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Old Nov 7th 2017, 3:23 pm   #1
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Default Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

Hi

I'm hoping to move out to Australia in the next year or two once I've finally sorted out all my professional assessments etc and will be bringing my two young children. In the UK, children start formal schooling at 5 but I know it is 6 in Australia. My son will be 5 turning 6 when we hopefully move so i wanted to get a better idea of the schools in Melbourne in particular. My youngest son will be 2 so I would like some idea of early years provisions/nurseries/nannies etc as I will be working.

I wanted to get an idea of costs - how much does child care generally cost? I understand there is some sort of government subsidy so how does that all work?

Schools - I've been told that there is a public/state school system which is free, catholic school system which isn't free and then there are private/independent schools which you pay for. Forgive me because I know nothing about it but I understand that the Catholic schools are really good but you have to make a contribution. Does anyone know if it's anything like grammar schools in the UK?

Sorry if this is really vague but any responses related to this would be much appreciated.

Many thanks
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 7:44 pm   #2
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

Are you coming on a permanent or temporary visa? That makes a difference with respect to child care benefits.

Full time school starts when a child is 5 or about to turn 5 (before 30 April in Vic, the cut off date varies from state to state). School is not compulsory until a child turns 6 (which might be where your confusion arises). Government schools have a catchment area and are obliged to find a place for any child living in that area but sometimes you can negotiate an out of area enrolment. Whilst primary schools are “free” they do actually cost you quite a bit out of pocket with “voluntary” fees, excursions, visiting teachers, extra lessons, stationery, etc. They tend not to do school lunches like they do in UK. Catholic schools cost around the $6-7k pa and private schools anything but $20k for top level might be about right. Not like Grammar schools at all even though one of the top private schools is Melbourne Grammar.

Preschool - user pays basically. The Vic government does pay a subsidy for 15 hours for 4 year olds I believe but fees vary from centre to centre and in Vic the year before full time school is Kindergarten. In Central Melbourne child care is going to knock you back about $120 a day with a little bit of respite from the child care rebate (if permanent)

Remember that all states are different though with respect to cut off dates, program availability, fees for temporary residents etc.
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 8:17 pm   #3
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

A lot of kids go to private school here, where private school consists of Catholic and private (as we know it) as quoll said. Here's the breakdown by area, Where do your neighbours send their kids to school?.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 6:31 am   #4
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

Thank you that's really helpful. So I would be coming on a employer sponsored so I think it's called a 457 skilled visa I'm not 100% because I think they changed the name. Those costs aren't dissimilar to the costs here in the UK so that's good to know.

In regards to the Catholic schools are they generally better like grammar schools here? I'm just trying to work out why they cost but obviously much cheaper than private school. Also in terms of the Catholic school does your child need to be baptised? We ate regular church goers but feel it should up to our children to decide about being baptized when they are older.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 7:23 am   #5
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

Happiness Where Learning Begins for school rankings.

In Melbourne, I think the private (expensive) schools near the CBD always score very well. Further out, I don't believe there's much difference between any. My opinion, others may (will) differ.

I think most schools have websites; choose an area and have a gander.

EDIT: worth a read to understand funding, Here's how Australia's schools are funded — and we promise not to mention Gonski - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

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Old Nov 8th 2017, 9:26 am   #6
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

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Originally Posted by quoll View Post
Are you coming on a permanent or temporary visa? That makes a difference with respect to child care benefits.

Full time school starts when a child is 5 or about to turn 5 (before 30 April in Vic, the cut off date varies from state to state). School is not compulsory until a child turns 6 (which might be where your confusion arises). Government schools have a catchment area and are obliged to find a place for any child living in that area but sometimes you can negotiate an out of area enrolment. Whilst primary schools are “free” they do actually cost you quite a bit out of pocket with “voluntary” fees, excursions, visiting teachers, extra lessons, stationery, etc. They tend not to do school lunches like they do in UK. Catholic schools cost around the $6-7k pa and private schools anything but $20k for top level might be about right. Not like Grammar schools at all even though one of the top private schools is Melbourne Grammar.

Preschool - user pays basically. The Vic government does pay a subsidy for 15 hours for 4 year olds I believe but fees vary from centre to centre and in Vic the year before full time school is Kindergarten. In Central Melbourne child care is going to knock you back about $120 a day with a little bit of respite from the child care rebate (if permanent)

Remember that all states are different though with respect to cut off dates, program availability, fees for temporary residents etc.
This is a fairly good summary.

I would add that it is also common to leave kids in the government primary school, and then move them to private school for secondary.

Another combination is to leave them in the state system and then move them to a private school for Years 11 and 12 (that would be when ATAR - university entrance - classes would start).

The best grammar schools are also booked many years in advance. You won't be able to rock up with your child and get a place there the year before, you would need to look at pre-enrollment and a down payment now (or in the next year or two).

Catholic kids get priority enrollment in the Catholic system etc.

You can keep the kids in the government school your first year, while you study options and canvass local opinion, then choose a private school to book into.

Also keep in mind there are some excellent government high schools, which compete with the private ones. It is worth exploring this too and saving your money, if housing in that neighbourhood is accessible.

Though the schools have intake areas, out-of-intake area entry may be possible in some circumstances. The better the school, the more people will be trying to get out-of-intake area entry so that won't necessarily be easy without a very good reason.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 11:53 am   #7
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

Okay thanks very much. I guess the main thing for us is that we may move back to the UK in the future so we need to make sure that the curriculum isn't too far off what they have in the UK.

Thanks for that website that is really helpful.

I'm still not understanding why catholic schools are paid for. I'm not clear on what more they offer than the standard state schools.

The areas that I have looked at so far in Melbourne are Ashburton, Burwood, Glen Iris and surrounding areas.

I think since it will be such a big move I would like to avoid putting my son in a school and then moving him a year later just because I don't want to unsettle him further.

In terms of childcare is it common for people to have nannies or are nurseries/kindergarten more common?
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 1:23 pm   #8
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

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Originally Posted by swh48 View Post
Okay thanks very much. I guess the main thing for us is that we may move back to the UK in the future so we need to make sure that the curriculum isn't too far off what they have in the UK.

Thanks for that website that is really helpful.

I'm still not understanding why catholic schools are paid for. I'm not clear on what more they offer than the standard state schools.

The areas that I have looked at so far in Melbourne are Ashburton, Burwood, Glen Iris and surrounding areas.

I think since it will be such a big move I would like to avoid putting my son in a school and then moving him a year later just because I don't want to unsettle him further.

In terms of childcare is it common for people to have nannies or are nurseries/kindergarten more common?
It's not England with sunshine, it's a totally foreign country so dont expect too much parity and dont expect that they will slot easily back into the UK system skills wise but OTOH the UK schools have been reported to have been excellent at helping returnee kids get back on track.

Catholic schools are private schools which is why you have to pay for them. But they are cheaper than the other mainstream private schools.

The temporary visa thing can be a bit of a nuisance. You will be forking out around $120 per day for child care for your second child (or thereabouts) and there will be no rebate for you. Also, be aware that if you are coming with a partner who expects to work, it is harder for temporary dependents to get jobs, especially meaningful career type jobs but if they dont mind making coffee or serving alcohol they should pick up something. Be aware, too, that at the moment Victoria doesnt charge school fees for temporary dependents but the states have been falling one by one and there is no guarantee that they wont suddenly announce that they are charging - going rate at the moment is anywhere between $5k and $10k depending on the state.

Most people choose where they live based on the accommodation they can get - access wise, price wise, community wise, availability wise and the schools just sort of slot into place. The schools reflect the catchment area to a large degree so if you wouldn't want to live in a particular area you wouldn't want your kid in the local school. They're all very much of a muchness standards wise but check out the myschools website

Last edited by quoll; Nov 8th 2017 at 1:26 pm.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 4:21 am   #9
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

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The temporary visa thing can be a bit of a nuisance. You will be forking out around $120 per day for child care for your second child (or thereabouts) and there will be no rebate for you. Also, be aware that if you are coming with a partner who expects to work, it is harder for temporary dependents to get jobs, especially meaningful career type jobs but if they dont mind making coffee or serving alcohol they should pick up something. Be aware, too, that at the moment Victoria doesnt charge school fees for temporary dependents but the states have been falling one by one and there is no guarantee that they wont suddenly announce that they are charging - going rate at the moment is anywhere between $5k and $10k depending on the state.
And so they should. The temporary skills visa is for companies who can't find skills locally. They need to find it abroad which costs. It costs in relocation of that skill, paying a premium for that skill, and paying for the extras - health, schooling, etc.

If people allow companies to lure them for the "chance to live in Australia" without sucking up with costs, or make the costs fall back on the skilled person, more fool that person.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 4:23 am   #10
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

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In terms of childcare is it common for people to have nannies or are nurseries/kindergarten more common?
Bit of both. We go for the nursery option for the social and learning advantages. $100 a day.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 4:33 am   #11
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

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The areas that I have looked at so far in Melbourne are Ashburton, Burwood, Glen Iris and surrounding areas.
This is a good kinder nearby, Ashwood Memorial Kindergarten. I know one of the educators, an NNEB from Bradford. She's OK! Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 5:32 am   #12
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

If you're looking at those areas, consider Mount Waverley. We lived there for 4 years when we came back to Melbourne and the secondary school is very highly regarded. You need to live in the zone though. Rentals are not too badly priced, but prices to buy a property are eye-wateringly high (the reason we moved out). Our kids went to Mt Waverley Primary which we were very happy with, but is quite a big school (around 700 kids now I think).
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 9:00 am   #13
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

Ah thank you that's really helpful. $100 a day doesn't sound too bad. I live close to London in the UK so the amount i pay in childcare here is a little more anyway so it's good to know I wouldn't have to pay out much more.

Oh yes I did look at Mount Waverley, that's good to know. We would definitely look at renting to begin with. We did consider applying for a permanent visa but I would actually like to see how we go for a couple of years first before making that decision otherwise that's a huge cost and always something that can be applied for later.

ebo1608 thank you. I guess my main questions are around their system and how it fits in with our eyfs system here? My son attends a nursery here and will be entering the pre school room in March so I wondered whether it is roughly the same over there. I'm sure it is but just want to make sure that he won't be behind when we move to Australia. Also if she has any information around schools etc that would be good. Also, my youngest will be about 18 months at that point so any suggestions there would be good. I was thinking a mixture of nanny/home care and a nursery.

I was interested in the school at five but compulsory at 6. Forgive me if I'm being a bit slow but does this mean that my son would be able to apply and start school at five?

Thanks for the information Beoz, at the moment my husband's job isn't a concern and luckily his occupation is also on the skills list should he need to find alternative work in Australia.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 9:35 am   #14
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Default Re: Education/school/early years/ child care in Australia

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I was interested in the school at five but compulsory at 6. Forgive me if I'm being a bit slow but does this mean that my son would be able to apply and start school at five?
I don't know about this compulsory at 6 thing, everyone I've every known (as an Australian native) started school when they were 5 or the year they turned 5.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 11:46 am   #15
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I was interested in the school at five but compulsory at 6. Forgive me if I'm being a bit slow but does this mean that my son would be able to apply and start school at five?
.
He can actually start at 4 if he has turned 5 before 30 April but you will be advised not to start him until the following year if his birthday is from February onwards. School is not compulsory, however until their 6th birthday so you do get families choosing not to enrol their kids in an educational establishment until they are 6. Once they are 6 they either have to be enrolled in a school or certified to do home schooling. However, from my experience, it wouldn't take much to keep a kid out of school and off the grid for much of their lives actually, there isnt a great system for catching kids who are out of school.
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