For most parents, this is a big decision at the best of times. But when you have just moved halfway across the world to a completely different country, how do you choose?
And that’s not the only problem, here in Australia we have state schools, (which, confusingly, can also be referred to as public schools) Catholic schools and private schools. I’ll give you a link to a post with more information about that shortly, but for now, here’s what I think.
State vs Private
Many people, when they come to Australia, feel that the best option for their child or children would be a private school. We were the same, we’d even put our name on the waiting list of a private school, even though our daughter was only 3 1/2 when we got here.
But then, once we had settled into the community, we discovered that the locals all loved the nearby state school. And when I say nearby, I mean 5 minutes walk. The private school, on the other hand, would have required a (minimum of) 45 minute round trip by car.
Oh, and we would have had to pay the fees. Again, more about those later.
Our daughter is now seven (well, as at July 2011) and she (and we) love the local state school. She comes out of there smiling everyday and looks forward to going in the morning. And when she does have to go to high school, the reputation of the one nearest to us is also really good.
So don’t feel you have to do go the private, state schools here in Australia are pretty good.
But how good?
The government set up a website where you can check the performance of all schools in Australia. I made a video about it….
To check out school performances for yourself, click on myschool.
More useful links:
I have several posts about schools….
- Here’s the original post with the myschool video.
- This one is about state & private schools and school fees.
- This is about my daughter’s prep year.
- And this about her first year in a state primary school.
- This is about tuckshop or school dinners.
- This is about school holidays and things to do.
- This compares Australian Education with the UK and USA
- Be aware of State School Fees for Temporary Visa Holders in Australia
- And here are More Tips on Choosing an Australian School
- This page will help you look into Daycare Options for Children in Australia
- Find out At What Age Do Children Start School in Australia?
- For high schools see Choosing a High School in Australia: State or Private?
- For more on school fees Cost of Private School Education: Australia and the UK Compared
I am in a similar situation but moving to Adelaide. I have had some very encouraging responses from schools in Adelaide. They will enroll in the middle of the year. I don’t think your child will have to wait for the next academic year to start. I would encourage you to write to the schools that you have shortlisted. you can also visit http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/parents/primary/Pages/enrol.aspx
for further details on primary schools, their websites, contact details and email ids
I am going through a similar phase worrying about kids schooling (my son is in grade 10), just thought I’d help out with whatever I know.
Hi Bob, To begin with, you are doing a thankless job of listening out and providing guidance. Thanks for the same. Having said, I plan to move to Melbourne on 190 visa but wanted to ask if my child, who is 12 and half years old and in 7th grade now, can join 8 th grade in May 2017? Kids in India complete a grade by end of March and hence the question. Besides this, should I be concerned about the bullying aspect as I have seen a mention of the same in other blogs.
That would be something you would need to discuss with the school you intend to send your daughter to, they will be able to help you directly with both the grade and your concerns about bullying.
We are moving to Adelaide from India in April. My daughter is currently in grade 10th and we will move after she gives her grade 10th exam here. I hear the session in Adelaide starts in Feb. Would it be difficult to get admission in April in grade 11th ? We are looking at a public school.
My understanding is that each state has an obligation to provide a place for children to be educated, so they have to find a place for your daughter. I believe the only restriction is that you will will have to accept a place offered to you that is within the catchment area of where you will be living.
So no, it should not be difficult at all. Good luck with your move, Bob
Hi- could i please get your email id, would like to correspond privately on schooling in adelaide.
We would be moving to Melbourne in july 2016. I understand from other sites that the term starts on 11th july 2016. My daughter is 6 years old and would be turning 7 in Aug’16. Can I enrol her in term 2? And will they accept her into school in the middle of the year, that is 3rd term? Or would she have to wait till 2017 January to start school. Please advise. Looking for answers.
I have enquired with both public and Catholic schools and they all accept mid-term enrollment, however you would have to submit paperwork preferably 3 months in advance. And you would also have to pay full fees from what I understand, depending on what visa you enter on.
Hope that helps!
Radha, click on the link to find out At What Age Do Children Start School in Australia?
Thanks Gloria…That was helpful
We are thinking of moving to Aus from UK with our 10 yr old. Obviously the first few weeks will be settling in. I was just wondering if there is a law on:
a) How long you can take before admitting your child to a school – is there a legal limit?
b) does Australia allow Home Education as the UK does?
c) How many kids are average in a classroom in Aus?
Any advice appreciated. Thanks
I don’t know what the law is in regards to your first question, but I’m sure it’s reasonably relaxed. Obviously you will need time to settle in, it might be a good idea to arrive here just before a school holiday starts.
I do know that home education does happen here and as far as I am aware from my own daughters schooling, there is usually around 25 to 28 people in a class. Obviously that could vary wildly across the country though. Hope that helps, good luck, Bob
Hii … I am really tired if searching different blogs and schools. I have some questions, if you could please help me suggesting, I would be really thankful.
We are a family of 4 planning to shift to Melbourne in 1st week of April 2016 on PR status. I, my husband and our 2 boys aged 14 and 6 years resp. Going through different schools website I have come to know that all good Secondary schools are very very tightly zoned. As both my sons are very good academically, I am in search of a good State school with strong emphasis on academics for both of them. My elder one is in Grade 9 here and would be joining in Grade 10 in Australia. If you could suggest a few schools. Is it possible for the elder one to try any selective schools while we haven’t landed in Australia.
Also, Its really difficult for me to understand the criteria schools have for admission for new immigrants as they talk more about Accelerated Learning, VCE, ATAR score etc. Though I have tried to surf more about all these terminologies, I still couldn’t gather much about the enrollment criteria schools have for children who have not started there through Middle School. How are they supposed to go about regarding the enrollments in the year mid because in Australia school sessions start in late Feb and as per our schedule we would be reaching there not before April 1st week.
My another question is that, as we are Indians, we would be looking for an area in Melbourne with at least a couple of people with same origin. So that’s another issue. Could you also help me suggesting a good safe area to look for a rented place considering both my needs of school and origin in mind.
I know this write up has become pretty long with lot of questions and help, but any suggestions, comments or help would be really appreciated. Thanks a lot for all your time and patience reading all through. Regards.
Yes, it is complicated, I know. All I can tell you is that many students turn up midterm and most schools are used to that happening and know how to deal with it.
I can’t help you in any way whatsoever about schools in Melbourne, I live in Brisbane so I have no idea about them. You’d be better off asking on my page about Melbourne. The only people who could fully explain the entrance criteria to you would be the schools themselves.
As for finding out where all the Indians hang out, check out this page…
My family and I plan to move to Adelaide in Sep 16.
I must say the public schools that I have contacted (findon, unley,woodville) in adelaide and DECD,SA have been very prompt in their responses and very forthright and positive as well. They address any specific queries that you may have.
I am also in a similar situation but shifting to Sydney. Were you able to find out answers for your questions? Can you help me with pointers?
Is this statement accurate when applied to private schools?
“It’s important to note that nearly all Melbourne schools are restricted by ‘zoning’ meaning if you live in a designated suburb, you’re unable to attend a school outside of that suburb.”
Specifically looking at schools like MLC, Wesley….was told this by someone in our company and obviously that changes my research before we make a trip to see the place. Thanks.
I assume this is a statement made by somebody else in the comments? I don’t know for sure, but like yourself I don’t think it applies to private schools.
I think you can live where ever you want to live as long as you pay the fees 🙂 Best thing to do though would be check directly with each school you are interested in.
Was told this by someone in my husband’s company and obviously that changes my research before we make a trip to see the place. Thanks.
It doesn’t make any sense to me, not sure why they would say this. I’m still completely overwhelmed by all the school choices so not in a position at ask schools yet.
The zoning suggestion about schools in Melbourne was probably referring to state schools only. In order to qualify for a place students do usually need to live within the catchment area of the school.
Yeah that is what I would have assumed only all the schools they sent me as prospective schools are private schools hence the confusion. Thanks for confirming what I think would be the case, I’ll confirm with a rental agent once we get that far into the process. Thanks!
If we live in a rental on arrival for Sat six months and child goes to Catholic school. What happens if we then but out of catchment ? Can they chuck is out please ? Or can child and next child attend still?
Well, that’s something you are probably better off speaking directly to the school about, but most catholic schools if I’m not mistaken are privately run and therefore you pay for your children’s education.
If this is the case for the Catholic school you’re looking at, then I don’t think the catchment rules apply. I think they are only for state schools which are free. As I say though, you really do need to speak directly to the school about this.
I have got a PR visa for australia. My daughter is just 5 years old. All I am concerned is wheather my kid would be able to understand what her teachers would be teaching her as she doesnt understand english. Now if she doesnt understand something then I explain her in my native language, but how teacherz in oz schools will handle such situations.
Is there any work around for this.
Yes, there almost certainly would be a workaround, our schools are used to accepting new students that don’t yet speak English very well.
Somebody mentioned this sort of thing somewhere in the comments before, they said that their child was introduced to another student who acted as an interpreter. So I’m sure your daughter will be just fine, and before you know it, she will be speaking English like native. Good luck, Bob
We are moving to Adelaide in June from the USA . We are looking at Mawson Lakes as an area to live. Does anyone have any idea if this is a good neighborhood to raise a family? Also, Mallala Primary and Parafield Gardens high school……are these decent schools?
I live in Adelaide since over a year now. Mawson Lakes is a very good suburb to live in and the Mawson Lakes Primary school is good. It is nice to live there but if you have to travel to CBD it will be a good 25-30mins drive for you. I havent heard mucg review of Parafield gardens high school but know that Prescott and Blackfairs are considered as one of the best in the northern adelaide.
Hope this helps.
Hi bob…i will be immgriating over to Australia by next year..my son will be 5..he had speech delay and speech therapy program, now he is doing just fine…would like to know which schools can help on such matters ..thank you.
I think Google will have to be your friend on this one, it’s a bit too specialist for me. Do keep subscribed to these comments though, maybe somebody will see this and come here to help you out, it does often happen. Good luck, Bob
Firstly what a fantastic, honest and realistic site you run, it has been invaluable to me during many a late night breakdown!
We have been divided as a family about the move but pursued the visa as my husband was almost 45!
We received the visas in Nov 15 and plan to move once our eldest daughter completes her A levels June 17.
We have 4 children, 5, 10, 12 and 16, a few people have told us it will be impossible to settle as you don’t meet people at the likes of school runs like you do in the UK, and that they have heard English families aren’t welcomed within schools. Now my older three are sport mad and really friendly children but I worry that their positive thoughts about Oz will disappear!
We are currently thinking Brisbane or either sunshine/gold coast to live, 2 of the kids are also a good year ahead here do you know if the Oz school system will suit that bearing in mind they have already been in school longer than Australian kids.
Also at what age do kids go to Uni, will her A levels count (expected top grades) and will she be eligible for student loans like she would in the UK?
We spent a month in and around Brisbane xmas 2014 and will activate our visas August this year to experience the winter!!
Many thanks for any advice you can offer.
Thanks, glad you like my website.
English children are not welcome in our schools? Who on earth is filling your heads with such rubbish? If I just think of a small handful of my friends who moved here in the last nine or 10 years, I can name you nine children who have all made loads and loads of friends. My daughter was three years old, my friends children range from five years old all the way up to 16-years old at the time of their arrival here.
They all have lots of friends and not one of them has complained or wanted to return home. Your kids will be just fine.
I can’t really help you directly with choosing schools other than the information that is on this page. As for uni, I’m not sure, but I think student loans are only available to Australian citizens, but you might want to doublecheck that with someone who does know.
Hope that helps and good luck with your move, Bob
I saw your web page and found i very useful.
I am from India and will be coming to Australia in September on PR visa. I have two kids age 12 and 14. I want to know are there any Indian schools in Australia. If yes – do they come under Private or public school? What will be the fees for the school.
I’ve just done a quick Google search, I found the Canberra Hindi School, not sure what other Indian schools there might be. Most of our schools are multicultural, your best option for your children to integrate well into Australia would be to send them to a regular school. Isolating them from the Australian community is not, in my view, a good idea.
I dont want to isolate them. As they are in secondary grade(7 & 9), it would be difficult for them to have sudden change that is the reason i was looking for Indian school. But your reply has change my mind and I will look for regular school.
I just wanted to say that we came on a PR visa recently. I put my children (8, 12,15) to a public school that has 15% international students. Everyone has been very kind and warm. They all have good experience and have adapted within weeks. As soon as they start school and make contact with peers they will feel less homesick. Same with school staff. All very understanding and supportive. Makes me all really happy. People here are generally really friendly and kind. Patient and understanding! Welcome begins at the airport and it just continues!
Thanks. You Have cleared my doubts.
You will be surprised how quickly children adapt, especially at that age Naqib. As Tina says, the people here are generally very kind, warm and welcoming.I’m pleased to hear you have had a rethink, mixing in with the locals is definitely the best way to go 🙂
Tina, would you mind sharing which school has a 15% international students?
Taroona High in Hobart, Tasmania. It’s easy to look it up online. I searched a year ago and found statistics on the school ratings in entire Hobart, also the number of international students. The Primary my youngest goes to is also proud of having many international students. Also one other thing is that there are also children born in Oz, but their parents weren’t so they sometimes speak their parent’s language also. The first day my youngest came to school I had a girl speaking some of our language waiting for her to help if necessary. That was arranged without me knowing. And next week they got in a teacher for her and this other boy to teach them individually. I was really impressed. Also the first day of school the School Principal came to introduce her to new class. He kneeled to be their eye level, explained that they have only one new name to remember and she has 20 or so. Few days after, we just passed him by and he told us how she was doing and was really interested and on top of it. She even got a Certificate for coming to school with positive attitude and friendly manner when there was this school merit awards. I cannot stress enough what it meant to her. I still can’t believe this is all true :-).
thanks for the great site. We are considering public school for our kids (in Brisbane area), and we would like to know if there is such a thing as a monthly fee for expats (meaning public schools are only free for locals)?
It depends what kind of visa you are here on, but at the moment state schools are free in Queensland for most visa types. You can read more information on the following page…
Hope that helps, Bob
I think you need to mention that the culture in Australia is proudly Australian and good on them,but we have discovered on the Gold Coast words like Ethnocentric and Xenophobic come to mind and when dealing with parts of the culture here,the mindset is poles apart from the mid west or even large cities in the US .
Why would I want to mention the views of a minority living on the Gold Coast on a page about choosing a school in Australia? I do have a post on the subject though, if you’re interested, it’s called Is Australia Racist?
Hi Bob (and everyone reading this), I noticed in a lot of the comments people seem to be saying strange things about ages and stuff. I realised this is because in different states the schooling system varies. I am a Victorian student so I can offer some clarification for people wanting to move down here. Basically the school year begins around the start of February, give or take a few weeks. Most of the time (I’ll talk about exceptions in a minute) kids begin what we call prep when they are 5. Then they do year 1 when they are 6 and so on and so forth. People usually do three year old and four year old kindergarten in the 2 years leading up to school. The exceptions are some kids who are born in April and before can start school when they are 4. Not all kids do this but a lot do.
I hope this helped at all because schooling in Victoria is great 🙂
Thanks for this Lana, very helpful. It is a confusing subject, my understanding though is that at some point, possibly, all states and territories will fall in line with each other.
I wrote a post about it not too long ago, the link is towards the bottom of the article above, the one about what age children start school. I’ve just had a quick look again, it appears what I’ve said about Victoria falls in line what you’ve just said, which is nice 🙂
Thanks again, Bob
Hi! We are an American family moving to Adelaide. Does anyone recommend any schools in the area for 2 first graders and an 8th grader? Also, are there any communities to look into living in over others? We just want a smooth transition and would love to find a good community where our kids can play outside with neighbor friends. Thanks!
If you don’t get any help with that here April, you might want to ask the same question over on my page about Adelaide. Good luck, Bob
we are planning a move to Melbourne with my 2 sons aged 5 and 6.
I am bit confused about where to start to find good schools. We wanted to try state schools to see if we can get seats for our sons. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
To start applying should the 457 visa procedure be completed as my employer will be starting the process soon but we are worried that this could be too late for us to enroll for February. The company is providing accomodation so we could move directly into the catchment area.
I heard about selective schools, do you know the year when the exams need to be taken?
Many thanks for any help and have a great X-mas down under, seem sto be pretty hot now in Melbourne.
Hi Bob, thank you for the good website. We are planing to move to Sydney and I just have no idea which areas to look for good school/rentals. My boy is in primary school (year 5), and based on my search I can see the northern part of the city are preferable. Is this right? And I can see that not many schools are accepting students with a temporary visa (457), so what would be the strategy here?
I don’t know the area well enough to advise on this Anita, you might be better off asking this question on one of my pages about Sydney. Or you could do some research on my page called Which school?
I was under the impression that a state school could not refuse a child a place providing they were resident within the catchment area of that school. Are you saying that doesn’t apply to 457 visa holders? I’d be surprised if these schools could refuse, children have a right to education. Good luck, Bob
Hi! Love your website! The family is moving to Adelaide for 18 months. We will be there June 2015. School here in the US ends in May. My kids will just have finished kindergarten and 7th grade. I heard schools there are year round and i was just wondering how that would work, would they come in during the middle of the school year? Would they be able to be put into 1st and 8th grades or would they have to go back into kindergarten and 7th? I’m confused! Also, do you recommend any schools in that area? Thanks.
Hi April, glad you like my website 🙂
I think I can unravel the confusion for you, I wrote about this recently, check out this post…
As for which school in Adelaide, I couldn’t help you with that, I’m the Brisbane boy myself. You might get some help from the locals over on my page about Adelaide though, good luck, Bob
we’re egyptian and we’re planning to move to brisbane. my son is 5. he just finished his first year in kindergarten, but of course his first language is Arabic (he knows a little english). so my question is how willl that be for him studying in an australian school and dealing with his colleagues
I have no idea I’m afraid, I simply have no experience of this. He won’t be the first non-English speaking child to turn up at Australian School though, so I’m sure they have a way to deal with it, but I am equally sure it involves him picking up the English language as quickly as possible.
Good luck, Bob
You should look at schools which are larger and closer to the CBD. The larger the school, the better they can facilitate language lessons. But, with experience with students who’s first language is arabic, they pick up the language and other things from other students. if he knows a little bit, that will get him through enough of the schooling before he can speak english fluently.
I hope so. Thanks
Don’t worry, your son will pick up English in no time, the younger they are, the faster they learn. In response to other questions above,
– I came to Aus (Perth) for year 11, I did ESL (English as Second Language) instead of normal English. Not every high school offers ESL.
– catholic schools are normally good value for money, one should not discount them from their school selection list. My eldest son is currently at Terrace and we are pretty happy. We have student exchange programme with Konan High School in Japan.
– other girls catholic schools to consider: St Rita & Loreto.
– french is taught from primary school. St Elizabeth’s Tarragindi where my sons went (one currently still there) has French starting from yr 5. Recently I heard the current Prep students are starting french.
Hi, I’m getting ready to move to the Melbourne area with my two daughters, 10th grade & 8th grade. I will temporarily be staying with relatives in Coronet Bay but want to enrol my daughters closer to Melbourne where I plan to live once I have a job, etc.
I’m looking at Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.
Can you recommend the best schools to look at that don’t require me to have an address in that area? I’m not sure how long it will take me to find employment and rent a house or unit.
Sorry Renny, no I don’t, I simply don’t know that area well enough at all. If nobody else answers you here, maybe you could try asking this same sort of question on my page about Melbourne and maybe some very from over there will be able to help you out.
Hi Bob – you may be able to answer this if not perhaps someone else can… we think we will it will be September, October that we will be moving to Australia. My daughter turns 4 in August so in the UK is due to start Reception this September (but wont as it isnt worth it)… however reading websites it looks as though she will not start school in Brisbane until Jan 2017 a whole year and 4 months later – is this correct. My daughter is ready for some form school and was quite excited for starting… is there any play school before prep or is it just child care? I know you said your daughter was 3 1/2 so hoping you will have some good advice/suggestions for me.
Unfortunately Kim I think you are right. The cut-off date here is 30th of June, your daughter would have needed to be 4 by then in order to start in January 2016. She’s not, so therefore she has to wait until January 2017.
As far as I am aware there is only kindergarten (kindie) as the other option for which you will have to pay, but you may get some assistance from the government depending on your situation.
I’m pretty sure this is how it all works, but do check with the local schools when you get here because sometimes different states do different things. It was different for my daughter, her birthday is in March, so she got into school a bit earlier.
Sorry is not good news, hope you find a suitable solution.
Hi, I just wanted to mention that kindergarten in Australia is free. It is part of the state school. To enter 1st grade a student must turn 6 years during the academic year. This mean 5 years for preschool and 4 for kindergarten. Students with english speaking difficult will be dropped a year.
When I moved from Japan to Australia, I was 5 turning 6 that year. Due to my poor english, I spoke Japanese and had attended a Japanese kindergarten, (kindergarten is 3 years in Japan before entering 1st grade) I was admitted to preschool instead of 1st grade. My mother tried teaching me english before moving to Australia, but it was not sufficient enough to enter 1st grade as I spoke Japanese at home.
I speak fluent english now and am now studying university in Europe.
Please see my reply to the kindergarten part of your comment above.
This is mubeen we will be migrating to Australia. My son is 4years he is studying in nursery we are checking out for schools for him in Melbourne. When will academic year start there and what grade he should be admitted in please let me know.
This is how I think it works at the moment Mubeen. If your son is five before the cut-off date of 30 June 2016, he will start school at the beginning of the school year of January 2016 and go into year one. If he is five after that June 30 cut-off date he will not start school until January 2017.
Similarly, if your son is five before 30 June 2015 he is already old enough to be in year one at school and will go straight into classes when you get here.
We also have preschool setups and kindergarten for those who are not yet of school age.
The academic year starts from late January or beginning February to November.
Kindergarten in Australia is free. It is part of the state school. To enter 1st grade a student must turn 6 years during the academic year. This mean 5 years for preschool and 4 for kindergarten. Students with english speaking difficult will be dropped a year.
Primary schools in Australia have 3 groups in year (excellent, good and bad). You don’t want your son in the bad group after 1st year, some students in that group are new can’t speak any english and teacher have to spend time teaching them when they could be teachjng the other students.
When I moved from Japan to Australia, I was 5 turning 6 that year. Due to my poor english, I spoke Japanese and had attended a Japanese kindergarten, (kindergarten is 3 years in Japan before entering 1st grade) I was admitted to preschool instead of 1st grade. My mother tried teaching me english before moving to Australia, but it was not sufficient enough to enter 1st grade as I spoke Japanese at home.
I speak fluent english now and am in Europe currently studying university.
I been in a state school, later studied in an international school in the middle east. One of my friend moved to a Catholic school and another to a public school teaching IB curriculum. My friend studying at Catholic school was very fortunate to have received a scholarship from the school. As I have found out year 10, 11 and 12 in an IB taught public school cost $3,500 altogether. This fee is mandatory for all IB schools.
A family friend of parents sent their son to a private school and keekept complaining about the fee. The school had 3 groups (excellent, good and average) in each year. When their son finished 7 grade and entered 8 grade he was moved from excellent group to good group. The private school he studied at his the number one school in all of Australia. Every student entering the school has to give the entrance exam. He went for coaching during 6 grade so that after finishing his public primary school he could enter a good highschool.
Thank you for your contribution here, but I’m pretty sure you will find that kindergarten is not free in Australia. Fees apply, but for some people there may be a subsidy. That’s my understanding.
Some state schools in some states do offer one free kindergarten year, that is the year before they start school in grade 1. It may be a case that they all do, but I don’t know for sure, so I suggest anyone looking to put their child into kindergarten checks out the costs involved wherever it is they are moving to.
can you tell me what documents should I prepare for my children’s school enrolment. Of course their IDs and vaccination cards, but I was thinking of their school grades diplomas transcripts and such. They are 7, 12 and 15. I can’t contact schools yet cause we don’t have the address yet, but we have so much to do before we arrive and I would like to prepare as much as I can while waiting which is with the doctor’s the most difficult ;-). I’ve been living with one foot over for almost a year and I am so looking forward to be on the one way flight.
Also, this site is great! I agree everything is easier with a Mara agent so I would definitely suggest everyone to take one if really eager to come to Oz.
I tried to find more info on how to pick a phone and Internet provider and a digital TV . So if there is a link or you could say something it would be great!
I’m not sure exactly which documents you should be putting together for the school, but I’m sure just having all of their reports, grades and diplomas will help. What you must do though when you arrive here is register with Centrelink, you can read about that on the following page…
As for Internet and mobile, Telstra are the big provider but they are expensive, I would go with TPG for my Internet and Vodafone for mobile, that’s who I use and I’m very happy with them. Good luck, Bob
Many thanks Bob.
Well, I have this concern that no matter how hard my children will work to improve their English capabilities, they won’t manage to get to the level that is required to cope with let’s say grad 10 class materials in a year or so. I’m wondering if I can find some sort of special English educational program at some institutes in Australia that can prepare them to switch from non English education system to Australian English one.
This difficulty could be easy to subdue when the kid is in grade 1 or 2,,, let’s say 3 at max… But with my children’s case of grade 10 and 8, I’m afraid there is going to be a huge gap in language qualifications between them and their classmates therefore I’m seeking your advice .
Thanks again Bob, Btw, I found useful information on your site that I couldn’t get anywhere else before. I Really really appreciate that Bob.
I am not aware of such a program, but that isn’t to say that one doesn’t exist here. I’ve simply not looked into it. Hope you find something that suits, and thanks, glad my website has been useful to you.
Good luck, Bob
I’m moving to Australia next year. My children have never been to English school before and they are not too young as one is in grade 9 and the other is in grade 7. What school arrangements should I take in consideration so as to qualify them for joining English schools when we arrive in Australia.
Thanks in advance.
I’m not really sure what arrangements or considerations you could take, other than researching and ensuring you select a school with a good record of results. You can do that by following the tips in the above video.
Other than that, you could prepare your children by improving their English language skills, that would surely help them in this situation.
If I’ve misunderstood your question, please do let me know Derar.
I have mailed a few things to your site and found it Really VERY helpful – its great! We are just starting the palava of moving our dog….and realise she won’t be able to come out there till April – OOPS!!! Ah Well that will be something to look forward to.
I have yet another question though (as the move gets closer there seems to be more and more of them) Applying for schools – HELP! How can you apply for a school when you don’t have an address over there yet? Or do the kids just come along for a holiday for a bit before they start? My three are 8, 9 and 12 but all the applications require an address which I don’t and won’t have till I get out there (OCT time) so I can’t even work out which school to apply for. Hubby will be in temporary accommodation until we arrive. Any thoughts/hints/tips/ideas?
I don’t know this for sure, when we arrived our daughter was preschool age. The problem you have, I think, is that you need an address so that you can be directed to the correct school, that is to say the school that is in the catchment area of your address.
State schools have an obligation to provide an immediate place to children living within their catchment area, private schools are different, but as they make money from taking on students, they can usually find you a place pretty quickly, unless it really is a very desirable private school. Private schools probably won’t be so fussed about your address, so you could probably approach them before you arrive here in Australia to see what they say.
I’d get a second opinion, but that’s the way I think it works. But hey, I’m sure your kids won’t mind having two or three extra weeks off school while you sort it out 🙂
This is just a fantastic blog. I keep coming back to it for information – and I’m an Aussie.
I’m wondering if you or anyone has any information on sending a child to school temporarily, and how to go about it.
I’m an Aussie expat living in Japan and want to send my child to school in Queensland for about 3 weeks during her summer school holidays in August.
Any ideas or suggestions how I should go about it?
Sorry to add – she’s an Australian citizen and speaks English well (in addition to Japanese).
Hi Alison, great to hear that you like my website and it’s fantastic to hear that I am also helpful to Aussies, not just to those looking to move to Australia.
Australian state schools have an obligation to find a place for those living within their catchment area, but I’m pretty sure it would not cover children here for a short term holiday. That’s not to say you won’t be lucky though, I think you will have to talk to individual schools to see if they can accommodate your request.
They may let your daughter sit in or it may be too much of an administrative headache for them to set up for such a short term. All you can do is ask and see what happens.
Good luck, Bob
Hi Alison, there are some schools in Queensland that offer Japanese language. There also some that have exchange students from Japan, my school did. Maybe your daughter can be an exchange student for 3 weeks.
Fantastic Website. Just the thing I needed to find as we are on the verge of making a very big decision. My main worry though is the kids (got 3 aged 8,9 and 12) and schools and especially my 12 year old. What do you know of schooling for that age? Also, what are your experiences of teenagers – think they are ready to accept new friends out there?
Thanks and keep up the blog!
I really don’t think you need to worry, my daughter is 10 and a few of my friends kids are 12 and 13, schools here are really good and yes, they are ready to accept new friends.
Australia, in my opinion, is a much better place to bring up children and I think all of your kids would benefit greatly from living here. Teenagers can sometimes be the most difficult to settle in, mainly because they don’t want to leave their friends behind.
I reckon your younger three will breeze it, your 12-year-old might be a bit moody but within a year (or less) it will all fall into place.
Good luck, Bob
Hi Bob this is a really cool website. Apparently I study at a public school grade 9 (Carwatha college) and next year my mom want to move me to a private school (Nazareth college) I don’t want to move because I love my public school. Is there anyway to convince my mom about the idea that “Private school is better than Public school because you spend more moneys”. And does Nazareth better than Carwatha?
Thanks, glad you like my website.
The reality is that some private schools are better than public schools, and some public schools are better than private. If you watch the above video and then go to the suggested website, you should be able to do a direct comparison between the two schools you mention.
Depending what it says, you may find something to convince your mum to let you stay where you want to stay. Personally I don’t know anything about either school, but if you do plenty of research maybe you can come up with some pros and cons to change your mum’s mind.
Good luck, Bob
Thanks and yes had digested that one earlier. Now we just need to find a 3 bed house that will take a dog in the western burbs of Brisbane. Every one we like says no pets :0 (
Yes, it is a bit harder to get a rental when you have a pet, but stick with it, I’ve been told the rental market is very quiet at the moment so I think somebody will allow you in with your dog rather than allow their property to remain empty.
Hi – love love the website. I have a question on schooling which I have tried first to find on other posts but not found what I was looking for so here goes.
I am an NZ citizen ( born there but now living in the UK ) and have been able to pass my citizenship to my children who are now both NZ passport holders and so we can all arrive in Aus “tomorrow” (meaning only my husband needed a visa and that was a subclass 461 – family of an NZ person visa and that was approved yesterday – so we are all mightily excited. )So we are off ( house sold this weekend too) and Brisbane is our destination of choice. I will be looking for work in the CBD as I work in digital marketing and there seems to be some good openings in the CBD for that line of work.
NOW – sorry back to the school question…..My daughter will be in her final “primary school” year when we arrive so I naturally have my eyes on where we might choose as a suburb to rent in in order to find a nice secondary school for her as she turns 11 a year later. We are not Catholic and would be looking at a private school. We have checked the website you mentioned and there only seems to be Brisbane Girls Grammar. Is that correct ? If so – do you have any thoughts on other secondary schools. She is just taking the 11+. Will she have to take an entrance exam in Aus to attend private school ? Any suggestions on some suburbs that give good access to good secondary schools. ( Looking to rent for 6 months and then hopefully buy )
Thanks again and thank you so much for keeping the site up to date. Gutted to hear about your wife’s business too. We are bringing a dog and would have loved to use her to take care of our family pet. (Can we sign a petition to get the regs changed at all ? )
Well, my wife made not be able to help you with your dog, but she has done a lot of research recently into secondary schools as our daughter is about the same age as yours and we are planning our next steps as well.
This answer has a decidedly ‘western’ slant, because that’s where we live. There are almost certainly more choices north of Brisbane that we don’t know about, but here’s what my wife had to say.
Of the non-denominational schools, yes, Brisbane Girls Grammar is one and another one worth considering is Ipswich Girls Grammar. Christian schools are Saint Aidan’s in Graceville and Saint Margaret’s in the city, I think those two schools are affiliated to each other.
Now, I wouldn’t discount Catholic schools if I were you, we are not Catholics either but we are seriously considering sending our daughter to one of these schools. They do not force the children to follow the Catholic religion, they simply run schools*. They are happy to welcome non-Catholic children into their schools, so you don’t have to discount them.
Some of their schools are very good as well, and they tend to be more reasonably priced than the non-denominational schools. Schools to consider that are Catholic are Stuartholme, All Hallows and Brigidine which is a particularly cute looking school.
Good luck, I hope you get to love this city is much as I do.
*I felt I should add a bit of a disclaimer here as I clearly can’t speak for every Catholic school in Australia. The ones we have spoken to do open their doors to the non-Catholics and say that they do not force the region on the students. Other Catholic schools elsewhere may have a different policy. Just talk to them, be straight and you should get a straight answer back.
Oh, I nearly forgot, you really should have a read of New Zealanders in Australia: What’s the Problem?
Good luck, Bob
Hi My husband and I are considering the option of moving to Australia..we already have family in Brisbane and love it! There is a strong possibility that he could have a position in Australia with the company he works for in the UK so we assume this would be straightforward for him and me. I am very unclear what the situation would be for our children.Both girls would be over 18 and University age .Would they be classed as International students if they wanted to go to Uni in Oz? The fees are obviously much higher…or if they chose to take a gap year with us in Oz and return to the UK for uni would they need their own visa etc? Any advice would be much appreciated.
The only advice I can give you is that your girls, being over 18, are no longer children, they are adults. As such they may have to apply for Australian visas in their own right, although if you can prove that they are wholly dependent upon you, they can be included in your application.
Just thought I’d mention that, but as they are at university, and not working, then you should be able to prove their dependence upon you.
As for how it would work should they come here with you, that’s something you should really be discussing with a MARA agent and hopefully your husbands company will have contact with one who you can use.
Good luck, Bob
Hi bob! Tnx a lot for the All the information ure providing us. My question is,…how about the medical stage …is it really hard or I mean strict to pass? Can u give me some advice or updates? Tnx in advance! Appreciate ur effort for answering all our questions! God bless! 🙂
No, it’s not hard to pass, you won’t have to run a marathon or anything, you just need to be free of any major costly illnesses to treat and free of anything highly contagious.
You will need a clean chest x-ray, and the medical itself will only take about 30 minutes or so. Good luck, Bob
Hi Bob. Thank you very much for give the important information everyone.
I am Mongolian. My husband will study at Griffith from 11 November 2013. We will going to Brisbane 28 October 2013. My son is 9 years old. Daughter is 4 years old. I have questions
1. Our first choose is children’s school or living apartment
2. In December 2014 My daughter will 5 years old. Can she going to pre school from January 2014
3. How decide the living apartment until we will find the rental apartment near MacGregor area in Brisbane. Can we rent the apartment without student and bank card. /Hotel is expensive for our families. Universities on campus is not possible for families /
Getting a rental here isn’t easy, I couldn’t precisely tell you which documents you will be asked to produce as each rental agency is different and at the end of it all, the final decision on whether to rent to any applicant is made by the landlord.
My advice would be to secure your rental first before looking for a school to attend as the school you register with will need to know your address first. If my calculations are correct, your daughter can start junior school on January 2015 and would be able to go to preschool in January 2014.
Good luck, Bob
Hi bob my question is quite complicated. My partner and i are residents in the uk. He has a brother and sister living in Darwin and his brother wishes to sponsor him so he can be part of his company. The problem we have us the two children. We have a son each from previous relationships (8 and 13) and although we have permission from the other parents to take them to australia, we are now being told that they won’t be able to enrol in school. Apparently because myself and my partner won’t be long married and that he has to be a citizen before the kids can come over? I’m so confused and don’t know where to go in uk for advice 🙁
I’m confused as well, so confused I don’t think I can help you with this. If your children, irrespective of their parentage, can be included in your visas to come here, I really don’t know why they would not be able to be enrolled in school.
I think you will probably need to talk this over with a MARA agent after giving him your complete details so that he knows the whole situation.
Thanks for the great website. We recently immigrated to The Brisbame region from the US. We are in the catchment to a good state school and the local catholic school is also very well rated (we are catholic). Our relocation agent kept refering to the state achool as ‘not a total train smash’, but urged us to aim to get in for the private school. I’m not sure I completely understand why private schools are so popular. Do they offer more and above and beyond the scope of a state school? Are the facilities nicer? Is it purely a matter of location? Does it offer an advantage for placement in a secondary school? Please tell me it is not a matter of exclusivity. I attended public school in the US and feel public is better than parochial there. The public schools offered more, ie drama, orchestra, band, art, college (uni) level classes in grades 11-12. The catholic school didn’t offer all these since it didn’t have the state funding. We have decided to go with the catholic school becaused I liked it very much, and I had a few slightly negative encounters with the state school. We are not paying for the tuition. I just want to make sure I’m making the best choice for my daughter. Thanks.
It won’t surprise you to hear there is no definitive answer to this, there are some really good public schools and there are some that are not so good. There are also some really good private schools and some that are not so good. It’s not impossible to have a public school that is better than a private school but it is probably more likely that private schools, on average, are probably better than public schools.
Confused? Of course.
It’s really all down to what’s available in your local area. My daughter has been attending our local public school for about five years now and we are very happy with her progress there and the performance of the school. Visiting each school, as you have done, will give you some big clues and the best you can do is go with your gut, again, as you have done.
You can also visit my page called Which school? and use the tools there to check out the performances of the schools in your area to see which comes out best. I wouldn’t rely on these results 100%, but by using the information in conjunction with your gut feeling, I’m sure you will end up selecting the correct school for your children.
Hi Bob! How are you? I just enter to this blog, and thanks! it is an excellent blog! Congratulations!.
On the other hand, im planning to go to Australia in July 18th. I have a Child of 1,5 years old. I leave here in Argentina. But im planning to go to work there for 1 year and then take my son and my wife there also. We believe will be a very difficult year, living apart, but we think is best. This country (Argentina) is becoming worst. I have 21, and Belgian nationality, so we believe it is time to make this important change in our lives.So we need contacts, information, and other. And I think this blog provides a lot of it. Thank you very much Bob,
Thank you Martin, it’s good to hear that my website is useful for you. I hope your adventure goes well, and you successfully find a way to move here permanently with your family.
Great web page, it is very informative !,
I was wondering if you could offer some assistance please as I have been offered a job in Dandenong, Victoria. I am trying to work out roughly how much it would cost for childcare for our 3 year old as she is currently in pre-school in UK and we wish her learning to continue if we come over. Secondly what is the chance of us finding a Kindergarten without a long waiting list as a nightmare situation would be arriving and not be able to find anything for her.
I’m afraid I will have to pass on this question, I am a long long way away from Dandenong and I have no idea about the availability or prices there. Hopefully someone from that area might be able to answer the question for you.
Anybody know the answer to this one?
Your website is very informative and helpful. We are planning to migrate to Oz with a PR by next year. we have two sons 9 yrs and 6 yrs. could you please advise us, whether to put them to a state school or a private school. what are the advantages of putting them to a private school. Also what would be the cost if we put them to a private school. Thank you Bob.
It’s just a choice thing really, I’ve been more than happy so far with our local state school, but I suppose it really depends on what the local schools are like wherever you head to.
All I can suggest is you use the tools on this page to help select your school, and click on the link I’ve included in the article to find out roughly what state schools cost.
thank you Bob.
Hi Bob i got your news letter regarding school fees im planning to move to Alice Springs i am a Diesel Mechanic by trade and was wondering if anyone on the site could recommend a good school in alice for our 5 year old son also my 3 year old would be starting soon so school fees are going to be a big decider if its too expensive for us to go were going to be stuck here in the uk. i heard that some states are wavering fees so any information about this would be greatly received thanks Bob your sites been great to look through and i really want to make the move but the mighty dollar will be the deciding factor for us. we will be comming over on a 457 visa initially thanks in advance Paul
As it says in my article about school fees for 457 holders, “At the moment, those in Northern Territory or Tasmania on a 457 TR are likely to have these tuition fees waived.”
That’s pretty much all I know, but it sounds hopeful. As for choosing a school, I can’t help with that, maybe someone from Alice will. Other than that, I’d follow the advice in the above video.
hello Bob. my wife is a registered nurse and she’s been here since february of last year. she took the bridging course and was absorbed and sponsored by the same hospital she took the course in. she then applied for a Permanent Residency for all of us (me and our 2 daughters). Once the Visa (187) got approved we packed our bags and headed to australia and arrived here on the 11th of january 2013. Immediately we enrolled our children at a nearby private school and they got accepted and we would just be waiting for the start of school on february. the problem now is.. me and my wife just got home from a private meeting with the school principal about the school tuition. apparently our visa subclass does not include us on the government scheme wherein they pay the school tuition fee (9,210 and 12,210). the school now is asking us to see other options or we could just pay the amount. please advise. thank you.
I’m not really sure I fully understand your situation here, but if you are Permanent Residents, then you are entitled to free state school education. Instead, you are looking to send your children to a nearby private school in which case, yes, you will have to pay the tuition fees. It is a private school.
What I’m not sure about is what bit you thought the government were going to pay and are now not paying.
But in answer to your question about options, then I would strongly suggest you use the above tool and search for the best state run school in your area and send your children there instead. State schools aren’t that bad, some are better than the private schools.
Let me know how it goes.
Bob, What if you are living in the catchment area for a high school and you move out of the catchment area. Does the school make you move? We are moving to Brisbane and may need to get temporary housing first, but we need to enroll our daughter in high school.
I’m not sure exactly what the ruling is on that one, I suspect the reality is it depends on the school. If they have too many pupils and are struggling to accommodate those who do live in the catchment area, then maybe they would ask you to move on. If they have plenty of room, then maybe they wouldn’t ask you to move.
My advice though, is you really want your daughter to be going to school as close to where you live as possible, it really helps out with settling in as she will have more chance of arranging after-school play dates with her friends that she would if she lived too far away.
Hi…. Bob your website is simply amazing, the more I read the more I love Oz and think we are ding the right thing in moving our fam over. I have been on the fence and my hubby has been pushing the move! Well now I am coming round to the idea! Schools, are the state schools in Melbourne fee paying? thanks.
They shouldn’t be, but that can also depend on what kind of visa you have, whether it’s a temporary or permanent residency visa. There will be some “contributions” I’m sure, but it shouldn’t be much. Maybe somebody living in Melbourne could throw some more light on this?
Hello Bob, I’m a grade 10 student studying in Singapore currently.
But I was wondering which grade I will get when I move to Sydney, Australia ?
I’m not exactly sure, it would depend upon your age when you arrive here. I believe some schools might also be flexible and put you in a lower or higher year if they think it would be best.
Hi um i just wanna say that i really love your website it is so helpful i got lots of information from it, i got to say that it is the best website i really wanna go to australia but i dont know how to start so im looking forward to talk to you so can you please reply i really like to take advice and information thanks(:
No good talking to me Jasmine, I wouldn’t know how to get you into Australia, my resident MARA agent would though, assuming there is a way for you. Check out my Visa Assessment Service.
First off, I must say I LOVE your website! It has really convinced me that moving to Australia is the best choice. But I do have one problem: I want to be a French Immersion teacher. In Canada, it is easy to find FI schools anywhere, but I tried Googling French Immersion in Australia and it came up with like one school in Brisbane. Do you have any information about French Immersion schools in Queensland?? Anything would be helpful. Thanks!
À bientôt! 🙂
I’m surprised you’ve found one, French is not in too much demand here in Australia and it’s not a subject on (as far as I know) any school curriculum. Do be aware though, this is not a definitive answer, it’s only my experience, maybe somebody else can tell you something different. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
I live in Brisbane and moved in OZ 3 years ago with all my familly from France. In Brisbane there is only one French Immersion school to my knowledge, it’s Mansfield State High School. Seems to be a very good school, but my kids are still to young to go there, but we think about it.
There are a few high schools in Gold Coast offering the FI programme. I know for a fact that Benowa High does. Hope that helps 🙂
I posted on here quite a while ago regarding the IELTS, which is now “under our belt”, and we are planning to move to WA by October next year.
As we are a family of 4, two children aged 7 and 5 Im a teaching assistant and my husband is a welder 1st class, we want to know about “nice” areas, with good public transport, good schools that sort of thing, google only tells you the good stuff and if it was just the 2 of us we could slum it for a while and move around until we found somewhere we love, having 2 young children with us makes the whole moving around thing harder as we will of already ripped them from friends and family so we want to move once (admittedly to the other side of the world) and stay!! Any info on areas to avoid would be most helpful 🙂 thanks Cal
I think you would need to narrow it down a bit before anyone can really help you, Australia is a big place. Have you not yet chosen a city or state? You can look at all my pages on where to live in the main menu above this page, click on “Australia’s Cities” or “Australia’s States”.
Be sure to read the comments on each page, you’ll get a lot of information from those. And check out my page about Australia’s best cities, again read the comments, lots of info there.
Hey Bob! Your website has been most informative. My question is…my girls have just started 5th and Kindergarten here in the US, if we move to Australia in January should I enroll them in 5th and Kindergarten there and make them go the whole year or should I let them finish their school here thru May and enroll them into the next grade level when we arrive, or should I enroll them in the next grade level in January? I’m so confused, since the school years are so different than ours here in the US. Thanks for all of the good info I look forward to your reply.
I’m not sure you will have a choice on that, I think your children will be put into a school year here depending on their ages and what month their birthdays are in. If you click on the link in the above article to the page about my daughters prep year, halfway down that post I explain how it works.
Once you’ve worked that out, it should help you decide the best time to make your move. Bob
Thanks for the help and the great web site! We got our offer today so I guess we’re Oz bound.
Congrats! I hope you get to love Australia as much as I do.
Loving your website! I just wondered whether you (or Mrs Bobinoz!) knows much about childare.I have 2 young children (four and four months) and we are hoping to emigrate to Oz in the next 2-3 years from the UK. As we both want to work (he’s an engineer and I’m a nurse) we would need childcare. Over here I use a private nursery and the older one will go to the breakfast club and after school club. I am really hoping you will be able to give me any information on the types of childcare available, do schools have out of hours clubs there? What sort of hours are these childcarers available, and obviously the cost.
Many thanks and kind regards
I think you will find that there are plenty of options here when it comes to child care. There are lots of preschool facilities, after-school clubs and, generally speaking, Australia offers good support for working parents.
So I think you will be well covered, but what it will cost and exact details will really depend on where you move to and when you get here.
many thanks Bob!xx
my partner, children and I are in the process of applying to emigrate. Can you tell me, once you arrive is there a time frame for getting your children enrolled in a school? obviously we, like you, would want to find the best school.
The state school that covers the catchment area where you live has an obligation to give your children a place. Other schools outside that catchment area or private schools do not and some of them have waiting lists. So your kids will go to school, but maybe not the school you want.
There’s nothing to stop you doing your research now, before you arrive, which you can do on this page.
Hi Bob, great website. I’ve searched your site and can’t seem to find anything about universities, could you maybe give a little info about different universities, pros and cons, etc? Thanks
That’s something I haven’t yet looked into, maybe I’ll put it on my list of things to do.
Hi Bob, I’m about to move over to the Gold Coast for the second time.. (first time in 2001 for only a year!) having visas for all provided by work with the family and my 3 year old German Shepherd Mabel..My eldest child is leaving school and looking at college for her first year.. any good tips on where the best colleges are mate?
£3000.00 is incredible for the bloody dog, but for the same reasons as you.. I have no choice!
Yes, a lot of money, but trust me, after four or five years you start to get over it 🙂
Sorry though Jon, I know nothing about the best colleges on the Gold Coast, it’s not something I’ve looked into. Anybody else have any ideas?
Griffith University in Southport/Arundel and Bond University in Varsity Lakes both have very good reputations
Thanks Tasman 🙂
Hi Bob, Im just about to take my last look at the internet as I am going to tell my wife about this website. I enjoyed the internet, it was good.
Ace new site by the way.
Thanks Chris. Perhaps you can secretly check in every now and then with your iPhone? We won’t say a word.