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What is the schooling like in Australia?

(29 Posts)
tinkertailorsoldiersailor Sun 16-Oct-16 12:30:56

We are thinking of relocating there but I have heard from many people that many of the schools are not very good; no ofsted so it is difficult to know when selecting and national curriculum very new.

I would like to know what your experience of child's school has been, particularly primary.

Thank you!

tinkertailorsoldiersailor Sun 16-Oct-16 20:21:21

Bumping for traffic down under

Zazz101 Sun 16-Oct-16 20:52:06

Schools are very similar to uk schools I think. They do a broader range of subjects.
You can find the schools rating easily so can pick a good one. The exams are called VCE, so if you just google VCE rankings.
Private schools are good over there, and much cheaper.
Sorry just read primary. My daughter went to a very good private school ( primary )in the UK, she was working top 10% in the class. When we went over to Aus, she was actually behind the work they were doing ....

FourToTheFloor Sun 16-Oct-16 20:57:44

VCE (Victorian certificate of education) is for Victoria only, HSC (higher school certificate) for l think the rest of Australia.

I think no ofstead is a good thing personally!

givingitago85 Sun 16-Oct-16 20:59:32

Being in Australia and having been educated in both the UK and Aus I can tell you that the education system in Aus is on par with the U.K., the secondary school I went to in Australia had a larger amount of subjects to choose from and looked at both academic and vocational subjects. Private school can be expensive but also quite cheap depending on where you go. Is there a particular state or city you need to know about?

givingitago85 Sun 16-Oct-16 21:02:35

Sorry I missed the'primary' but. I think the biggest difference with the uK for primary is the type of history I learnt, instead of the Tudors and Victorians (subjects I loved) in Australia I learnt about aboriginal history and local history. Neither any better or worse. As far as maths, English And science both taught the basic skills needed to prepare for secondary school. I would say there is much less of a difference at primary school level than at secondary.

SavoyCabbage Sun 16-Oct-16 21:13:18

They vary massively. Like in the uk. Some are hugely under resourced. Others have everything that opens and shuts.

It's really common to go to your nearest primary school so we looked at schools and picked an area to live based on the school. There is not the pressure on places that there is in the uk.

I found the education to be far more 'one size fits all' than in the uk. Additional needs are not always met.

ifink Mon 17-Oct-16 02:44:12

School admissions are so much easier - at least there were in QLD - basically the school have to take your child if you live in their catchment. We found the primary school our DC attended to be very good but this was a 'nice' area which influences the level of parental engagement.

State schools rely heavily on parents to volunteer in classrooms, for tuckshops, excursions etc. I really enjoyed this as I wasn't working for quite sometime but I know others found it very demanding.

user1471484795 Mon 17-Oct-16 04:35:17

We moved over to Oz last year. Daughter came from an outstanding Ofsted UK primary to our local oz primary. We found the work here much harder than she was used to in the uk. It was much more challenging and she used to be top of her class in UK.

That said. We have recently moved house and our local school now is not challenging at all so we are about to move her to a private school.

Primary schools here in Victoria go until they are 12.

There seems to be more opportunity for sports and being outside. Most schools do yearly camps for each year group. Daughter really enjoys school here.

user1471484795 Mon 17-Oct-16 04:41:44

Here in Vic, kids sit naplan a bit like UK sats. You can see school results on this website.

echt Mon 17-Oct-16 10:28:04

All the states differ. I teach in Victoria and can assure you that students turn out no worse for not being SATted to death. This may well be because exams only kick in in the last two years and English is compulsory until the end, and a good thing too.

Second the special needs not being met in the same way as in the UK, i.e. it's very difficult to get the equivalent of a statement.

Private schools are notorious for taking the dosh then weeding out the students who might damage their exam scores. Wankers.

Soapalert Tue 18-Oct-16 08:03:09

Thank you all, interesting comments about some Australian schools pushing the children harder than some uk schools. I guess it is all about choosing carefully as I had heard of a family who came back to the uk and their child had to go into two year groups below what she was as so behind.

Globally, is the HSC equal to GCSEs? Could a pupil who excelled in the HSC go to a top university in another country for instance?

user1471484795 Tue 18-Oct-16 08:22:22

Hello, the hsc (or vce here in Victoria) is the equivalent of a levels. There are no gcse equivalents here. Children just do the hsc at 18/19.

You need to remember that oz produces just as many doctors, lawyers, scientists etc from Oz schooling as other countries do in theirs. :-)

Yes the hsc is recognised internationally by overseas universities as universities are very used to now accepting students from around the globe. So yes no reason they couldn't go to any top uni they wanted to if they got the grades.

Yes it's all down to the individual school your child attends. We loved our daughters last school and she was doing well. We are not impressed with her current school hence we are moving her at the beginning of next term to a new school.


Soapalert Tue 18-Oct-16 08:44:31

Thank you user for clarifying that. Guess it is not just down to school but also individual child.

Will look at and rely on the league tables for an insight re what not to touch with a barge table!

Soapalert Tue 18-Oct-16 08:44:58

Barge pole confused

ZeroDarkHurty Tue 18-Oct-16 08:48:43

Agree re the difficulty accessing support for less severe special needs. Each state has its own education department and system and rules. For example, I live in NSW and the age cut-off for starting school is different here to in Victoria (where I used to live). Each state has different rules and systems for things like term time holidays, special needs support, etc. VCE in Victoria is equivalent to HSC in New South Wales and Senior Certificate in Queensland. They're all equivalent to A levels - you get a result at the end that is then used by universities to offer you a place. There isn't really an equivalent to GCSEs - it'd be really unusual to leave school before HSC these days (was more common in the past). Private schools are very popular for high school - there's a sense amongst many middle class people that state schools can't compete for HSC results and general life prep (and facilities for sport and music).

In primary school in NSW (at least at our school) they use a whole-language approach to teaching reading (with some phonics included), rather than a full-on phonics approach. I believe that's different to the UK (we left before dc started school).

Another difference between stares is what they call the first year of school. In NSW it's called Kindergarten (with preschool for a year or two before that); in Victoria and Queensland it's called Prep (and they call preschool kindergarten). I believe it's called Pre-primary in WA.

The age at which children start school is a bit more flexible here than it has been in recent years in the UK. Children born between January and July (in NSW...varies state to state) can start the year they turn 5 or the year they turn 6 (have to be enrolled by the time they turn 6 and school starts late January) so you can have a 1.5 year age range in the same class.

Overall it seems less high-pressure here compared to what my friends' children are experiencing in London schools in reception and Year 1.

saffronwblue Tue 18-Oct-16 11:58:48

Quite a few private schools offer the IB if you are thinking about uni in other countries.

saffronwblue Wed 19-Oct-16 02:21:41

Just wanted to say that schooling in Aust is as diverse as anywhere else. Urban, rural, big, small, tropical, alpine, etc. typically schools in more expensive affluent areas will have more resources . Teachers can be brilliant, good or mediocre in both private and stTe systems.

GrinAndTonic Wed 19-Oct-16 05:41:39

HSC is for New South Wales only. In Queensland it is the OP (which will be phased out soon and then who knows what happens) which you need to go to uni.
As for primary schools well there are public (state government schools) and private. There are then different types of private from your catholic charging about $1000/year to your high profile one charging $8000 and then there are Montessori etc.
If you want to look at the government website about schools then look at

Pythonesque Wed 19-Oct-16 05:56:11

I grew up in Sydney. For highschool it compares more obviously with the Scottish system - 6 years. Private schools started to bring in the IB as an option not long after I finished school. When I moved to the UK I found myself hearing about A level syllabus changes and thinking "this sounds awfully familiar" in terms of content being reduced in more challenging subjects. It certainly WAS the case that UK A level standards were in many cases not dissimilar to 1st year university in Australia (sciences I know more specifically). The structure and timing of university courses tends to reflect that difference. NSW I think still has "school certificate" at year 10 but it was never anything like as comprehensive as GCSEs was irrelevant for most students 30 years ago and becoming more so.

Agree if you are looking at moving to Australia you need to research each state individually. And schools like most places vary according to where in a city you find yourself.

BananaInPyjama Mon 24-Oct-16 02:31:30

my kids are at primary in Aus and we had a choice of 4 local primaries and I chose the one I liked the best (we live in the middle of several catchments).

My kids learn the stuff they need to- can multiply, count, read, write etc, which is what most schools aim for. They seem happy, I am happy. Local school means we know lots of their friends and there are always opportunities for playing.

when I first came to Aus as a non-parent, I was amazed at how confident primary children seemed. I think that is an intangible skill which Aus schools seem to do well in. Less focus on rote learning, more focus on developing as a human being.

FlorisApple Mon 24-Oct-16 03:43:53

Australia has a very diverse range of schools really. I went to school here, lived in the UK as an adult, and have now returned to Oz and my daughter will start school next year.

I have been looking at various state primaries for my DD, first in VIC and now in NSW, as we moved. She went to a fantastic parent-run kinder/pre-school which she loved, and so far I have really only seen lovely schools at the Primary level. In VIC we were in the catchment of about four good primaries, and here in Sydney are in the catchment for two. So far as I can tell, there is just a lot less angst here about getting into the "right" school. You might take it into consideration when you are choosing a place to live, but once you are in an area you have a few choices of catchment and the schools are incredibly welcoming. They all seem to have information days and tours for prospective parents, and are very helpful. That is the other difference I can see (though not exactly from personal experience): In the UK there seems to be a very "them vs us" attitude between the school and the parents (or maybe I have just read too many MN threads) whereas here it seems to be a genuine partnership. I hope I'm not proved wrong about that, but so far the schools seem to have nice campuses with outdoor space, lots of extra-curricular activities and after-school programs, and a really community feel.

Cockblocktopus Mon 24-Oct-16 03:52:39

YY it varies over states but they are trying to bring them all in line I believe.

I have friends in education and they broadly believe that there is no point in private for primary as generally local education is excellent but is good for high school. Students also have option to go to religious semi private schools that are much cheaper than private. I have a number of friends who have pulled their kids out of these though as the religious aspect is pushed hard (i.e. creationism and evolution given equal weight as theories).

I love being able to walk DD to the local school. I love that most people are in catchment so there is real sense of community. My experience in Sydney and Perth is that it is hard to get in to out of catchment schools. This obviously raises house prices in excellent school zones.

shellybr Mon 24-Oct-16 05:33:41

We are in Perth and my kids go to the local state primary and we are really happy with it. We have chosen to live in an area that is in a catchment for both a good primary and high school. There is an obsession here with private high school, our local high school is doing better then the local private.

user1477290947 Mon 24-Oct-16 08:01:04

Next offer free courier delivery if you spend over $30. I live 2 hours south of Perth & have used this service many times. Your goods are delivered normally within a week. You can also return items via Victoria (if I remember correctly). Most U.K. Companies post to Aus, although Next seem to offer the best delivery service. Good luck.

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