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How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Old May 7th 2013, 8:40 pm
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Default How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

I am hoping that someone can give some advice about the transition from the UK to the NZ education system for kids in Year 11 and 12. My daughter has started her GCSE's exams and will finish her Year 11 in June. My son will finish his Year 10 in July. We plan to return to NZ (Auckland) September-December (not sure as yet). We still have to sell the house (we may rent it out until the market/exchange rate improves if we can't sell) so we will either rent in a good school zone, or live with my sister and pay private school fees. When talking to a private school they suggested that my daughter would go straight into Year 13 at the beginning of 2014 as her birthday is end of March (the cut off birthdate is end of March) and they would place her with her peers. In the UK she would have been just entering her second term of Year 12. She is freaking out as she says she will "miss" most of her Year 12. The school believe that she would be able to cope as she is obtaining good marks here in the UK. Another private school which does A Levels, insists she starts Year 12 as she needs to start A Levels from scratch and cannot "skip" Year 12. The state school would place her in year 13 also due to her age. Would she be able to cope do you think, given the adjustments of moving schools, let alone country? Do I let her start in Year 13 or insist she starts in Year 12? Her brother has the opposite problem - his birthday is early April, so he will "go back" a year. Even though my kids are only 1 year and 3 weeks apart in age, they could end up two school years apart. I don't want to upset my daughter and add stress, but if we do go down the private route then I don't want to shell out another years fees unnecessarily!
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Old May 7th 2013, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Hi Trafford-
I am a high school teacher though not in private education. If your daughter is doing well here she will probably cope missing out some of year 12- but It would be worth finding out if these schools you are looking at do NCEA or the Baccalaureate (french system) as some privates school do.
NCEA is a credit system so they need so many (i think 80? been back in the UK for 3 years!) to pass the year- the year 13 ones would allow them access to university. I am guessing if her grades are good here then they are thinking she will get enough credits in the remainder of year 12 to then do year 13. If she is in any doubt then maybe consider going to the start of year 12- hopefully the age thing will not be an issue to her as she will not know anyone anyway.
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Old May 7th 2013, 9:48 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Thanks garni, I was completely at a loss. Conflicting advice from different schools.

Originally Posted by garni View Post
It would be worth finding out if these schools you are looking at do NCEA or the Baccalaureate (french system) as some privates school do.
The state schools, and one of the private schools do NCEA - they are the schools that suggested she start in Year 13 and not Year 12.

Originally Posted by garni View Post
NCEA is a credit system so they need so many (i think 80? been back in the UK for 3 years!) to pass the year- the year 13 ones would allow them access to university.
We will probably not arrive in NZ until later in the year, so she wouldn't start until 2014. So if she started in and passed Year 13 (bypassing Year 12), would it be a problem that she had no "credits" at Year 12, because she missed that year out?

The other private school does IGCSE's and A Levels - which is why they said she must start at Year 12, because she needs to do the AS levels before progressing to A2. She cannot bypass the AS exams regardless of her age. She is keen to do that because it is more of what she knows, seeing as how it is the same examination system. Also that particular school is co-ed, which is unduly influencing her opinion as she is in a girl's school here. She wanted to go to school with her brother - for moral support I think. If you have ever seen the movie "Mean Girls", well that's what my daughter is expecting. She (half-jokingly) says she doesn't want to have to eat her lunch in the toilets.

Originally Posted by garni View Post
If she is in any doubt then maybe consider going to the start of year 12- hopefully the age thing will not be an issue to her as she will not know anyone anyway.
Good point Hadn't really thought about that. Here she has friends from year groups above and below. I keep telling her that she will make friends - she is a sociable girl. She can just be a bit quiet until she gets to know people. I suppose if she had a couple of years at school (Year 12 and year 13) then it would give her longer to adapt.
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Old May 7th 2013, 9:54 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Hi Trafford,

I'm also a high school teacher. We returned to NZ after 2 years out and had to put our boys back in to school. Youngest went straight to intermediate and it was no big deal but the older one completely missed year 10, he did ok in year 11, probably not up to his potential. He feels quite sore that he missed year 10 as he feels it impacted socially and academically on him. While in some ways NCEA is not as demanding as A'Levels it does build upon prior knowledge and quite often the more able students will be sitting some credits at a higher level (ie sitting year 12 level 2 credits in year 11).
Theoretically we could have put our eldest down a year, but he was returning to his old school and that would have been tough on him so went with his age group. I can't comment on your daughter but have to say that my gut feeling is that year 12 might be the better option to give her a chance to adjust to the kiwi system, the move etc.
It would be pretty full on joining in year 13.
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Old May 7th 2013, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Originally Posted by AndyEvs View Post
my gut feeling is that year 12 might be the better option to give her a chance to adjust to the kiwi system, the move etc.
It would be pretty full on joining in year 13.
That's what my gut says too, AndyEvs - but that is perhaps because I am a softie and listen to her worries. My OH tells me to stop mollycoddling her. If we go the state school option, then there is no financial reason to bypass Year 12, "just" to save the large chunk of money. I will obviously need to listen to the school also however and they may strongly suggest Year 13?
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Old May 7th 2013, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

The NZ system is supposed to be much less 'hung up' on the peer group than the UK one and of course the cohorts are indeed different because of the difference in the start of the academic year (February in NZ not September).

So I would have thought you could make a case to the state school for her to go back X months rather than go forward. It is much easier to repeat stuff rather than jump ahead and feel out of your depth.
Kids have more to lose from skipping time than doing extra I think. The enquiries you have made have just told you what the NZ norm for her birthdate is, they have likely not considered that she is in a system with a different start date/different curriculum.

Going private and doing A'levels might serve her better were she to choose to return to UK once she is an adult.
Do you absolutely have to relocate them at this stage of their education?
I think your daughter's concerns are very valid and you should make the transition as easy as possible for her.

FWIW my kids had the opposite situation too, one went slightly back and one slightly forward. Back in UK 5 years later both went back and have had a very smooth transition. International relocation stresses kids out enough without expecting them to miss out whole chunks of school years unnecessarily.

Last edited by luvwelly; May 7th 2013 at 11:54 pm.
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Old May 8th 2013, 2:59 am
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Luvwelly makes a very good point. The kiwis simply do not 'get' that the school terms do not match up. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to explain it to my HOD. I left to go to a northern hemisphere job so had to leave halfway through the kiwi year. When I returned 2 years later I came back in July, halfway through the year again! You'd think he'd understand after that but, no.
For that reason it is worth discussing things with the schools again. Failing that staple the term dates to the Dean's forehead (facing inwards) until they get the message.
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Old May 8th 2013, 3:21 am
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Originally Posted by AndyEvs View Post
Failing that staple the term dates to the Dean's forehead (facing inwards) until they get the message.
This thread has nothing to do with me and I shouldn't even be reading it but the above comment really made me
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Old May 8th 2013, 9:09 am
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Originally Posted by trafford View Post
I am hoping that someone can give some advice about the transition from the UK to the NZ education system for kids in Year 11 and 12. My daughter has started her GCSE's exams and will finish her Year 11 in June. My son will finish his Year 10 in July. We plan to return to NZ (Auckland) September-December (not sure as yet). We still have to sell the house (we may rent it out until the market/exchange rate improves if we can't sell) so we will either rent in a good school zone, or live with my sister and pay private school fees. When talking to a private school they suggested that my daughter would go straight into Year 13 at the beginning of 2014 as her birthday is end of March (the cut off birthdate is end of March) and they would place her with her peers. In the UK she would have been just entering her second term of Year 12. She is freaking out as she says she will "miss" most of her Year 12. The school believe that she would be able to cope as she is obtaining good marks here in the UK. Another private school which does A Levels, insists she starts Year 12 as she needs to start A Levels from scratch and cannot "skip" Year 12. The state school would place her in year 13 also due to her age. Would she be able to cope do you think, given the adjustments of moving schools, let alone country? Do I let her start in Year 13 or insist she starts in Year 12? Her brother has the opposite problem - his birthday is early April, so he will "go back" a year. Even though my kids are only 1 year and 3 weeks apart in age, they could end up two school years apart. I don't want to upset my daughter and add stress, but if we do go down the private route then I don't want to shell out another years fees unnecessarily!
Just a question, you say you plan to return, so you have already lived there? Your kids have lived there before and are happy to be moving at there ages?
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Old May 8th 2013, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

If I may hijack this thread slightly...my DD will complete her GCSE's here this June and then come out to NZ. She got the wind up her when someone told her she'd have to redo her year 11 exams as her GCSE's will count for nothing?? Anyone shed any light? x
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Old May 8th 2013, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Can't answer that directly but in theory you do not have to have studied or achieved Level 1 NCEA to study at Level 2. Inevitably it is more difficult coming into high school part way through the whole examination process. Like any qualification you need to make contact with NZQA to find out if GCSEs can be counted towards Level 1.
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Old May 8th 2013, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Originally Posted by AndyEvs View Post
Can't answer that directly but in theory you do not have to have studied or achieved Level 1 NCEA to study at Level 2. Inevitably it is more difficult coming into high school part way through the whole examination process. Like any qualification you need to make contact with NZQA to find out if GCSEs can be counted towards Level 1.
Sorry, very tired tonight, so can she join year 12 in February and study Level 2?
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Old May 8th 2013, 10:13 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Originally Posted by j19fmm View Post
Sorry, very tired tonight, so can she join year 12 in February and study Level 2?
Yes she should be ok to start level 2
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Old May 8th 2013, 11:59 pm
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

In theory yes not a problem but you need to speak to the school to confirm.
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Old May 9th 2013, 8:50 am
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Default Re: How will my teenagers adapt to NZ education?

Originally Posted by j19fmm View Post
my DD will complete her GCSE's here this June and then come out to NZ. She got the wind up her when someone told her she'd have to redo her year 11 exams as her GCSE's will count for nothing?? Anyone shed any light? x
Depends on the school she will go to.
Our DD passed all her GCSE's will flying colours just before we left, but the school she chose to go to did not recognise GCSE's or her results.
She did repeat her last year again though to give her enough credits to go to tech here.
Some NZ schools follow the Cambridge system of exams and as far as I know this does recognise GCSE's.
Contacting the individual school might be worth a try.
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