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please tallk to me about moving to Sydney from London...and any advice about teaching there???

(44 Posts)
Ghostie Fri 15-Feb-13 17:43:43

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.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 16-Feb-13 20:45:44

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 sad)

specialsubject Sat 16-Feb-13 20:58:27

he wants to move. Do you?

AllThreeWays Sat 16-Feb-13 21:07:44

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
Catholic schools are won by merit also but you apply through the catholic education office

AllThreeWays Sat 16-Feb-13 21:24:25

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.

Ghostie Sun 17-Feb-13 11:33:36

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 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???

echt Sun 17-Feb-13 20:10:07

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.

Ghostie Thu 21-Feb-13 09:41:00

Thanks etch, will do. Starting visa applications...quite exciting. But family don't want me to go!

ComradeJing Thu 21-Feb-13 11:28:40

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.

kday Fri 22-Feb-13 15:52:04

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.

saffronwblue Sat 23-Feb-13 23:27:29

There is a very strong netwook around and betweeen people who go to the elite private schools. Don't kid yourself about that!

aroomofherown Sun 24-Feb-13 11:51:49

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.

Ghostie Sun 24-Feb-13 15:54:45

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

aroomofherown Sun 24-Feb-13 20:17:58

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 wink), 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.

aroomofherown Sun 24-Feb-13 20:24:11

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.

Ghostie Sun 24-Feb-13 20:33:08

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! wink

ComradeJing Sun 24-Feb-13 21:26:24

What about going halfway... job in an international school in Asia?

SconeInSixtySeconds Sun 24-Feb-13 21:33:55

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.

CornishMade Mon 25-Feb-13 10:58:41

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!)

Ghostie Mon 25-Feb-13 14:32:53

CornishMade...Crap! I can't even remember what modules I studied at uni! blush 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!

Ghostie Mon 25-Feb-13 14:38:35

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'?

kday Mon 25-Feb-13 14:57:35

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?

aroomofherown Mon 25-Feb-13 22:39:13

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.

CornishMade Tue 26-Feb-13 01:00:58

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'!!! grin) 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.

CornishMade Tue 26-Feb-13 01:04:56

So basically put as wide a geographic spread as possible in your location choices. Newcastle/Lake Mac is a lovely place to live! smile (But it's not outback, so not sure about waiting lists for here either.)

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