Aussie schools - air con?

(15 Posts)
ravenousbugblatterbeast Sun 26-Feb-12 22:20:37

This is the first of what will no doubt be many pleas for information, as I've just been offered a job in Perth and am waiting for the employer to do their 457 bit. shock

We're looking at settling north of the river, somewhere between Karrinyup, Sorrento/Kallaroo and Quinns Rocks. There are obviously a fair number of primary schools - DS is 9 so will be in year 4 and we're trying to narrow down schools. Obviously if any Perth mums have any recommendations re. specific state schools to focus on, that would be great, but in the mean time, we're focusing on schools which have air conditioned classrooms. This narrows our search, but I think it'll be important for DS in settling, as it's obviously quite a bit warmer in Perth than here in the UK and he has difficulty concentrating in the UK as it is. Duncraig looks good, with a few primaries to consider, such as Poynter and Duncraig PS with air con, but it's obviously so difficult making a judgment from so far away!

Am I being deeply PFB about this, and possibly excusing some great schools, or is it a reasonable place to start?

Cheers all.!

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shellybr Sun 26-Feb-12 23:34:43

My ds is at Hillarys PS and they have most of the school airconed. His classroom is brand new so it has it, other parts of the school aren;t so new so the classrooms have it and they are working on getting it for the computer room. The gov doesn't think the aircon is a nesseccity so the P&C raise money for it. It will depend where you can get a rental to what school but the sorrento/Hillarys/Kallaroo/Duncraig areas are all good. SOrry have a cranky 2yr lod pulling at me

roary Mon 27-Feb-12 04:59:14

Hi there, we moved Oxford to Perth in November and live in the western suburbs. No, you are not being PFB: it can be 40 degrees in February and March here and that's too hot for most kids to concentrate, even if they are WA born and raised; but your kids will have never experienced anything like the heat here and they will struggle at first, but they will also adjust. That being said my air conditioning at work has been on the blink for much of Jan/Feb and I can't work or concentrate, so I find it amazing kids could! Old Perth types, including my MIL, always will tell you something like "we didn't have it at all in the old days and kids were always just fine, no one even had it at home!"

My counterargument that people didn't have indoor toilets and you don't really need them either fell on stony ground ;)

I don't know the NOR area well but I have also heard Duncraig is good. Have you been to Perth yet? ARe you wedded to those suburbs? I only ask because so many British migrants end up there and there are lots of other places that are worth exploring and may expand your options a bit.

ravenousbugblatterbeast Mon 27-Feb-12 10:23:23

Yes, we visited Perth last year. My job is based in the Whitford area, which is why we're looking at the area we are.

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pimmsgalore Mon 27-Feb-12 10:54:31

no input on the Australia options but would say you are not being PFB. We lived in southern US for 2 years and my 4 DCs arrived in August and were glad to get to school as it was over 40 deg most days, the state we were in change their holidays so the DCs are in A/C classrooms for the hottest period of the year as many homes don't have it shock. They didn't even allow the DCs out to play in the heat. My DC did adjust and were incredibly cold when we came back to the UK but I would say if the school has no A/C then don't go there, it can only help in him settling in

ravenousbugblatterbeast Mon 27-Feb-12 12:56:41

Thanks all.

Shellybr - you mentioned it depends where we get a rental, but we won't get a 6 month rental until DS has started at school (much as he would like to take a month or more off before he starts...) We're going to email our shortlisted (a/c) schools to ask about admissions and to explain that in all likelihood we physically cannot be in a long term rental before enrolling him, although we would obviously make every effort to find a property close by, and to ask what their take is.

This job offer has taken us by surprise so we haven't saved as much money as we would like, so we're looking to be as economical as possible re housing, wanting to rent at $400 pw ideally, and to spend as little time as possible in expensive holiday rental initially.

Does anyone know of a cheap (but cheerful!) holiday rental, or even anyone with an annexe or wanting housesitters in end June/July? We'll be police checked and everything!

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roary Tue 28-Feb-12 05:27:01

Ravenous, try Poms in Oz or Perth Poms to check on housesitting options...can't hurt!

Schools will be understanding about your situation, as it's quite common, but do be prepared for the fact that depending on the year of entry you're talking about the school might take them for one year but not guarantee the place for the next (eg, dd was offered a kindy place at one school but they warned us she would probably not get a kindy place for pre-primary if we moved out of the area). Very good (oversubscribed) schools in Perth apparently do this so you should add to your email what happens if you move.

You're wise to avoid the pricey holiday rental, can your employer offer you any transit housing support? How big a place do you want? $400/wk in Perth is a very small budget and as I'm sure you've heard it can be difficult to secure a rental from overseas, people show up to viewings here with applications filled out, deposit ready, and offer more than the weekly rental for good places. It's brutal. Have you seen the government schools website, that goes through all the results. As I mentioned though I think Duncraig is meant to be good; City Beach is excellent although might be too far south for you and the catchment/moving issue might rear its head.

(Dd's school is GREAT, and they have a lot of kids who are commuting to it, but it might be really inconvenient depending on where your partner is working - pm me if you want details)

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ravenousbugblatterbeast Tue 28-Feb-12 07:23:35

Ah, that makes the catchment issue clearer, thanks.

Rental wise we want 3 beds max, with air con. We realise we're looking at an older property or something further out towards Quinns Rocks, but we do have a little bit of wriggle room on rent, I'm just trying to manage DH's expectations, as he wants us to settle in the dream Aussie house, and I simple don;t want to go bankrupt! At least although renting per 6 months is disruptive but we can move up as we can afford it.

We've looked at the school results - ACARA is it? It's just been updated with 2011 results too. I'll look at City Beach too, thanks for that.

Any more Perth mums with schools to recommend/avoid? Feel free to PM me. Also, do you REALLY have to pay $18 for a school polo shirt??? [Faints]

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roary Tue 28-Feb-12 07:48:04

If you are renting 6 monthly and arriving in June you could always go without a/c but then you would definitely have to move in December! Also, you will get a better price if you can commit to a year and rent on the spot. You might do better to go in to very temp accommodation, secure a year lease when here, and save yourself a lot of money over the year.

ravenousbugblatterbeast Tue 28-Feb-12 07:56:31

Yes, that's the plan, but we need to get the (very) temp accommodation down to a minimum period as it's about $700 a week. DH is currently stressing about the letting agents' bunfight, but someone's got to get each house, right?? We're a small family (in number, not particularly stature!) looking for a smaller house, and in the winter as well, so hopefully it won't be quite as manic..

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roary Tue 28-Feb-12 09:17:11

Never underestimate the manic: it may not be as bad as you fear but it is best to have budgeted for the worst case scenario. A friend of ours searching for a flat for 2 people just had 5 applications before she was succesful. And winter is not better than summer; don't forget that Dec and Jan are dead here because it is like August in the UK!

It is much easier when you are on the spot. I think it's pretty much impossible from overseas.

oldnewmummy Wed 29-Feb-12 05:38:50

No idea about air con, but Duncraig High School has a good reputation. Although you're only looking at Primary at the moment, you'll want to get into a catchment for a good secondary, as you may be too late to get into a private secondary. (It seems that a lot of the state primaries are good, but there are problems with some of the high schools. See British Expats website for lots of discussion on this.)

shellybr Wed 29-Feb-12 12:19:17

Most schools will ask you for a rental agreement before they will offer a place. Once you are in their catchment area they have to make room for you. Our school had 30 new families arrive over the Christmas Holidays. We were lucky and got the second house we saw which was great cause it was the one we wanted.

ravenousbugblatterbeast Wed 29-Feb-12 22:09:27

Thank you all again. I've read about someone putting a rental package together, which profiled the renting family, with ID, references (eg from agent in UK saying how nice house was when they left it), as well as copy of visa, job offer, and utility bills and mortgage statements, as well as bank statement showing funds in the bank to cover bond and rent. Does that sound reasonable? Would police checks be over-egging it, if we get them even if they're not required by the visa.

That's a good point about secondary schools, we'll cross reference the primaries to see where they feed.

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shellybr Fri 02-Mar-12 05:31:51

You fill out an application for the house you want and on ours we put loads how we wanted a house for at least a year and went into detail about husbands job and the company he worked for as well as his salary. We are in the catchment for Duncraig HS which has a great name. Woodvale HS has a good name and Ocean Reef HS has an alright rep further north then that most people try to send the kids private as Clarkson HS etc have not very good reps. If you can commit to a lease of a year you will find it easier to find a rental as the landlords don't really want the hassle of finding tenants every few months.

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