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Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Old Apr 17th 2012, 8:20 am
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Question Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Does anyone have any experience of moving their kids from the Australian to the uk school system?
We are planning our return to the Uk for about Apr/ May 2013. My kids will be 12 and 16 - they only know the Aus education system. I am worried that they will find the change difficult especially my 16 yr old who will be going into A levels.
We live in the ACT where there are pretty much no exams up to year 10. I would love to hear from anyone who has already made such a move.
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Old Apr 17th 2012, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Havent done it but good luck! CEM might be one person to get in touch with, her kids made the move at about that age and did OK. They will find it different but hopefully they will get on well!
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Old Apr 19th 2012, 11:33 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Thanks - I'll give that a try. If anyone else has experience changing to uk schools I'd love to hear...
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Old Apr 20th 2012, 9:39 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Hi. Yes we did it, but our girls were only away from the UK for a year this time.
I'm not sure what the schools would think of coming in to do A levels without GCSEs - we came back in time for out eldest to take them, but if you get in touch with the education dept or the school you're considering I'm sure they'll give you all the info you need. I can't really see that it'd be a problem.
We've had to move again (last September) since we came back from Australia, when our eldest was starting A levels and our middle one was in the middle of her GCSE courses! The school they're at now has been amazing helping the middle one adapt to the expectations of the different exam boards (in every subject!!) and she's all set for GCSEs this summer now. I'm sure your children will be given all the support they need.
If you find that your eldest can go straight into A levels it might be worth him/her considering some subjects which are only offered at A level, if that makes sense? That way all the students will be starting from the same position as your son/daughter. Our eldest is taking psychology which everyone was new to.
The schools usually have handbooks which tell the kids whether or not they need to have a GCSE (and at what grade) in the subject they're considering and there are plenty available - have a look on some of the school websites to give you some idea.
Which year will your youngest be in when you return? Our's is in year 9 now and she's faced with all the changes in the exam system (thank you, Mr Gove). Children currently in this year will not take modular exams, everything will be linear with all the exams taken at the end of year 11 (some are taken in year 10 and through the courses atm). A levels for this group are changing too. It's a bit of a lottery for them, I think, but at least they'll all be in the same boat and only judged against each other for uni places!
I hope your move goes smoothly and if there's anything else you'd like to know, let me know. I'm not an expert, but we have moved around quite a lot!
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Old Apr 21st 2012, 3:55 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Thanks CEM, I hope you don't mind if I quiz you a bit - its so good to find someone who has been through this.
My son will be 12 (he will have just started year 7 here) when we go so I'm hoping he will just slot in as he will start there well and truly before the GCSE courses start - do you know if they assess kids coming in from overseas?
My daughter will be 16 and will have done a few months of year 11 here. My original plan was to get a tutor for Alex (my daughter) and get her through the GCSE maths and english courses ready to take the exams when we get there, based on the idea that they are still the two fundamental subjects that universities want for entry along with A'levels and that it would give her experience of sitting very formal exams. I haven't got very far with this as I can't find a tutor - I would be ok getting her through them I think if I had the time but we struggle to get everything done as it is.
I have contacted one school in the UK - the one we are most likely to go to and got a reply from the lower school (not sure what they call it really) but no reply from the head of the 6th form. My next plan was to contact the local ed authority for any advice and guidelines.
The advice about the A levels sound good - this is the bit that worries me - that the year 10 certificate here means nothing to the schools over there. I am also worried that the leap between year 10 and A'levels will be very big.
I have a friend who taught A'level psychology in england and then came back here to teach yr 11 and 12 psychology and her opinion was that the A'level was significantly harder due to cramming more in and that my daughter would struggle with the change.
I have also thought about investigating alternatives although I'm not sure what they are.
So I have a few things to follow up. Its good to hear that your experience is that the schools provide support for children in this situation. Its something else I can specifically ask about with our possible school.
Thank you so much for responding. I'll let you know how i go...
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Old Apr 21st 2012, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

You're right in thinking the leap from year 10 to A levels is enormous (from GCSE to A levels it's huge too). The amount of work and the depth of study is much greater. Our eldest has found that this year (year 12) she's actually having to do some work! I think they all find the change a big one so Alex wouldn't be on her own. They really do have to do a lot on their own and read around the subjects in their own time, but, in our case the teachers are very aware of the big change and are very supportive.

A lot of places will allow students to take only three AS levels rather than the usual four, then either carry on with all three, or drop one for A2. That could be a good option for Alex and perhaps allow her to take a GCSE or two in her AS year? Some schools are more flexible than others in this though, so it may worth asking around a few if you can.

I think you may be right about needing GCSE English and Maths (and possibly dual award science?). English shouldn't be too bad as she will have done a lot of that in Australia - at least the fundamentals are the same! Our middle daughter has just had to do her English language GCSE course in an hour after school on a Wednesday because her last school did literature last year and this one's doing it this year, so she hadn't done any of the language course! She's worked really hard in her own time and just been told she's managed an A, so it is doable.
Maths may be a bit more tricky because the course content can be very different. Again our middle one has moved from IGCSE to GCSE and she's had a lot of adapting to do for that. GCSE (AQA) has a lot more stats work to cover and she had to catch up on some module exams, but she's managed it.
You can have a look on the exam board websites (AQA, OCR and edexcel are the main ones in England, but ask the school you're looking at which ones they use for each subject). You can get past papers from those which Alex can look at, or have a go at.
I've just asked my girls which websites they use for revision - BBC bitesize seems to be the main one. All the others they have to have a login for (perhaps an idea to ask for one from the new school when you've chosen it?).

Also have a look at the UCAS website. It's really useful and will tell you what the universities are looking for for each course.

The thing I've found is that there is always a way forward and there's more flexibility than you first think, so try not to worry too much. Easier said than done, I know!

Last edited by CEM; Apr 21st 2012 at 1:23 pm.
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Old Apr 21st 2012, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

I haven't done what you're trying to do but I have recently had children go through GCSEs and A'Levels in the state system in the UK. One thing that strikes me as problematic is that your child won't technically have completed year 11, so won't have been educated to GCSE level in Australia or the UK. Due to the pressure of league tables, the good schools won't take children onto A' Level courses without good GCSEs in the subject.

It may be that the sixth form advise that your child spends the returning year getting GCSEs and personally I'd take this option. Moving countries, starting in a new education system and launching into AS level courses immediately would be a big challenge. Now that the courses are modular (although many schools do have retakes now) the first year's results heavily impact the second year's.

Do you think your child would like to go on to university? If so, bear in mind that they aren't entitled to home student fees (which are high enough!) until they've lived in the UK for three years, even if they have British citizenship. Also, good universities require 3 A Levels or the equivalent in points. The very best are also looking for a language at GCSE (and are looking at GCSE results closely as they have to make their offers before A' Level results come in).
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Old Apr 22nd 2012, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by Lizandphil View Post
Does anyone have any experience of moving their kids from the Australian to the uk school system?
We are planning our return to the Uk for about Apr/ May 2013. My kids will be 12 and 16 - they only know the Aus education system. I am worried that they will find the change difficult especially my 16 yr old who will be going into A levels.
We live in the ACT where there are pretty much no exams up to year 10. I would love to hear from anyone who has already made such a move.
Hi,

Our two sons went from Aus (Perth) to the Uk their ages were at the time 16 and 19, our youngest went straight into 6th form and our oldest started Uni, both have settled in really well. Our youngest was studying 5 tee's in year 12 in Aus but wanted to move earlier so he could start in September in the UK so did not complete year 12 (I worried about this a load but he has been just fine) he does not seem to think there is a huge difference between A levels and tee's (there are the equivalent to each other anyway) all we did was bring his work from Aus to show his teachers and explain how they worked at his college etc and all I can say is his teachers were just great they are very used to overseas students and seem to be very adaptable. Also our youngest also enjoyed just how much more flexible his choice was compaired to his High School in Perth, he chose an Advanced Btec (worth 3 A levels) and also some GCSE's (his choice) and he is finding it fine to study these subjects. Good luck and all I can say is please try not to worry so much hard I know. Like anywhere in the world pick the schools,colleges you think will be best for your children.
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Old Apr 22nd 2012, 2:21 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by petrichor View Post
I haven't done what you're trying to do but I have recently had children go through GCSEs and A'Levels in the state system in the UK. One thing that strikes me as problematic is that your child won't technically have completed year 11, so won't have been educated to GCSE level in Australia or the UK. Due to the pressure of league tables, the good schools won't take children onto A' Level courses without good GCSEs in the subject.

It may be that the sixth form advise that your child spends the returning year getting GCSEs and personally I'd take this option. Moving countries, starting in a new education system and launching into AS level courses immediately would be a big challenge. Now that the courses are modular (although many schools do have retakes now) the first year's results heavily impact the second year's.

Do you think your child would like to go on to university? If so, bear in mind that they aren't entitled to home student fees (which are high enough!) until they've lived in the UK for three years, even if they have British citizenship. Also, good universities require 3 A Levels or the equivalent in points. The very best are also looking for a language at GCSE (and are looking at GCSE results closely as they have to make their offers before A' Level results come in).
This was not the case for our youngest son and I use to read threads like this and really worry me so please try and not post something like this unless you really no the facts etc...not trying to be rude but I do know a few other families who nearly did not move because of replies like this. Also our eldest son has nearly completed his 2nd year Uni here and had no GCSE's and he also had no problems what so ever in gaining a place at uni.
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Old Apr 23rd 2012, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by brits1 View Post
This was not the case for our youngest son and I use to read threads like this and really worry me so please try and not post something like this unless you really no the facts etc...not trying to be rude but I do know a few other families who nearly did not move because of replies like this. Also our eldest son has nearly completed his 2nd year Uni here and had no GCSE's and he also had no problems what so ever in gaining a place at uni.
Could you explain what part you disagree with? I was just trying to be helpful.
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Old Apr 23rd 2012, 8:09 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by petrichor View Post
Could you explain what part you disagree with? I was just trying to be helpful.
One of our sons did not complete year 12 in Aus and had nothing to show for his hard work (just how they system is in W.A) but school grades but was still able to study A levels in the UK without any problems and our older son although Educated mainly overseas attends Uni without GCSE's or A levels (has tee's though) and is classed as a Home Student, alll of these things were things I was informed would be a huge problem and it worried the heck out of us...but I just contacted Uni's, Colleges direct while overseas and they were a great help and I cannot fault the help our sons were given by their respective education areas here in the UK. Sorry I did not mean to sound rude and I know you were being helpful but it touched a nerve as it brought back memories of reading replies like yours that turned out for us not to be correct.
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Old Apr 23rd 2012, 9:39 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by brits1 View Post
One of our sons did not complete year 12 in Aus and had nothing to show for his hard work (just how they system is in W.A) but school grades but was still able to study A levels in the UK without any problems and our older son although Educated mainly overseas attends Uni without GCSE's or A levels (has tee's though) and is classed as a Home Student, alll of these things were things I was informed would be a huge problem and it worried the heck out of us...but I just contacted Uni's, Colleges direct while overseas and they were a great help and I cannot fault the help our sons were given by their respective education areas here in the UK. Sorry I did not mean to sound rude and I know you were being helpful but it touched a nerve as it brought back memories of reading replies like yours that turned out for us not to be correct.
Presumably your son completed year 11, though? That's the second GCSE year in the UK, which the OP's child won't have completed either in the UK or Australia, effectively skipping a year due to the different school years in each hemisphere. The situation isn't the same as the one your son experienced. If your son studied two years to get his A' levels, (and I can't see how it would be possible for him not to do this, as the courses are modular over two years now) then it wouldn't matter that your son didn't complete year 12 in Australia, as he would have repeated it in the UK.

Can I ask how your son was classed as a home student at university? The student loans information specifies that you have to have been resident in the UK for three years prior to application to be eligible for student loans, and I recall this is a question in the application process too. Did your son tick to say he hadn't been resident in the UK for that length of time?
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Old Apr 23rd 2012, 8:30 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by petrichor View Post
Presumably your son completed year 11, though? That's the second GCSE year in the UK, which the OP's child won't have completed either in the UK or Australia, effectively skipping a year due to the different school years in each hemisphere. The situation isn't the same as the one your son experienced. If your son studied two years to get his A' levels, (and I can't see how it would be possible for him not to do this, as the courses are modular over two years now) then it wouldn't matter that your son didn't complete year 12 in Australia, as he would have repeated it in the UK.

Can I ask how your son was classed as a home student at university? The student loans information specifies that you have to have been resident in the UK for three years prior to application to be eligible for student loans, and I recall this is a question in the application process too. Did your son tick to say he hadn't been resident in the UK for that length of time?
Except for course work our son completed in year 11 (these were in school courses) that was all the Education Authority here had to go on, completing year 11 does not mean anything really and year 11 work in WA does not work along GCSE work here in the UK. You can either decided to come home so your children can start the two year study of GCSE's or come home for them to start 2 years of A levels, Btecs and also GCSE's if so desired. It is much more flexible with the different variations in study courses here in the UK than it is in WA. Student Loans....our oldest did not need one and was still classed as a Home Student even before finances were looked into, not sure why he was classed as Home Student but 3 of the Uni's he applied to all granted Home Student and all were given the truth about our whereabouts etc.
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Old Apr 23rd 2012, 10:50 pm
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by brits1 View Post
Except for course work our son completed in year 11 (these were in school courses) that was all the Education Authority here had to go on, completing year 11 does not mean anything really and year 11 work in WA does not work along GCSE work here in the UK. You can either decided to come home so your children can start the two year study of GCSE's or come home for them to start 2 years of A levels, Btecs and also GCSE's if so desired. It is much more flexible with the different variations in study courses here in the UK than it is in WA. Student Loans....our oldest did not need one and was still classed as a Home Student even before finances were looked into, not sure why he was classed as Home Student but 3 of the Uni's he applied to all granted Home Student and all were given the truth about our whereabouts etc.
Okay, so your son did complete year 11, though, and repeated some of year 12. While there might not be any exams in year 11 the standard of work is probably similar between the countries, and I think (as another poster responded) the school may be concerned and may require a child to do at least some GCSEs. There are many schools that won't admit students onto A' Level courses without at least a GCSE grade B. I appreciate your experience was different but so was your situation and I still think this is something the OP should be aware of, and not blindly come over assuming everything will be okay and her child can start at any school doing any A' Levels they want.

Other things I stated are also important to bear in mind, particularly the fact that good universities won't take students with 2 A' Levels, as another poster said the child might be advised to take only 3 AS levels and drop one in the second year. University education in the UK isn't generally at the same standard it was 20 years ago. It's comparatively easy to get a place, but getting a place at a good university is just as hard as ever. It depends on what level the OP's child is working at, but many schools will discourage a child from over-stretching themselves because fails look bad on their league table results. I didn't say that universities won't take students without A' Levels. They do this all the time, and presumably your son had his year 13 exams from Australia?

On home student status, you'll see from my posts that I was referring specifically to getting a loan, not what the university classed the student as. (I don't really understand why your son didn't need a loan, even for tuition fees?). As I said, it states clearly on the student loan application criteria that the student must have been resident in the UK or the EU for three years prior to enrolment, and I recall this is a box you must tick on the form. My son's girlfriend is a British citizen but grew up in another country and she had to pay overseas fees to study in the UK.

Last edited by petrichor; Apr 23rd 2012 at 10:53 pm.
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 2:30 am
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Default Re: Changing from Australian (ACT) school to uk school

Originally Posted by petrichor View Post
On home student status, you'll see from my posts that I was referring specifically to getting a loan, not what the university classed the student as. (I don't really understand why your son didn't need a loan, even for tuition fees?). As I said, it states clearly on the student loan application criteria that the student must have been resident in the UK or the EU for three years prior to enrolment, and I recall this is a box you must tick on the form. My son's girlfriend is a British citizen but grew up in another country and she had to pay overseas fees to study in the UK.
I have a question here about the bolded part
So does this mean a British citizen cannot even get a loan in the UK for uni unless they have been in the UK for 3 years. I understand the international fees part, but loans?
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