary and secondary, State and independent, metropolitan, regional and remote. Registration is free’.
- Triple J Unearthed High Competition
‘We’re looking for the BEST act in high school’. At least 50% of the group/act must be in high school. Details on site.