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Moving from Australia

(18 Posts)
gretalucia123 Tue 06-Jan-15 23:58:31

My family and I are moving from Australia to the UK this year (we are English, but have lived in Australia for 10 years)

I've just started to look at schools and realise what a mine field it it.

We would want both girls to start primary in September 2015, but we do not have an address yet. How likely do you think it will be that we get into a school of our choice?

Also my youngest was held back a year (normal here in Aus) so even though she was 7 at the end of August 2014, she has only just completed Prep - first year of school. So she will be 2 1/2 years behind the kids in her year. Will they hold her back or will she just have to ride it out?

Are we best trying to find a country school rather than a city school that might be over subscribed to?

Ah, so many questions. Basically if we can't sort out a decent school then we will stay in Aus as we really don't want to mess up our childrens education.

SavoyCabbage Wed 07-Jan-15 00:13:07

I am half way through this process myself! You can only apply when you get there and have an address. Some LEAs have the schools with spaces on their websites. Some will tell you on the phone. Some won't tell you anything till you get there. Some areas are far more used to dealing with immigrants than others.

Some areas are really stretched and it will be hard to get a place. The schools I rang all had spaces in the years I wanted.

My 'plan' is to not worry about it till I get there! You can't change what will happen by worrying about it. They will either have spaces or they won't.

The schools will be closed from the end of July so you might want to go before that happens. I'm going in June. Few weeks to bumble around and then maybe put them in for the last couple of weeks before the summer holiday.

They will probably be behind academically. They won't hold them back as this doesn't happen at all in the UK. You are in the year group that you are in age wise. However, the way they teach in the UK is different and there is far more differentaiantion. They won't just leave her to flounder which is often the experience of dc coming into the schools here from other countries. They will be absolutely fine.

gretalucia123 Wed 07-Jan-15 03:11:51

So would I call the schools up directly? I was thinking of trying to apply through the council anyway just in case?? I have to get my application in by Jan 15th so I'm pushing it a bit.

SavoyCabbage Wed 07-Jan-15 04:57:52

You could. I called a couple and they were really helpful. They could tell you if they have spaces. But they might not tell you. And they can't hold places or anything.

I would go on the website of the LEA you want to move to and look at the in year application section if they have one.

SavoyCabbage Wed 07-Jan-15 04:58:59

You have to apply through the lea anyway. Not the school like here.

Archduke Wed 07-Jan-15 05:24:33

Oh Savoy are you going back?? (Have n/ch am old Aussie poster from SA). I have been off mn recently and have obv missed LOADS! I hope the move goes well!

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 07-Jan-15 09:28:38

I think it depends very much on the area you are going to be moving to but I would get phoning and asking the questions straight away. How old are your children?

As for being behind. don't worry. formal teaching might be 2.5 years behind but preschool in Australia does cover a lot of the same things it is just more informal (or so I am informed by friends in Australia). So your daughter was 7 at the end of August which would make her the youngest in Yr3 at the moment and going into Yr4 in September. It is very unlikely you would be able to get her to be the year below as they only do this in exceptional circumstances but perhaps if you found a small rural school which had mixed year classes because of low numbers then that might work better for her. I am not sure many of those exist though. My eldest must only be a matter of days younger than your daughter (7 at start of sep 2014) and her class has a huge range of ability and groups are fluid so there are some children who barely speak English, others who are just struggling and there are a few astonishingly clever children in her class too. They appear to be differentiated for pretty well from what I can see so therefore if similar happened for your daughter then she could come in and catch up well I think. If you start looking at the sort of work yr3 would be doing now on the new curriculum then you could go through some bits with her before the move which would put her in a better position to catch up quickly.

Also you could look at Scotland - their cut off dates for ages are different, I am not sure quite how it works but I think an August birthday becomes about middle of the year up there in which case she would be less behind because she would be able to stay in the year below - I think anyway but worth looking at.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 07-Jan-15 10:27:09

You only have to get your application in by 15th of January if you are applying for a place in the Sept 2015 reception cohort. As your children are both older than that, you are applying for an 'in year' place. That doesn't have a cut off date, but you still have to be resident here to make an application.

catslife Wed 07-Jan-15 10:28:12

The good news OP is that as your children are 7 years old and above, they will be in KS2 (Juniors) rather than KS1 (infants). This may increase your chances of obtaining places, or winning them at appeal if a school only has space for one child. This is because for this age group, schools can have classes with more than 30 children.
Are we best trying to find a country school rather than a city school there are advantages and disadvantages of both e.g. city schools may be more used to integrating children coming from abroad whereas country schools may have smaller class sizes or mixed year classes which better suit some children. In cities there may be a greater difference between good schools and others than in rural areas but that varies a lot geographically.
Do you still have relatives in the UK, what are the schools like in the areas where they live?
You say that you would like both your children to be at the same primary school so that would rule out areas with a 3 tier middle school system.
How old is your eldest child BTW? If they will be 10 before September 2015, you will also need to consider secondary schools as he/she will be in the top year of primary school (Y6) then.

Spindelina Wed 07-Jan-15 10:32:47

I have to get my application in by Jan 15th

Are you applying for a junior school for your youngest? Rather than primary? That's the only way that you will have a Jan 15th deadline - that's only for "normal" admissions (for reception in infants or primary, and year 3 in junior).

Even if that's the case, most LEAs won't accept your application if you aren't resident in the UK.

If you aren't doing a normal application, you will be doing in-year applications. You still have to apply through the LEA, but it is worth finding out which schools have places before you submit the form. Some LEAs can be really helpful with this, but in other places you might end up ringing the schools yourself. Bear in mind that you can apply for schools in any LEA, not just the one you live in (so across the county boundary, for example), but you still apply though the LEA in which you live.

PatriciaHolm Wed 07-Jan-15 13:44:23

Your DD who was 7 at the end of August 2014 would be the youngest in Yr2 here now, and so going into Yr3 for September 15; are you looking at a Junior School that starts in y3? That is why you might have been given a Jan 15 deadline; if you are looking at Primary Schools that run from reception - yr 6 (ages 4-11) then the Jan date is irrelevant.

Regardless, you can't generally apply unless you are resident, and when you have an address here you will need to do in-year applications; unless you are moving to an area where schools are not full, you won't have much of an idea where they might be accepted until you get here I'm afraid. if you are moving somewhere where schools are generally not full, then you will have more of an idea as the LEA will be able to tell you where there are spaces and you could be fairly happy the spaces will still be there when you move, but realistically that is only going to happen for unpopular schools or schools in very rural areas.

How old is your older DC?

LuckyLopez Wed 07-Jan-15 13:50:33

Patricia I think you're a year out- the youngest will start yr 4 in September '15.

LuckyLopez Wed 07-Jan-15 13:51:54

My DS was 8 last July (so one year older than her) and he's in current yr 4.

PatriciaHolm Wed 07-Jan-15 14:18:54

Yes, got myself confused, apologies. The DD who is 7 now would currently be the youngest in year Yr3, turning 8 right at the end of our academic year. So would need a Yr 4 place for Sept 15. So the End Jan deadline can't be relevant at all!

Spindelina Wed 07-Jan-15 14:29:18

oops, me too!

Ridingthestorm Wed 07-Jan-15 14:57:24

At what time of the year are you looking to move back to the UK? If you arrive mid-late summer you could 'home-school' until the September start at which time there is likelihood that you will have a place of your choice compared to starting mid year.
And yes, your youngest will be starting Year 4 in September 2015. What cN your youngest do in terms of 'the three RS'???

lilacmamacat Thu 08-Jan-15 20:16:56

I'm in a similar situation but with a 4yo, so just marking my place to see if anything useful comes up.

Spindelina Thu 08-Jan-15 20:49:51

lilacmamacat, the rules for 4yos are a bit different, in three ways...

- if they will be going into reception (i.e. if they are still 4 on 1st September), then they will be doing a "normal" application and the deadline is 15th Jan. After that, you would need to make a late application, which is pretty similar to an in-year transfer in that you can only be offered the spaces that are available. If they will be 5 on or before 31st August, then you need to do an in-year application for year 1.

- there are much stricter rules (infant class size) for reception, year 1 and year 2. That means that the option of taking up a space at one school and hoping to win an appeal for a space at another is pretty much a no go.

- they don't actually need to be in education (school or otherwise) until the term after their 5th birthday. If your DC is going into reception, that might give you a bit of breathing space.

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