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Another couple of questions:
Can anyone recommend a registered migration agent or would anyone recommend going through the process independently?
Can anyone give me an idea of how long their 189 skilled independent visa took to process?
Thanks again :-)
Once a child has been in education for a while it used to be that some schools were open to putting them into the academic year they came from if they are close to the cut off or have done a full year of the year or some such. So, you could find yourself faced with a school that looked at birthdate and said no, this X year no matter what, another who was happy to go with the year group they just left in the UK even though its not the one they should officially be in (had they gone through the Aus system).
I know reading on our sister site that other states that have had the one term intake for a while now seem to be pretty strict and tend to place kids into their correct year group based on DOB. In SA, the one size fits all intake only rolled out last year and so its new waters to test and I really don't know what they do from here on out for new arrivals from overseas. I don't know if there is a strict policy the schools are expected to follow now or if they have some discretion in year placings like our first school allowed in 2013.
I can only tell you of our personal experience and it was not one all schools were prepared to consider so we had to shop around when we first arrived. Our child is a May 2008 birthdate also. We arrived here in Oct 2013 and we discussed with schools about what year he would go into from 2014. We asked if schools would consider him doing just the one term in reception and then putting him up into Y1 the following school year rather than him doing reception over again (which would mean him doing 2.5 years of reception all up). The school we placed him at for the first 7 months was happy to assess him with this in mind. However, we also had to accept if they didn't think he was ready for that or up to it, they would say he ahd to do reception over again. Other schools we approached simply said he would have to do reception over in 2014 regardless.
So, he did a term of reception with kids who started in terms 3 and 4 and was pretty bored. He'd already done a whole year of reception in the UK and a term of Y1 before we left. It soon became clear to his teacher and the principal etc that him going into Y1 for 2014 was the way forward. He went into a YrR/1 class at the start of 2014 and was fine. He was the very youngest in Y1 was the only thing. Some other kids in Y1 in his class were turning 7 a couple of weeks after he turned 6 and there were lots of 7th birthdays in his class in the few months that followed. Had he been a couple of months or more younger we'd not have really pushed for it but the cut off only just being missed and his being the sort of kid he is, we felt pushing for the year above so to speak was the way to go.
He changed schools mid year, so left his old one at the end of term 2, started at his new (permanent as we bought a house) school for term 3 and 4 in Y1. As he was already in the Aus school system as a Y1, even with his birthdate, him simply transferred accross to the same year group. They don't mess around with that once they are already in a year group here. The principal at his new school noted his DOB and it did come up in conversation, we said we were confident he was doing well in Y1 so far and that we were fully aware he was the youngest in the year. Academically it hasn't been an issue for him. His new school is a lot more demanding and challenging (in a good positive way) than his old one, he is thriving and did really well for his first two terms there. He is reading to the higher end of the scale for the year group, other areas are the same sort of level too. His teacher said he is doing great in this year group.
He is starting Y2 when they go back next week. He transitioned really well across the learning differences (and there are some marked ones I can assure you) and settled well into both schools, although his new school is IMHO by far the better standard in all areas of learning and in the school overall.
Bear in mind the way things are done here is very different and if your child went into the year above they would be the youngest. In the 'correct' year as it were, they would be one of the oldest. Consider not just the now but years in the future and how this may affect your child. Also try not to look at it as repeating a year. Its a different country, different education system. For example, cursive handwriting isn't taught here till much later one. My kid arrived here and was doing all the kicks and flicks in his writing from reception in the UK and then came here and it all changed. He spent a fair while getting to grips with how the letters were formed here and got rather frustrated trying to do them this way having learnt it differently in the UK. By the end of term 1 of year 1 he had pretty much lost every little bit of the cursive style and now writes in a non cursive way. He also began learning another language from term 1 of year 1 and this is ongoing throughout school. He loves his language lesson. There is also a history lesson taught each week in a different classroom with a specific teacher, which seems to focus on Australian history when they are younger (at least at our school).
I guess what I am trying to say is you know your child, socially, emotionally and all the education aspects. Weigh it all up as to what you think will be best for your child and then visit the schools you like once you are here, get a good feel for them, perhaps do a few taster days at the one (or two) that you like best and discuss with the staff what may be best. It may be you have no choice in the matter, it may be you do. Don't rush to put them up a year just because they have done that year in the UK. We thought it over long and hard for many months before we moved, we have a fair few family members who teach at primary level here and know the system well who gave us a lot of input into things and ultimately we trusted what we felt our son would be best with. I don't think we were wrong at all knowing our child but it could have gone the other way and backfired on us had he not settled well or struggled to get to grips with things for whatever reason. We perhaps had to take more of a chance on it with his being younger still, had he been a couple of years older making the move, depending on how he was doing at his UK school, we'd have been open to keeping him in his age appropriate year here if we felt it was the better thing. Even if it meant him repeating a year so to speak.
Feel free to drop me PM if you want to chat more about it. I can perhaps ask some of the family if they know what the policy is at their schools or if there is a state wide one even.
To be honest, I wouldn't get too hung up on which year your child will be in - it's just another thing to stress about because the system is different but it all works out once you're here :)
We've been here since July 2012 so all of mine had started (and one finished) primary in the UK but just as an example of how it really doesn't matter: This year just started I have an August 2001 child in year 9 (she's in a year group with a child who will be 16 before she's 14), a September 2002 child in year 7 and a May 2005 child in year 5 so cut-offs and dates and rolling terms just don't apply to my 3 - it's down to how you think your child can cope with school after your move, how strict a school is on applying date cut-offs and how well you articulate what you want for your child.