Guest mumoftwo

Help with SA Schooling system/Rules plse!

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    Guest mumoftwo

    Hi - As we are eagerly awaiting our SA sponsorship (due any day) I am trying to distract myself by getting my head round the AU schooling system.

     

    While I know and expect that as a family our journey will be trial and error as far as the children are concerned I want to ‘try’ and make the best possible decisions regarding schools so they have some stability/good chance to make friends and settle. Happy kids = happy parents!

     

    Re: Public schools - Am I right in thinking that 'primary' schools don’t have specific catchments area's? but secondary schools do? If this is correct as my children will be 9 (girl) and 8 (boy) on arrival perhaps it will be better to think about being in the correct senior school catchment then finding/visiting and getting a feel (and choosing) a primary schools in the surrounding area.

     

    I have been told that there is no ofsted type reports/listings therefore is it just a case of going round a few to see what suits you/your kid’s best (or am I being too simplistic)? Are catchment areas published anywhere?

     

    A friend (from Melbourne) has also suggested that it might be worth considering some of the private Catholic schools. Although we are not religious I am told these can provide access to a cost effective ‘good’ education – Does anyone have any thoughts?

     

    It’s really hard sitting here in the UK ‘dreaming’ but it would be nice to think that rather than having to drag the children around for days that we could arrive with a plan of action and the children could then make a choice from a shortlist as it were.

     

    My husband is in engineering (CNC) and I am aware that most of these types of job are located in the North however in the UK we live in Bournemouth (close to the coast) so are leaning towards Brighton (ish) within 10 minutes from the sea.

     

    Any thoughts, experiences or advice more than welcome - Thank you x

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    Just over 12 months ago I was in the same boat, trying to find a good school and perhaps choosing our suburb based on the correct school. What type of school you choose largely depends on your kids and their interests.. ie are they into sport, music, dance etc..... I don't know about primary schools, but secondary schools wouold have a "specialist interest" or certainly a lot of them would.

     

    I'm not entirely sure what year your kids would be headed into, but we found that our daughter went up a couple years - she was scheduled to go into year 8 or 9 but on getting here she went into year 10. It means she is about a year younger than most of her peers, but this has actually been really good for her. We are from Ireland and the education system is very academically orientated so even now, she finds some things easy, so is studying some Year 11 subjects. The emphasis here is more on developing the child and their relationship with those around them, as well as preparing them for life after school - the balance here I think is right. We found in Ireland that if you weren't academically able to fulfill the points system, then basically you would be left on the shelf before you have even started out in life.

     

    Also here the range of subject options are enormous (in Secondary anyway). You can study heaps of practical things like a sport, dance, cafe skills, etc....... I guess it depends on the school and what their specialisation is. I can definately vouch for Henley High School as being excellent, the primary schools around there are good also from what I've been told. Henley High were fantastic before we came and offered so much advice, and as soon as our feet touched ground, they met us, settled out daughter and even made sure we were ok....!!! We no longer live in the Henely catchment area (now in Glenelg) but the school allowed us to continue as our daughter was already listed.

     

     

    Brighton High School is another good school (but offered no help before we arrived and were very snotty actually!!!)......but, they are good and hugely into music.

     

    This post has become long..... I guess what I'm saying is to email a few schools and go with firstly what they can offer in terms of your child's interests and how they perform in the large scheme of things. Some of our friends have gone down the private catholic school route - and although have found the school good (Sacred Heart in Brighton), they don't feel they offer anything more than say Brighton High would have. Some of the Primary schools in the Glenelg/Brighton area are Glenelg Primary (public school), Woodlands (private) Immanuel college (primary and secondary - private)

     

    Not sure if this helps and is just a long read, but hopefully has been some help

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    Guest mumoftwo

    Hi – Thank you so much for your thoughtful response - really any advice, thoughts or experiences are welcome!

    My two are very sporty which is one of the reasons we are seeking a lifestyle change. My daughter (who will be 9) swims, plays tennis, football and dances and my son (who will be 8) does the same but is also a keen BMX racer.

    Academically under the UK system they are both either above or exceeding the national average.

    My daughter has ‘always’ wanted to be a vet since she started talking and is incredibly driven in pursuit of this goal, in her mind its not if she’s a vet its when!

    While at her age logic tells me that this is her dream, as her parent I want to make sure she has the opportunity to pursue this line if her desire continues (and she is academically able).

    My son however is probably a more normal child in so far as while he may be the more naturally academically gifted, he hasn’t got a clue (mind you nor do I at 40!), he changes his mind on a weekly basis; this week it’s a toss up between a Policeman and a Boxer!?* Although he is a naturally bright little man he needs a firm hand and the occasional rocket inserted!

    Hope this provides further insight – Thanks again it great to know that it can work!

    Can I be really cheeky and ask you a further question please - What made you move from the Henley Beach area to Glenelg? Both are on our reccie list, from what I have seen I really like Glenelg/Brighton but Henley Beach is probably a more logical choice for us (my husband is in engineering and we are told there are more likely to be more opportunities that side of town). Although I am not planning on working to start with eventually (for my own sanity) I would like to go back at some point. Currently I work at a university which in Adelaide means if we settle in HB I will be on the wrong side of town?!*

    Best wishes and thanks again x

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    Mght be worth considering some of the more northern beaches as well (Semaphore kind of area) as from Brighton to - for instance - Edinburgh Park in the north in the "rush" hour it could take your husband near to 1.5 hours each way. There are a few engineering employers in the south, but bear in mind that the market is currently pretty flooded with engineering-type job seekers after the recent closure of the Bridgestone factory and several component manufacturers connected with both that and the automotive industry, so it may be that your husband doesn't have a huge choice of different offers to choose from.

     

    I would rent somewhere short term, wait till your OH knows where he will be working, then look at schools after that. In a difficult job market, I have heard of a lot of employers not even considering someone who is likely to have more than a 45 minute journey to work, and the less you limit yourself the better!

     

    At 8 and 9 your children have plenty of time before you have to start looking at High Schools - the usual age to start High School here is about 13.

     

    My advice for what it's worth is (a) find a job (for your OH anyway), then (b) look at schools within a reasonable commute from where the job is, then © find a rental (if you're considering renting long term) near to that school, and once you've found that (d) make a final decision on the school.

     

    Also it's not always a good idea even for bright kids to go into a year group where they are much younger than their peers - for instance, a 13 Year old (Year 8) in a class of 16 year olds (Year 10) is going to be miles away in social, emotional and even physical development - and let's face it, school is about a lot more than academics here! I even worry about my son being only 15 when all his classmates are 16 and being able to learn to drive when he can't! A good school will be able to keep a bright child with peers of the same age, whilst still ensuring the work is challenging - you may find a private school is better able to do this than a public one, as in my experience and from speaking to many people over the past five years, public schools excel at average children, but if for any reason a child is outside that "average" sphere, they don't get quite the same attention and focus at public as they would get at private.

     

    Diane

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    Also it's not always a good idea even for bright kids to go into a year group where they are much younger than their peers - for instance, a 13 Year old (Year 8) in a class of 16 year olds (Year 10) is going to be miles away in social, emotional and even physical development - and let's face it, school is about a lot more than academics here! I even worry about my son being only 15 when all his classmates are 16 and being able to learn to drive when he can't! A good school will be able to keep a bright child with peers of the same age, whilst still ensuring the work is challenging -

     

    Totally agree with what Diane has said.....

     

    This school might interest you for your daughter....

    http://www.urrbraehs.sa.edu.au/about_us/about_us.htm

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    We moved from Henley to Glenelg as our daughter is 15, wanted some form of independence, and to get a part time job. Also I like to not hop in the car all the time - Glenelg just ticked a lot of our boxes, bit pricey on rent though.....

     

    I agree with what Diane is saying about a young child not skipping up too far, and I think certainly in primary staying within your peer group is probably best emotionally. My daughter is a mature 15 year old and so mixing with 16 year old's was/is very smooth - however, had this not been the case we would have kept her a year below or moved her back if it didn't work out. That said, in Year 9 (which was identified where she would go based on her age) they were covering stuff (more so in english, maths and science) that she had done 2 years previously, so unless she was to revise she wasn't really going to be learning anything new. Year 10 has been a really good move for her.

     

    As Diane has also stated there is a lot more to the education system here than academics which is fantastic - they develop the "whole" child and I have to say I find on the whole Aussie kids very polite and able to converse with adults in a meaningful manner.

     

    I can't comment on the job front per se as I had a job before I came and so did my husband, and I certainly don't know anything about engineering!!!

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