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Moving to Sydney in July HELP!!!!!!!!

(28 Posts)
Backrow8 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:43:56

This is a huge subject I have discovered reading all the posts, and this is my first ever post on any website I was so relieved to find a sensible site. I need help with the schools subject and areas to live.
we want to become part of a community and really get to know Sydney. We are being transferred to Sydney in July from a small Yorkshire Village in England I have a10 year old son and a 7 year old daughter and after a meltdown looking on these school league tables and I decided the best place to turn is to the mums who have already been through this. Unfortunately all the other employees have chosen Private schools and moved into the North Shore adn I admit I maybe a bit put off private schools from my Uk experiences but it does seem to defeat the object of being in another country.Does anyone have any suggstions for a good Gov school not necessarily top of the league tables but with caring and supportive culture.
Thank you from a very flustered Mum

chloeb2002 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:44:58

Hello... From a fellow Yorkshire expat. I was originally in Sydney before seeing the light and moving up to Brisbane. wink We were in the west.. Camden Picton area, maybe too far out for you but lovely! Sorry but if you can use the private system, use it. Not like the uk private system but the public system isn't the uk one either! Sure a Sydney sider will be on with better advice! You may need to say where dh is working etc. Cbd? Or else where? I also love bulli as a place to visit. That would be on my choices list!

Backrow8 Sat 27-Apr-13 09:04:43

Thank you I felt such a rush of relief when I saw someone had answered.
I would love to live in Brisbane I used to live there a long time ago up in Rosalie , unfortunately we have to stay in or around the main office which is in Sydney central. I need to learn how everyone does smiley faces

Backrow8 Sat 27-Apr-13 09:12:58

Any Sydney locals with advice ?

PeppaPigsMum Sat 27-Apr-13 15:41:19

Hi there! We have been in Sydney for 7 years and really love it here. My first question would be - where will you need to travel to for work, as that will play a big part in the decision as to where you are going to live? Also, do you want to be in a more urban area or out of the city. And what sort of salary will you be looking at? Is this a short-term stay for you (1-2 years) or are you thinking of staying longer? sorry for all the questions smile.

I live on the Northern Beaches, which is suburban, but very beautiful and relaxed. It's also expensive! You are paying for the proximity the beach (and there are a lot of really lovely ones here) and a bit of space. My dcs go to the local state school (confusingly called public schools over here) and I am more than happy with it. In our area I don't think you can go wrong with any of the local primary schools. People's views vary greatly when it comes to high school though - many people I know wouldn't contemplate the state schools, but I haven't really worked out why as they seem fine to me. I have other friends who have kids who are happy and doing well in the state system at this level. I have come to the conclusion that it is just the area I live in - lots of money around and people who have gone through private school themselves so want that for their kids. I may have a rude awakening when I get to that stage, but will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Another thing with the schools here is that if you live in the catchment area they have to take you, and most kids at public school go to their local school. It seems really stress-free compared to the hoops and anxiety that seems to be associated with school places in the UK. They have only very recently started school tables I think, but in all honesty I think most people just go to their local school without looking at them around here anyway.

Hope all the planning is going well - I'm off to bed now, but will check in again tomorrow.

Backrow8 Sat 27-Apr-13 22:56:06

Thank you I really am so grateful . So nice to see a reply. The northern beaches sound beautiful and look very good on the Internet, I see what you mean about rents though enough to make your eyes water.
Very reassuring about schools and I think we are trying to do too much to soon . I have had 3 lots of major surgery in the last 6 months and maybe I need to just deal with the packing and what will be will be when we get to sydney. If anyone knows of anyone with a house to let for a min 12 month let in the northern beaches we would be very interested. The draw back is we have two dogs which when we are head to head with other tenants I worry we will not get a look in. Again thank you just being able to voice my concerns calms you down. Any other advice on schools and school differences I.e lunches etc.. Is very very much appreciated. Z

SavoyCabbage Sat 27-Apr-13 23:06:40

When we moved to Melbourne, we looked at where my dh's job was and decided how he was going to get there (train) and then started looking at schools that were in suburbs that were on that train line. Just to narrow the area down. Looking at a whole city is impossible.

Then we started reading schools websites. Some you can rule out from there. Then my dh then came over, started the job and looked at schools. He found one he liked and then went to the estate agents and rented a house in that area. Then we came over.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 27-Apr-13 23:11:56

School lunches -unless things have changed its mainly packed lunches and a walk up canteen -menu varies with each school.

Northern beaches is gorgeous you couldn't go wrong -but do look at commenting options-further up you go a lot longer bus ride. (No other options except ferry if going via manly) although some buses are express from Narrabeen or mona vale so worth looking close to these.
Primary state schools are generally pretty good.
What other areas of Sydney?
North shore also good and schools good too.
Sutherland shire bit further but maybe cheaper?

What interests you? The family?
Might influence areas suited to you.

Backrow8 Sat 27-Apr-13 23:23:38

My turn to go to bed have a good day . (Wink)

PeppaPigsMum Sun 28-Apr-13 00:45:48

I see you need to be able to get to Sydney central. Well, if you were thinking of the Northern beaches I wouldn't go any higher than Dee Why and I would definitely take the ferry across from Manly - lots of people cycle or bus down to Manly then ferry across. The bus trip to the city at rush hour is SLOW - it can be around an hour or more from Dee Why. Any further up the beaches would be a nightmare. We ended up living here because dh's job is in the area, so no commute.

You might want to look at the train lines and look at places along them as SavoyCabbage did. I also knew someone who lived in Hornsby who loved it - very green, but further from the beach. The train lines go down south into Sutherlandshire as well. Worth thinking about. Then there are some lovely suburbs very close to the city such as Balmain and Coogee. Afraid I can't help with schools in any of these places, but I know they are nice to live in.

Dogs might be a bit of a problem with rental I'm afraid. There is a huge shortage of rentals Sydneywide, particularly houses, which has pushed the cost of rents sky high and made competition very fierce. They have open days on Wednesdays and Saturdays when anyone who is interested goes to look at the property at a specific time and picks up an application form, then you fill it in and pass it on to the estate agent and they get to pick who the successful applicant is. To be honest there's not a lot you can do about rentals until you get here apart from choosing which area you think you want to live in...

saffronwblue Sun 28-Apr-13 00:54:07

I am sure you know that your dogs will have to be housed in quarantine ( at your expense) for some time on arrival.

PeppaPigsMum Sun 28-Apr-13 03:00:28

oh, another thing I've just thought of in relation to schools - if you are on a temporary visa (like a 457) then you will be liable to pay $4,500 per child for them to attend public school. As far as I'm aware this needs to be paid upfront and your dcs won't be able to start until it has been paid. This is a NSW thing - doesn't seem to apply to anywhere else in Oz.

In addition to this you will get an invoice each term for things like music lessons, pottery, various classroom textbooks etc. And we have to provide all pencils, textas, glue sticks, scissors etc (we get a list at the beginning of the year with supplies to buy and you need to keep this stocked up as things run out or get lost). Not sure if this differs a lot from the UK.

SavoyCabbage Sun 28-Apr-13 03:59:25

My friend payed $12,000 to get her dog in! Her dh's company payed half fortunately. I have to say, it really did make it hard for her to get a rental property and they ended up having to get one from a friend of someone she worked with who was going traveling round Australia for a year.

Like Peppa, lots of my friends wouldn't consider state schools for Secondary. I think it's because there are so many 'tiers' to the Secondary system. There's the very, very expensive Private schools, then the ordinary Private Schools and then there's the schools that you have to pay a smaller fee too. Like $4000, as a 'contribution'.

That leaves the ordinary state schools at the bottom of the pack really.

WhereNext Sun 28-Apr-13 10:40:52

The eastern suburbs are an amazing place to live. All the local public primaries are good (Randwick, Coogee, Clovelly) and have to take you if you are in catchment. On a 457 you have to pay as others have said. High school is a different matter, no one sends their kids to public high school here, and schools are single sex, I'm not sure what I would do for high school here. It is expensive here, we live in a 2 bed flat, but we are minutes away from beautiful beaches and parks which makes up for it smile

PeppaPigsMum Sun 28-Apr-13 13:47:36

Something I just thought of unrelated to schools or where to live - BRING WARM CLOTHES! You would be surprised how cold it can feel inside during the winter months. These houses are built to lose heat during the warmer months and many rentals have no heating. We rely on electric heaters that we bring in from the garage when it gets cold. If you're lucky you'll have a gas heater or ducted heating. If you're in a higher-end rental or modern house then it may not get as cold, but every rental I have lived in has felt very cold over winter.

You might not need a very warm coat - my dcs wear hoodies and a hat and are fine - but you will need layers and warm jumpers when you're at home. And warm PJs. And blankets (I have just pulled out the blankets that sit on our sofa over winter - much needed in the evening when we're relaxing). I only mention it because it was something that surprised me the first winter we were here, and many of our friends and family back home imagine it is warm all the time. Oh yes, and bring wellies and raincoats too - when it rains in Sydney it really rains smile.

Sharksandfishes Sun 28-Apr-13 13:54:31

Just marking my place to reply tomorrow, I'm just going to bed! grin
I'm on the northern beaches too, we have been here nearly 3 years, I have lts of advice!

PeppaPigsMum Sun 28-Apr-13 13:54:53

How many times can I use the word cold in one paragraph?! Can you tell I'm starting to think about how cold it's going to feel in a couple of months...

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 28-Apr-13 14:07:43

I grew up in Sydney. As others have said, public (state) primary schools are generally good, it's rare for people to pay for their kids to attend primary. But high schools are a real lottery. My local state high school when I was growing up was appalling so my parents paid for private. A good option if your DCs can get in is one of the selective state high schools - they are like grammar schools ie higher academic standard but have an entrance exam eg look up North Sydney Girls.

Re location, it really depends on what you like. Public transport almost everywhere is pretty atrocious, so assume you'll be driving places. The only real exception is if you're close to a train station on the North Shore line or in the Eastern Suburbs. The beaches are great, I prefer the Northern Beaches as they're less built up but bear in mind the awful traffic trying to get into or out of the northern beaches in rush hour (Manly as someone said is the exception due to the ferry - bits of it are quite rough but aim for the Balgowlah/Seaforth end and it's ok). If you have some more criteria on how you want to choose location I could suggest other areas.

Backrow8 Mon 29-Apr-13 21:54:54

Wow thank you everyone
Got it don't throw puffa coat or hats away and bring all my blankets one of which I am wrapped in as I write this.
Work out what distance /commuting we are prepared to do and work within that range where possible.
I understand now why there are so many independent schools in Sydney I was blown away when I started looking at the league tables.
I have been told that the rental market is moving so fast that we will be lucky to get a house with the dogs in tow. They are arriving 8 weeks after us in September. If anyone knows of a friend or colleague who is considering renting a 4 bed house out we can provide mortgage references and the company is paying for the rent, both dogs are brilliant and have competed all over the country in working trials and obedience so promise won't cause any problems.
I hope we will manage to get in to the Northern Shore are so again any advice on tha area really really welcome.
Do you know until I started this post I was just filled with dread at the whole moving scenario, not coming to Sydney but just all the upheaval .
Now having heard from all you lovely people I now feel excited. Thank you.

Backrow8 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:13:31

Looking forward to your advice sharksandfishes

Backrow8 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:24:55

Just thought of something else before bed !!!
The rest will hit me at 3am
What if any are mums experiences or knowledge of the following schools which have Ben recommended .
Pittwater house
Oxford falls
St Luke's
Northern beaches Christian ?
Have to say the odd glass or 2 certainly helps before bed at the moment.
Dressings and stitches out tomorrow wish me luck. (Thanks)
Hey look at that have learnt how to do smiley faces our lasses.

Backrow8 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:28:07

So possibly the wine doesn't help just found and extra bit to my iPad keyboard I didn't know existed . Lets try again wine and thank you thanks

PeppaPigsMum Tue 30-Apr-13 05:20:45

'Bring warm clothes and blankets' is my mantra for anyone I have spoken to about to make the move to Sydney. I have never felt so unrelentingly cold as that first winter I was here - it made an impression!

I have no personal experience of any of those schools, but have friends with dcs in a couple, and have heard stuff through the grapevine too.

Pittwater house - have heard mixed things. some people love it, one person I know pulled their dc out of the primary school and sent them to the local state school. I guess you'd have to look around to see if it would suit you. Unusually, its co-ed, but the classes are taught as single sex. I quite like that idea.

St Luke's - know lots of people with their dcs here, not heard anything bad, meant to have good pastoral care. very local to me and it seems to have a nice vibe. they've recently completed a lot of new building work.

Oxford Falls Grammar - one of my good friends has sent here dcs here and loves it. Again, its got good pastoral care. Its a bit cheaper than Pittwater House and St Lukes if that is something you are looking at. Very religious ethos, but you don't have to be religious to attend - my friends husband was very vocal about that fact he is an atheist at their initial interview and they were unphased by this and said it made no difference.

Northern Beaches Christian School - no experience at all and not met anyone who's kids attend. Maybe because it's up by Terrey Hills, so a bit away from the beaches.

Glad you're starting to feel excited. The thing I love most about living on the beaches is heading down to the beach after school for an hour or two for a swim and play - sometimes even in winter. And my 5 year old is learning to surf which seems really cool to me (older one isn't so keen!). School starts up this week, so I'll ask around to see if anyone knows of a house going for rental, just on the offchance - they come up every now and again. Otherwise, I wish you lots of luck finding a rental with dogs, and good luck with the preparations!

chloeb2002 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:34:39

On the dog front.. I brought a dog over .. Yes.. Gulps hard.. After quarenteen .. Only 3 weeks..a total of $8000 later.. Gulps again. Dogs in rentals ... We managed it but beware that as a general rule dogs life outside... Not allowed inside. We me negotiated dogs on tiles and not bedrooms. We had to insect spray the house on leaving and clean carpets. If was a pain in the bum. Dogs are registered for annual fee too in Aus. Bring obedience certificates.. Makes it cheaper!

Backrow8 Tue 30-Apr-13 12:16:13

Yes the dog thing is incredibly expensive . I am having to homeboard them with someone for 2 months first because of the rabies lead times and that is costing me £900.00 per month then ^£6800. to ship then £1700.00 for quarantine and that excludes the vaccinations extra worming and blood tests. !!! must be mad

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