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Starting school in Aust...when?

(18 Posts)
comebacksun Wed 27-May-15 08:37:26

We're moving to Australia in September and I'm not sure when ds should start school.
He's currently in year 6, so in July will be finishing primary school.
By the time we find a house and get settled, it will probably be end of Sept/ beginning of October.
Because of the January to December school year, Ds could either do the last 2 or 3 months of primary school, or wait to start Secondary in January 2016.
I think he should go straight into the last 2 months of primary, to then move up to secondary in January, but of course ds is not happy to do this as it feels like a step back to him!!!
I do realise, though, how hard it would be to join a class where everyone's been friends for years, just to do 2 months (I think there's a half term holiday in September too).

What do you think?

sleepywombat Thu 28-May-15 02:48:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

saffronwblue Thu 28-May-15 02:56:35

I'd be tempted to make him go just so he can meet some people. Otherwise it will be a long summer with no one his age. School starts late Jan/ early Feb so it is a long stretch.
I would start by finding the secondary school you want him to attend and then ask them what the main feeder primary schools are. Having said that it will be weird for him to join at the end of year 6 when there is often a lot of faff about graduation etc and not much done in the last few weeks. Still think on balance it would be worth it to make him feel that he knows people and some of the Aussie school culture. Are you planning to send him to state or private? Which state are you going to?

HerRoyalNotness Thu 28-May-15 02:59:42

We were going to have this problem soon, and my idea was to start DS1 in the October term to familiarize himself with the system and meet some friends for the Xmas break. With less emphasis in the educational and more in the social side.

knotnowdear Thu 28-May-15 03:09:22

Hmm that's a tricky one. Term dates for term 3 are 13 July - 18 Sept and Term 4 runs from 6 Oct to 18 Dec in NSW. Term 1 in 2016 starts around 27th Jan, so it's potentially quite a long time.

Starting him in Term 4 might work, there is often some movement then and it would be a good way of getting to know people and the Australian school system.

Do you know which area you will be going to and which secondary school? If going private I'd probably baulk at the cost of the uniform just for 3 months unless it's a school which goes K->Y12.

comebacksun Thu 28-May-15 08:22:34

Thank you for all the replies!!
We're going to Melbourne, so we'll be in the Victorian school system.

I feel that the social (rather than educational) side is important too HerRoyal, as ds can be quite shy in new situations. I think starting in October might work.

Good idea about the feeder schools Saffron. We'll be going state. From my research, I haven't found many K-12 schools.

My instinct definitely tells me to put him into primary, I just feel for him as it will be so hard going into a class full of children with long established friendships. Poor ds, as he's not very outgoing unless with his own friends.

Thanks again for all the input, very much appreciated!

saffronwblue Thu 28-May-15 13:16:48

Yes, I would work out what area you want to live in, decide what secondary school you want to put him in, and then work back to the primary school. In the worst case if you can't get him to school before 2016, there are heaps of holiday programs he could do in January in Melbourne to at least get a chance to meet some other kids his age. Lots of sport stuff but basically anything you can think of -DD does a drama holiday program every January.
Have you got an idea of which part of Melbourne you want to live in? I am in Melbourne as are a few other Mners.

MaitlandGirl Thu 28-May-15 13:21:58

We landed in Sydney on Nov 24th and the girls started school on November 26th! They went into yr 3 and yr 6 and it was the best thing I could have done. They had friends for the school holidays and going back in the feb wasn't sure a drama for them.

My son didn't go until the February, when he started yr 9 and that was a huge mistake.

comebacksun Thu 28-May-15 18:19:46

Interesting Maitlandgirl! I know in my heart it's the right thing to do, I'll have to really convince ds, which I know I will. It would be so much better for him to start mixing with Aussie kids!
Saffron, is there a chance that he won't get a place? I've heard it's becoming competitive. Holiday camp sounds good, it's what we did when we moved to London 5 years ago.
I agree about working back from secondary, I've only really been researching secondary schools.
I've been looking at the south east - I liked the look of both Glen Waverley and Mount Waverley secondary colleges. But I'm not ruling out the east. I actually spent the first 8 years of my life in East Doncaster! But I want to drive around when we get there (will stay in a serviced apartment at first) and get a feel of different suburbs.
Do you recommend any areas Saffron?
Thank you for your replies!

SavoyCabbage Mon 01-Jun-15 05:06:12

Glen Waverley and mount Waverley are both really tightly zoned and the application deadline was may 22nd. Generally the schools are not half as strict application wise as they are in the UK but these schools are very popular indeed.

My friend just moved into the zone of an oversubscribed primary school and the policy was that they had to take her child. So I don't know if that would be the case for you.

Doncaster East and Doncaster secondary college both have good reputations too, with not such competition to get in. As does Box Hill but I think that's tricky to get in to as well.

Are you religious? They are 'semi-private' schools such as Whitefriars and Luther College.

It seems to be the thing at a lot of schools that they go on camp almost as soon as they start. Which sounds fantastic.

SavoyCabbage Mon 01-Jun-15 09:06:40

Also, some secondary schools require that you stay living in the zone until you finish high school. Or you have to leave!shock

My dd is in year six and there are people coming and going from our primary school all the time. There are so many immigrants in Australia which leads to people coming and going. So in my experience, if your ds started school in term four it wouldn't be a huge deal. He should just be able to fit right in without a fuss I mean.

comebacksun Thu 04-Jun-15 11:38:44

Thank you so much for all this info Savoycabbage. Very useful (and shocking!) I had no idea it would be in any way tricky. We'll just have to see where we end up living before we can even think about schools....but good to know that both Glen Waverley and Doncaster East are good areas with good schools.

I'm glad that it won't be an issue starting in term 4 so I'm convinced that's what we should do.

Invaluable advice..thanks again!

SavoyCabbage Thu 04-Jun-15 11:45:38

My dd had a new child start in her class today. A random Thursday 2/3 of the way through term two! grin

I was talking to a parent yesterday who had put only her zoned/catchment school on her form as she thought there was going to be no issue at all. The school phoned her after the deadline and told her the zone had been moved as they had more applications than places and she wasn't in it anymore! She was totally floored. They told her she could appeal which obviously she is going to as otherwise she won't have a place at all.

comebacksun Fri 05-Jun-15 13:45:26

That's good to hear! (about the new addition to your dd's class) I'd love to hear how the new child gets on!

All this talk about catchments is really surprising me! I hope that mum gets a place at her chosen school. I've been telling everyone here how easy it's going to be... I think I have to change my thinking.... Is it just for secondary schools that it's so difficult or does it apply to primary too? I also have a dd who is 7 so will be looking at primary schools too.

Can I just ask .... will we be able to just turn up at the school (with relevant proof of address etc) and apply directly with them? I read somewhere that this is what you do, but I'm now wondering if it's changed and is now more like here in London where you have to apply through the LA?

Sorry to bother you with my questions and thank you so much for taking the time to answer them for me! I'm very grateful.

SavoyCabbage Wed 10-Jun-15 01:16:40

That's ok. It's all anyone has been talking about at school for months, otherwise I'd know nothing. We are doing to opposite from you and coming back to the UK.

As far as I know you just go straight to the school when you are doing an in year application. Most primary schools are zoned but if you are in the zone they have to take you and some are zoned and capped.

Secondary school places are coming out in August I think so after that you could ring some schools and see if they have places.

comebacksun Mon 15-Jun-15 11:15:36

Thank you for the information savoycabbage.

Good luck with your move back to the UK! I hope it all goes smoothly for you, especially re. schools.

stolemyusername Mon 15-Jun-15 11:29:42

Not sure if things are different in VIC but we called the school we wanted to put the children in and they asked us to come down and fill in the relevant paperwork, they started the following Monday.

I would think that putting him into the end of year 6 would be the best idea, it's a long time from September to school starting 28 January, at least when he moves up to the high school too he will have familiar faces plus will have been part of the transition process and practice days, some school also offer a school bonding camp for all of the children moving up from the different schools to get together.

As another way to try and encourage him to make new friends look at summer sports (cricket, tennis, swimming, aus tag are a few) as this is a massive thing over here and a good way to help you meet new people too.

comebacksun Tue 16-Jun-15 13:09:49

Thanks Stolemyusername,
I'm hoping it will be that easy for us too.
I'm 100% sure that we're going to put ds into the end of year 6. I do hope that he meets some nice kids, as he tends to be very shy in new situations. Fingers crossed!!
Good idea about the sports. Is Aus tag like tag rugby/ touch football?

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