please tallk to me about moving to Sydney from London...and any advice about teaching there???(44 Posts)
DH is Aussie, from just outside Sydney. He has decided he has had enough of life here and wants to move home. We have 2 DDs (2 1/2 and 7 weeks) and are both teachers. We are looking into a visa for me and have got the girls their citizenship. It is really not clear how or if we could get jobs as teachers out there the NSW system seems mad. I am a head of English and he is a PE teacher - he doesn't think it will be easy for him to find work??
I want to move to Balmaine, where we have friends, or somewhere similar.
Have many reservations, many of which revolve around leaving my family and losing touch with them. As well as some not very well hidden snobbishness about lack of culture and that sort of thing.
All these decisions are pretty hard to make when you are cream crackered with a 7 week old baby, but with it taking 10/11 months to get a visa we need to start thinking now.
Any views, experiences, advice etc welcome.
I think if you are living near Balmain (which is super expensive by the way!) you are inner city and will have plenty of work options - even if it's a bit of travel. You probably more than him but you never know.
Culture- you have two young DC, that all goes out the window anyway )
he wants to move. Do you?
State schools are administered by the department, you apply to them directly and they place you based on where you choose to work and job availability BUT they work on a points system so nice/popular areas are next to impossible to get a job in as you wont have accrued the points. You would be able to get a job in the outer suburbs though.
Private schools are your best bet as you can apply directly to each school and positions are won by merit www.seek.com.au www.teachers.on.net/
Catholic schools are won by merit also but you apply through the catholic education office www.ceosyd.catholic.edu.au/Teachers/Pages/Home.aspx
That being said, if you are going to be snobbish, it will not go well for you. Australia has plenty of culture, but we are not English, nor European, we are Australian, and very proud of it.
The stereotypical complaint that Brits are whinging poms stems from ex pats complaining that we are not the same. This is a different country, it is big, hot and imo beautiful.
Allthteeways thank you that is really helpful! I've never wanted to teach in private school's and have been committed to state education, but u think private might have to be the answer and DH tells me it is not the same divisive a elitist system as it is here.
Soecialsubject I am totally torn down the middle and swing between the two. Would I go if DH wasn't Aussie, no, but I can see some major advantages. It's beautiful, better weather and lifestyle, got some really good friends there, DH's patents are really young and will be a great help with DDs. I like the idea of a more friendly place and being part of a community - London is not the friendliest place in the world to say the least. DH might be happier.
But don't want to leave my family, DD1 loves her cousins and my family will give the girls much more culturally and educationally - embarrassingly snobbish, but true. DH come from a not v nice western suburb and I don't want my DDs to grow up with the attitudes I've seen. Having said that we would live somewhere more central and cosmopolitan, so it wouldn't be such an issue I guess? I know not all Aussies are like that!
A mixture of exciting and terrifying...do hard to know what the right thing to do is. Going to be over for three weeks at easter, so will give it some more thought then I guess???
Your children will be your passport to friends in Australia, and your Dh is Australian, you should find it easier in some ways, but if you think Oz is friendlier than London, then think again. The weather is not a good reason for coming here.
If you want more money and better conditions of service, you'll be better off in the private sector, but will still need to be OK'd as teacher by the relevant NSW bods. Make sure your have paper copies of everything.
Once you're settled in an area, and registered, send your CV round to schools in the area; travel time is important, so you don't want to be hacking across the city.
I've no idea what the western suburbs are like in Sydney, but if they're anything like the ones in melbourne, I wouldn't want to live or work there. Check out pomsinoz.
Thanks etch, will do. Starting visa applications...quite exciting. But family don't want me to go!
We've been here 5 months now and love it. There are some things that are bloody expensive though.
It's a bit grim to say this but DO NOT COME if you're concerned about your relationship. You'll be stuck here until the dc are 18. See poor DollyDownUnders thread.
I'm Australian but lived for 12 years in London. I'm always really surprised by this idea that Australia is some sort of cultural wasteland and London is the only place in the world to have sophisticated, interesting people, events and activities. And I say this as person who loves London! If you are lucky enough to afford Balmain, you should easily be able to access these things, but could I suggest you be gentle on Australians you meet? Your hope of a friendly community vibe will disintegrate in front of you if you really hold onto this "embarassingly snobbish" attitude. Good luck with your decision.
There is a very strong netwook around and betweeen people who go to the elite private schools. Don't kid yourself about that!
Ghostie I could have written your post except that I'm the Aussie. I'm in Sydney at the moment on a reconnaissance mission to check out the teaching scene with a view to coming back to work.
I know for a fact that I won't get a job in central Sydney in the state system. Most newly qualified teachers hope to get casual work for the first year or two (or 5). There is not a shortage of teachers in the cities, but there is if you are willing to work in the western suburbs or south western suburbs of Sydney (and from Balmain, clawing your way through traffic in the morning to get to the M4 or M5, expect a commute in a car of at the very least an hour).
You can apply for private schools of course. SEEK etc have the ads but they don't have all of them - I've found others just by searching for the list of private schools and going through each website individually. But if you consider that there is not a shortage of teachers here in English or PE then you've got to be realistic and realise that there will be high competition from cheaper teachers with more relevant experience in the curriculum and system here.
To get your approval number from the Institute of Teachers you need to send off certified copies of degrees etc. Allow some time for that. If you want to register with the Department of Education allow a couple of months. Once approved on paper you will need to attend an interview here before you can apply for externally advertised or be placed. So you will need to get here before you can get a job.
I was chatting to a woman the other day who works in the Catholic system and she said that the approval number for the Cath system took a while as well.
It's really quite convoluted and tricky with little chance of easily finding a job that I'm seriously considering not even giving it a go. The dept told me my approval would take until term 3 (July) to get approved (this is so I can apply for jobs or go on the waiting list to be placed - which could be years, am English subject too). I've done most of the paperwork already (this includes statements of service from every employer and certified copies of all transcripts etc, quite onerous).
I've already resigned my job in the UK (oops) so it looks like I'm back to the drawing board. I'm not trying to put you off but just to make you aware that it is really quite difficult. For me the draw is friends and the weather. But I have no intention of being skint or have unreliable employment.
Aroomofherown this is what we feared and if we can.t get work, with 2 DDs, we just won't be able to make it work and go. DH feels a bit stuck and damned either way! We are heading out in march and hoping to make some contacts with teachers/see some schools, just to start to get an impression. We are going to do all the paper work along with my visa, as that will take 8-9 months anyway. The plan is to try and be there for Nov-Jan time. Just so weird and a bit depressing - makes the decision harder - it seems much easier and more straight forward system to teach here!
I am reading and have downloaded matterials from NSW board. I am just trying to find out about the Aussie herritage texts. Are there key texts I should read, you know like we all do 'Of Mice And Men' here?
Thanks for the advice!
DH and I are having lots of very frank and honest conversations comradejing
The main recruitment period for next academic year is around October so if you can get here slightly earlier than November I would.
There is a new Australian Curriculum which starts for Eng, Maths and Sci next year and from what I've read the choice of text is entirely up to each school. It's more skills based than content based in that regard. But it does mean that everyone is starting with a new curriculum so you can argue that it doesn't necessarily leave you behind.
I feel a bit stuck and damned either way too. I'm hoping I have some priority as:
1. I'm prepared to go out west (am single with no dependents, easier for me)
2. I worked for the dept 14 years ago for 3 years in a tough school so gained some transfer points, if they are still valid
3. I was a targeted graduate so went to top of the 'list' (but this may not apply anymore either)
I'm going to phone Teacher Recruitment either today or tomorrow to try and ascertain my chances, so I'll keep you posted. The pay as a classroom teacher is better than my pay as HOF here but the idea of going back to square one is a little demoralising. In the meantime, I'm going to apply for jobs in the UK and see if I land anything. Am officially unemployed as of 15 April so am really stuck.
The other difficult thing is that whilst I'm craving sunshine and a decent, outdoorsy lifestyle, I don't know if I'd get bored and feel out of the loop after a few years and get itchy feet again! And although you've had some comments about your not-so-hidden snobbishness, I feel a bit the same (and I grew up here!). It's certainly far more glitz than substance in terms of the culture in Sydney (I await my spanking for that comment ), but my individual friends are warm, friendly, forgiving and real. But all of this is a bit redundant anyway if you can't get a job!
I would seriously be checking out the price of things in Balmain though. Real Estate prices You might be able to live closer to the motorways for easy access to work but still not too far away from Balmain. You will most definitely need at least one car (check those out too, they are more expensive than in the UK Trading Post)
Good luck with it all.
The reasons why I'm a bit anti Balmain are that I've worked out western Sydney (where there was a job - and this was as a targeted graduate) and lived inner west Sydney and did the commute. I have spent a long time looking at maps to work out where I could live and still manage to get to work in around an hour (or less). I ended up in Leichhardt as it was close to Parramatta Rd which takes you out west. Even Newtown was too far to get to Parramatta Rd in the morning. Plus I just couldn't afford Balmain, as much as I'd love living there.
I know it is just so frustrating! I too am a HOF and have a massive department (19 of us) but I can't decide if I am happier going back a step, with two small DDs, or whether I am totally screwing up my career. I am still pretty young, so it is not necessarily the end of the world.
But, DH is just so miserable! Everything 'in this country' is 'SHIT'. Weather - shit. Teaching - shit. Housing and prospect of ever buying anywhere - shit...I could go on!
We've been looking at properties and some of our good friends are sending us links to some prosperities I'd be happy to live in. I know that the cost of living is high though. Also DH's dad works for Ford, so I am hoping we will be able to sort us out on that front.
It is funny, there was a big bit of me that didn't/doesn't want to go...but it is interesting what the prospect of not being able to go means.
I'll be interested to hear what teacher recruitment say...we might be competing for jobs!
What about going halfway... job in an international school in Asia?
Could you take a sabbatical for a year? We've just come back from oz after being there for two years, and I was/am pleased to be home.
Not that Australia isn't beautiful because bits of it are, it just wasn't home.
However what if you get there and your dh is chuffed to be back and you hate it? You would be there until the dc are 18 due to The Hague convention.
Be careful and cautious, have you been back recently? It is expensive out there, much more so than the uk.
My tuppence worth, about approval to teach, is 15 years old but is likely to be relevant still I'd have thought. When I was on a working holiday I spent 6 months processing the year's teaching graduates' applications to teach, at the NSW Dept of School Ed as it was then. One of the first things was checking each paper application for inconsistencies and imcomplete/missing items, and the academic transcripts. I know that some overseas qualified people were asked to go back to uni to complete a module in some subject or other before they were approved, as although the overall teaching qualification was recognised, the Dept required a broader spread of courses/modules studied at uni than was the case in the original countries. So for example even an English teacher might be told to go and do a maths or science related module at uni first... So, I'm no expert on things as they are today but perhaps when you are in Oz for your visit you could bring your transcript and see if there is any way that you could get someone at the Dept to say if you'd likely be approved as is, or if you'd need to go and do extra courses first. (Hope not!)
CornishMade...Crap! I can't even remember what modules I studied at uni! And I never had a transcript, I just have an overall certificate with the degree level I was awarded and the same for my post grad/dip and my PGCE...just didn't think it would be this bloody hard...arrgh!
Also, I've found the board of eds list of suggeted texts for study. There is a lot there that is new to me, some I've obviously read and taught. What I wanted to know is there some classic or text that many schools teach, which I should start with reading? You know like most people teach 'Of Mice and Men'?
Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (play) and Ruth Park's Poor Man's Orange (novel) were the classic Australian texts when I was an English student. I'd be surprised if SOTSD wasn't still required reading, but maybe things are totally different now. I have a 17 year old niece doing her final year in Perth if you'd like me to ask?
Right. So I've lost my 12 transfer points.
Ghostie they asked for a transcript of all of my university courses so see if you can get hold of that.
When I taught English we were pretty free to select whichever texts ie the topic was Obsession so we could do any text that dealt with that. I think it will depend on the school and English department you get into.
Staffing just told me that most of the jobs gained on merit (ie Head of Department (called Headteacher here) are advertised on nswdet jobs website, but then went on to tell me that principals sometimes ask for a match from the Staffing unit depending on the subject/skills codes and area codes you have put in, so in that case we won't even get a look in at gaining a job on merit. Crazy system because it will just depend on who is at the top of that list, so put in as many codes as you can get away with.
Still worth checking out the nswdet jobs portal though.
I inclining towards the UK if I can get a job there for September. I don't feel confident, basically I'm screwed.
I just had an overall grad cert from uni too, and had never even heard of a transcript before, until I started doing that job! It is more standard here I think (I'm living in Oz now). However perhaps UK unis are doing it more now too? I am currently just looking to get back into the workforce and something I looked at mentioned transcripts. So I went to my old uni site and they talk about getting both certs and transcripts at the grad ceremony. And you could order copies of transcripts online for a tenner, which I have now done. (Although for mine I think they will have to open old filing boxes in the basement and manually write one out, rather than just clicking 'print'!!! ) But I would seriously suggest you try and find out if you'd be needing to do extra courses to qualify here.
Also, re popularity of location... all the talk when I was at the dept was of the hugely long waiting list for jobs (apart from subjects with a real shortage of grads), as all the new grads/new arrivals just wanted to work in the Sydney area/other NSW main centres. So for popular subjects there could be many years' wait for a permanent job, unless you were willing to go rural/outback. In the meantime it was casual/relief, or private.
Really not trying to be negative here for you, just make you aware of the facts so you're prepared.
So basically put as wide a geographic spread as possible in your location choices. Newcastle/Lake Mac is a lovely place to live! (But it's not outback, so not sure about waiting lists for here either.)
It took me 18 months to get my teacher approval for Victoria. I needed a transcript, which I had to apply to my university to get, a reference for my first job, a character reference from an Australian who I had known for longer than I had been here....many, many complicated things!
In Victoria, you can't teach if you have done the three year degree, you have to do another year.
Then I had to go on a course that they only hold once a year with only 20 places on it. The whole thing was a struggle. I got there in the end though.
I registered with VIT and it took about 2 months, but I had 3 years degree +1 year PGCE. The transcript is not as fearsome as it sounds, it's just an account from your uni about what was studied in your degree, i.e. a unit on the American novel in Year 3. Essentially it's your uni verifying what you've done, as opposed to your version --pack of lies-- Just phone up your uni - they get these calls all the time, and mine was lovely.
The Oz authorities want authenticated copies of original documents. You will be amused to know that a teacher is not important enough to sign such a document, but a police officer/pharmacist IS.
As noted upthread, there is tremendous freedom in choice of texts, and because all texts are bought by the parents, one is not curtailed by the contents of the stock cupboard, as in the UK. In Victoria, once you hit the last year of study in secondary, texts are from a list, but it's waaaay longer than any UK one, and each text drops off the list after 4 years max. It's interesting, but exhausting.
< waves at savoy >
My VIT took so long that it was dated June on the card and November on the letter, even though the letter and the card were 'as one' being printed on the same paper. It felt like jumping through hoops of fire.
Twas worth it so I can say 'in your best Victorian handwriting' though.
Oh no aroomofherown bugger! I have just sent off and emailed round for my transcripts from my unis, but I fear this may scupper me again. My degree made me a bit of jack of all trades and master of none! I majored in history, but did a bit of ethics, film, history, English lit and politics and so on. I then did a PG Dip in Journalism and a PGCE in English...I fear that they will not accept me and then we will hit another dead end! I think I will email/phone them.
I feel really sorry for DH, as it feels like the decision is being taken out of our hands and although I am not totally decided about going, it does feel like it should be easier than this!
If we are able to get out there I am pretty decided on working in a private school, to try and work round what seems (to a Pomie) like a really weird system.
I would also look carefully at your DH, if he thinks everything in the UK is shit, he will be taking that attitude with him. You can't really run away from your problems, just move them with you.
Do think carefully about what would happen if you split up, you and the DC will be stuck in Australia.
Working overseas for a bit might be a nice half-way house, a good chance for adventure and a better climate. As well as a good stress test on your relationship (as well as sounding more practical at present).
Let us know how you get on with everything, Ghostie.
Ghostie I think you'll be ok if you have a PG in Journalism. Check this out www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Teaching-in-NSW/Subject-Content-Requirements-abridged/
For approval with the NSW Institute of Teachers (required to teach anywhere) then you just need to send off your qualifications, not transcripts. I'm also a jack of all, master of none, so this should work for me (fingers crossed). i'm applying for work through an agency who deals with independent schools as then I don't need to even think about the sodding department of education.
Failing that, I'm going to take it as a sign I should leave teaching altogether.
ARoom -another Aussie here! I taught ten years ago in oz and returning later this year to teach. Taught on and off between DC here in uk.
So will be going through same process as you, is it really bad? I have my head in the sand about it all???
Why do they still not recognise your transfer points?
Been out of this a couple of days, DD1 has flu
But I have now sent off to all my unis for transcripts <more money > and emailed the NSW board. I am hoping that the journalism will count in my favour - it did over here. I have 3 year degree, plus one year post grad, and my PGCE - can't want another full year of study surely! Anyway I've emailed them to check what the situation is. I will let you know what they say.
Really sweet our friends in Sydney are emailing us with any jobs they come across in the area. But roomofherown, what agency are you using would be really helpful to know?
please please do a quick online shop with Coles or Woolies. Just so you know that you are going to earn enough not to be miserable.
<copyright the voice of doom>
A friend of mine married an Australian, they agreed to do 5 years in uk, five in Aus and decide which they prefer. Seems a bit less scary IMO.
I never meant it would be another full year of study - just that sometimes the dept required an extra course as in module, something that would be done part time over one term or something. I'm sure you'll be fine with private, but you might want to check with dept. just so you know, in case.
Comradejing DH is keen on the halfway idea, if all else fails. I think that he is keen to go to Singapore of Dubai or somewhere as we could get quite a lot of money behind us for a couple of years - we know people who have done this. But, we have two small DDs and I am not keen to not be near either of our families.
NaturalBlondeyearhright we are def discussing doing a few years "with a view to permenance" as I need to feel like it is not forever and I can come home if I want to and we have had some very frank discussions about this. I am for a family with a lot of divorce. In his family it is unheard of and we are both determind this won't happen to us (although I am sure this is ture for everyone - even my parents once!) but watching Child Of Our Time last night those kids broke my heart and I really can't stand the idea of that happening to my girls and nor could DH. You're right though VERY scary!!!
Sconeinsixtyseconds I know how expensive it is our friends who moved back said that they felt they were going to go bankrupt at first, until they'd been earning Aussie $ for a while and then it was all relative. I couldn't believe the price of bananas (the only fruit DD1 will eat at the moment) was last time we were there.
Cornishmade and a roomofherown, I heard back from the board and they said I just had to submit my application and qualifications and they will assess me, so we are going to start all the paperwork this weekend and see how we get on! At least if all the paperwork for teaching and visas is in then we can start making a more balanced decision when we hear back from them.
It is less than three weeks now until we leave for Oz and we'll be there for three weeks...so it will be a really good oportunity for us to get our heads round stuff and investigate more...I'll let you know!
Aroomofherown any more luck for you?
Hi there, I moved to Sydney last year and completed the registration process with the NSW department of education. The process is just as most people have said, you need to have everything with you, then when you get here you need to get copies of everything, your original degree certificate, your transcript, etc., and get it signed by a justice of the peace and send it all off. Once they have your documentation they decide what you will teach, for me it was straightforward, I have an English degree and a PGCE, so I was fine. Then you have to do an orientation course, two days at Blacktown, and a week's placement in a school, they will place you somewhere near to where you live.
After that, you have to do an interview. Mostly a formality, really, then you're able to teach, but, the process of placing teachers in school is extremely complicated. It works on a first come first served basis. When you start the process and fill in the forms on line, they will ask you to click areas where you want to teach. Then when you get your approval to teach, you go on a waiting list. If a job comes up in a school you have chosen, and you're the next in line, then you automatically get the job, no interview, nothing. Problem is, the queue is very long. For schools in Sydney, the waiting can be up to ten years in some suburbs. So most teachers do relief teaching. If you're willing to work in a school out in the middle of nowhere, you have a higher chance of getting a full time position.
In my case, I did all that, then got pg, had a baby and moved to Brisbane, so I have no experience of working in a school in Sydney. The process is long and pointlessly complicated, but I started the process in September and I was ready to teach in January, so not too bad. Good luck, and if you need any more info feel free to pm me
Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay, flew back from Sydney last week and had a Challenge Partner Review on my first two days back, including an observation and an interview. Gah!
Anyway, I've not done anything about my paperwork. I have to send copies to the NSW Institute of Teachers for a number. The recruitment consultancy emailed me to ask details about when I was arriving and where I was happy to work etc. Don't know if this is allowed on MN but the agency is Smart Teachers. They deal with independent and catholic schools.
I've decided I want to live in rural NSW now so I'm just going to head there and try for supply teaching, and maybe working a bit here and there as something else as well. I'm not fussed about taking a year to settle in and have no pressure to have a teaching career for a while.
newbie - they said that the system changed in 2005 so the points aren't valid anymore. I don't know how they managed that if people were still working for the dept and had accumulated loads of points. The process is pretty nightmarish so my advice is to give yourself about 4 or 5 months to get it all done.
Ghostie - glad they will take just your degrees. In any case you are getting your transcripts now too! (sorry!)
Whitewine did they pay you for the week's placement in a school?!
Aroom, no you don't get paid, you're there to observe, and you have to be observed teaching a few classes and have a report written up on you. Honestly, it was like being a student again, I got a bit depressed about it all, like the ten years experience I have means nothing. I even had to teach a few classes on the Friday afternoon while the teacher I was assigned to went off early for "an appointment", so they got a half day's relief teaching from me for free!
The independent and Catholic schools have a process as well, at least, the Catholic ones do, I didn't end up doing it, but I remember getting a letter about going online and completing some online training thing. They all ask, when you apply to work, if you are approved to teach with the department of ed., so it's worth doing it, even if you don't end up teaching in a state school. You'll meet other teachers from overseas in the same boat as you, in any case. You'll have an easier time of it teaching in rural NSW, I think. The institute is something I couldn't work out either. You have to be registered with them, pay $100 a year, and that's it, as far as I could see. Good luck!
Oh, and regarding the teaching agencies- I did sign up with a few, but they mostly do primary schools. No harm in registering, randstadd is another one. But the woman who ran our course said the best way to get work is to go in person round to all the schools in your area with your cv. She also gave us some really good pointers about the cv format as well.
Also be careful about what you put down on your cv regarding subjects you can teach. You can only mention things that you have an actual qualification in; for example if you have experience in teaching another subject, like RE, or History, you can say that in cv's in the uk, but here they require a qualification. But if you do the course you'll get all that explained to you.
The bloody cheek of them - getting you to supply teach for free!
It is really demoralising when you have taught for years and have respect here in a very demanding system. I fear that because I only did 2 years of English at uni I won't get re-registered.
Also I've been asked to apply for a Deputy position in a well paid and interesting school here in Europe. Makes the hassle re NSW seem very belittling.
Join the discussion
Please login first.