Best time of year to move - schools and oz(27 Posts)
Looking for some opinions and advice really. Is there a "best" time of year to move School wise. We were originally thinking of relocating for the start of the Australian school year (January) but a few other things are making us think that it would be better for dds to finish year 4 and 2 and then relocate in the summer holidays (arriving in winter I know ) anyone with any experience who can offer any advice?
Mid year starts in Australia would be fine in terms of education. Unless they are at the very beginning of school or it is a school with a lot of new pupils each year your kids will be joining an existing cohort. Mid-year the teachers will know the group and be better able to help with transitioning a new kid in.
I’ve looked at it the other way around, and what bothers me is that there might not be a long enough break anywhere in the year and the kids might end up with only short breaks in an 18 month school year, if that makes sense?
Also, be prepared to possibly move kids to what seems a lower year level. Last time we travelled to the uk my children who had just finished grades 2 and 4 were placed in uk grades 4 and 6.
Oh really that interesting, probably naive of me but I did think that with them starting school in uk earlier they might be moved a bit higher with having learned more? I realise that may be way off mark!
Thanks so much that's helpful to know about mid year and I also think it's a great point about teacher knowing class well. I know this move is the right thing but I'm so worried about the children settling in and making new friends!
What year they go into might depend on the state you are moving to as well, and possibly the area. There is a big range of starting ages in Aus.
I don’t think it matters what time of the year they start in primary schools, in regards to making friends but as mentioned above missing out on the long summer holiday would be hard
I would stay for the British summer, back to back winter is hard, do you know where you are moving to?
PP are right about the broader age range for school starts but we also do pre school here and they can start school ol as late as six.
We returned to Australia from the Netherlands last year. We moved in November which gave our kids an extra summer vacation. We used that time to orient ourselves (neither of us had lived in this city), relax, go to the beach, etc. We found that time very valuable.
The kids were more than ready to start at their new schools in late January after two summer vacations with us.
We moved to a country with the same school years as OZ. We left in July after school finished in the UK, moved in August and they were registered and started in September. It meant they didn't get a whole school year by December but they'd made friends and settled in so they could spend the long summer hols with invites to play or knowing children at the pool/playground etc and were better prepared for the new school year the following February. Worked well for them, but we're in a small town/small school set up.
Don't worry about the school year they are put in being different, they are put in with the same age group that they are. It is a different education system so yes they will be ahead in some aspects and behind in others. There are always kids coming and going at my sons school. There is usually a few new faces in Jan and then again after each set of school holidays. I know a lot move around Sep it gives you a chance to adjust to the weather before the hot summer hits and the kids get the last term of school to make friends and settle in to a new school before the summer.
We moved a week before the school year started in Feb, it worked really well for us. My son had swimming lessons in the outdoor pool in week one, which was a bit of a novelty, and a vast improvement on the grotty leisure centre back home.
I recommend moving to Australia at the start of the year. Very few kids change schools in the middle of the year. They will be the odd ones out and it's not always easy to make friends. If your concern is that they may need to repeat their year level, you can always have them sit a universal exam for that year level to demonstrate that they have acquired the necessary skills. You can look into the current curriculum and learning standards for their year level and ensure they have covered necessary modules and have some kind of paperwork to show. There are also tests you can opt to sit here in Australia. All the best
PS it's not just social issues. Kids start the year in a particular grade with a particular teacher at the start of the year. They get into the routine of doing things. They have the year mapped out and it's very hard to start halfway through the year and not struggle.
I'd be aiming to arrive mid January, enough time for a holiday period before the school year kicks in. Any earlier and you risk them getting bored as they don't have any friends.
How old are they and which state/territory are you going to?
We call our summer holidays "The Christmas Holidays" for a reason. Come over for Christmas on the beach or by the pool. Do you know where you are planning on moving to?
If you tell us where you are moving to and how old your kids are we can give more specific advice. Bizarrely each State is different so for example I can only advise you about NSW. We moved to Sydney in June with three kids, school years changed because of their birthdays, eg. DS1's birthday is 1 August so he went "back" a year, but the mid year start was actually a really good thing for us. Are you thinking private, public (State) or Catholic systemic schools as there are different things to consider depending on your choice. Please don't think that because statutory school age in England is earlier that they will be way ahead of the Aussie kids. A lot of kids here do two years of structured pre-School before they start Primary. A lot of UK parents rock up here with this really strange superiority complex because their child aged x has already done so many years of school. Tbh I have found Australian education so much better than England, mainly because there is a lot more choice. My kids have had the kind of education that most English kids could only dream of and I could never have afforded if we had stayed in the UK.
Kids are 8 and 6 and we would be moving the Melbourne - thanks for the responses.
Oh and probably public schools as doubt we would be in a position right away to go private. We would look to rent initially so could rent near a good school if necessary.
In Melbourne the cut off is The end of April. So for example my Jan child is about to start grade 4 just after he turns 9 he is one of the youngest in his year. Some private schools don’t take kids born after dec so the cohort is older. It can be very school dependent. There are lots of good schools in Melbourne, many not zoned. But house prices are ridiculous and even renting can be difficult and expensive so I’d work out your budget and go from there. You can look at NAPLAN scores but they don’t always reflect the quality of education. Some schools prepare for them and some schools don’t.
Melbourne is also a sprawling city so commuting can take a while if your on the fringes or trying to get across the city
We migrated with 6&3 year olds to Queensland. Cut off here is end of June, so my then 6 year old started year 2 in the uk and then restarted year 2 here in the January. Private school so there are some children 18m+ older than him - delaying a year or holding back is very common.
We arrived mid Dec which was ideal. The first 2 weeks is a jet lagged haze of hell sorting out rentals, mobiles, jobs etc. Then we had another 4 weeks of time to just enjoy being here as a family before school started, but that only works if one or both of you can be at home. If they’d have to go to vacation care anyway then they may as well go to school.
In terms of education, I’ve found it quite different. DS repeated a lot he’d done before in year 2 in terms of English and maths, but of course the history and geography is totally different. There’s also a big focus on non academic skills - resilience, confidence, communication and so on that has done the world of good for DS.
I will give you a word of warning though. I heard so many times before we came, “kids adapt so fast”. Well not always. School here were more honest and as they regularly take immigrants said it’ll take 6 months. That 6 months was pure unmitigated hell. DS behaviour (only at home) was diabolical - he was so lost but it made me question what on earth we’d done to him. He’s back to himself now, but I do wish someone had warned me this can happen. My 3 year old didn’t bat an eye, but older children don’t always settle easily - just my experience.
Melbourne is very expensive by the way - you’d need a pretty good salary!
Australia is great. The year before and after the move is very stressful, but the sun shining every day really helped! Good luck
Hi there. I am from Australia. A word of warning. Either find a place at a private school or an academically selective/streamed state school/state school in an extremely expensive area (the only state primary in Adelaide that I know of that is good is North Adelaide Primary School. The only good state high school is the academically selective stream (not the regular stream) at glenunga high school. Private schools I would reccomend Prince Alfred's College as my top choice for boys and St Peter's or Seymour for girls. Don't know much about Melbourne schools barring that Presbyterian Ladies' College has quite an oppressive atmosphere. Academically selective schools in Melbourne are of a high quantity and quality than Adelaide). The quality of mainstream state education in Australia is very, very poor. Private education though is quite cheap as there is a lot of competition and scholarships are available from year five onwards (I strongly reccomend you try your best to get your children into a private school at some point, it makes a huge difference over there, you don't get kudos for going to a state school over there like you do in Britain). As for moving allow two months before starting school for children to adjust properly to time difference and rest up a bit. It is easier to do that if you move in summer. We get over jet lag twice as quickly when we go in summer. They may be a bit ahead. Most schools start at five in Australia as opposed to four but I wouldn't reccomend putting them ahead a year unless you are planning on moving back to Britain. University applications are more competitive in Australia as a result of the grading system and being a year younger can prove an academic disadvantage when doing their last few years of school.
Oh, I just remembered, I'm pretty sure that the state primary in Norwood also in Adelaide is pretty good too.
We moved (not Oz..) when the children were 6 and 4 and before that when the children were 3 and 1. In both cases, we took time out from school / preschool to be tourists and explore the area which had huge advantages for me (I was not working immediately after either move). The children, however, would have liked to have more contact with other people so I can see the benefit of starting school soon after arriving. Not missing out on long holidays is a good thing to remember though, as is not arriving in winter.
We had friends who relocated to Australia in September and the few months 'repeating' a class they had already done in their own minds, was a good way of easing them into the school system and allowed them to start the new year in February fully up to speed with everything.
I would agree with HPandBacon and say don't repeat the mantra that kids adapt and they will love it. Be honest with yourself and know that while your children may well benefit in the long term, this move is one decided by the adults and not a free choice made by the children. It will take time to adapt and accept their new future. If children are surrounded by the 'kids adapt' attitude, they won't feel able to say, I feel sad, different and I miss home.
Adults find transitions challenging and we have experience, logic and wisdom on our side, we need to acknowledge that it can be challenging for our children as well. Take note of the reasons you are moving and make sure you remind everyone what they are... if you are moving for the 'outdoor life and weather', make the most of it at every opportunity, if you are moving for more money, make sure you make a conscious effort to spend it on fun things that everyone enjoys and remind yourselves that this is what you came here for.
We moved 6 months ago. Our boys missed the last week of term in July in the UK (had completed reception and year 3). We were in a serviced apartment in the centre of Melbourne for 1 month, before we moved into our more permanent rental in the area we plan to stay.
After 1 month the kids were desperate to meet other children and were really happy to start school. We checked out the schools while we were in the serviced apartment so we had selected it. We finally moved into the rental 8pm on a Sunday evening and the boys started school the next day. It was a few weeks into 3rd term.
Younger son (January birthday) went into prep. He seems very young for prep over here because there is very much a trend for holding the younger children back, especially boys. He is bright so can already read and count well so academically he is fine.
Older son, July birthday, went into year 2. He is not the most mature for his age and always struggled to keep up in the UK, he was not ready for school when he started. He fits so much better socially being an older one rather than a younger one in his year level and has really properly been enjoying school for the first time ever.
I wouldn't over think when they start school, they will be made to feel welcome whenever it is. There are so many other logistics to consider when moving countries. Our boys are at state school and it is fine.
PM me if you want to meet up when you arrive, I am still a bit short on friends myself (I am 1 hour out of Melbourne).
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