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Best Independent Schools & Suburbs

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Hello and Happy New Year,


We are suffering a major dilemma as we've been planning to move to SA for some time, but our daughter and her education is our main priority and she has been offered a place at one of the UK's top independent schools and we now are unsure whether moving is the right thing given the offer she's received and worked hard for.


If we move, which we want too, we just really need to know what the best independent schools are in and around Adelaide from peoples views, not just websites, so that we can start to contact them. Her fees at her new school in the UK will be about £25-30,000 PA, so not cheap, but well worth the investment and we are happy to pay whatever it takes to get comparable schooling in SA.


We'd also appreciate views on good suburbs. We don't want to be near the beach and we've seen east or north east of Adelaide seem to be reasonable areas, but it would be great if we could pin down a few so we can research them some more from here in the wet UK. We have about $1MM to spend which leaves us mortgage free and while we can increase this with a mortgage it's not our desire as we want to stay mortgage free. I quite like the sound of living in the hills, but not sure what areas to look at so would appreciate some thoughts on this too.


Looking forward to some helpful comments.

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Hello and welcome to the forum :)


I am not sure any of them in Adelaide are going to be quite in the same league as one of the top UK independent schools. If you are talking top 10 or 20 in the UK then I doubt you'll find Adelaide has a school at the same level in all areas you are probably desiring. That is not to say good schools don't exist here and many come out of their education having done very well.


Its worth keeping in mind schools can only do so much and it ultimately comes down to the parents, the child, their willingness to embrace a new school, their enjoyment at and effort put into said school as much as the input from the school and teachers etc. Also friendships groups play a big part in things IMHO. A child who does well academically, works hard and is happy in their school is probably going to do well in most any school. Its what a top level private school offers on top, those extras, those connections, they come into play and can perhaps help more in the future. An unhappy child or one who is struggling for whatever, you can be spending £30,000 a year private or $1500 in fees at a state school and you'll probably have the same issues to overcome. I know a number of children who attended expensive private schools in the UK who were unhappy, had issues both personally and academically and ultimately the school could not fix them or resolve them.


My husband attended Westminster here and we have friends who went back to teach there. We attend events there still and have it in mind for our son when the time comes. I know someone who used to work at the Wilderness school and who loved their time there, thinks its an amazing school and it is highly ranked also iirc but I can't speak of it personally. I know people with kids in various top 10 Adelaide private schools. All are happy with their choices it seems, no one is looking to move their children. Some are migrants from the UK, others from Adelaide.


What does your daughter want to do? Is she looking forward to moving to Australia and wanting to go? Or does she want to go to the school in the UK? And what makes you want to move to Adelaide if you don't mind me asking? You say you've been planning it a while but obviously went ahead and applied to UK schools for a reason even with a planned move on the cards.


Area wise, east and north east are probably your best bet. Living beach side would mean having to travel to most of the private schools that you would be looking at and I am not sure a 45 minute plus drive in rush hour would appeal in the long term. I don't think in some areas/suburbs you'll have change from Aus $1million for a house but you should be able to find something that suits. Adelaide does have some lovely leafy suburbs with large blocks and houses and good facilities. Norwood is always popular, Burnside, Glenunga, Tusmore. Then south of the parklands you've got Unley and areas around there. Also heading out to Magill, Rostrevor and around there. We have family in Magill and its increased in popularity in recent years and prices did seem to jump a fair bit.


In the hills I'd look to Stirling, Bridgewater and perhaps Clarendon way if that appeals. Stirling is a lovely hills town and not far from the city and access to schools though I cannot comment on travel in rush hour down to the school options. I love all three of those towns but they are different to each other, Stirling being the biggest and having more facilities, shops and lots of charm. We looked at a few properties there but could not find the one for us. Same with Bridgewater. Clarendon is probably where I would choose but that is because I love its location and size etc and don't mind driving into the outer lying suburbs for shopping and many other facilities. It is probably too small for many to want to consider though.

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Bottom line for me is if you are all happy in the UK and your reasons for migrating are in the 'better life' group or some such, you are probably better off staying in the UK. If you have other strong driving reasons for migrating, then pursue a move and research well. Have you been to Adelaide before? Do you have a good idea of what awaits you? Work, will that, could that be a major issue? Many factors contribute to a successful migration and its a huge commitment, if you are so definite on the education being the most important thing, then I'd think things through carefully.


Personally, I believe many more aspects of life other than the 'best school' contribute to a child's overall academic and personal achievements and I've said as much before. If you are hoping for a superior education than what is being offered in the UK, then I am not sure Adelaide is the place for your family. But if there are also other important driving reasons to make this move, if its been a long term plan, I'd think you could find an excellent school and area to live in. Others may say otherwise based on their not so good experiences of Adelaide though many others are happy here, have kids who have had or are having their education here who are very happy with things thank you. We all have our own experience of living here, some better than others. Ultimately its your decision and one you need to weigh up and arrive at in your own time.

Edited by snifter

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unfortunately (and this is perhaps a good thing for you) I have to comment that if your daughter has been accepted to one of the top schools in the UK, then anything in adelaide will simply amount to a severe limitation on her options, if she is your priority then you must stay with what you have already and know to be real, not something that might be in a place that may or may not be sub-standard to what you already have.


That's the best I can manage given my opinion with adelaide.

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