What to know about schools in Australia
“We are doing this for our children,” is a statement that I often hear when I speak to people who are in the process of immigrating to Australia.
In general, parents want the best for their children, and choosing a school is often a significant decision when they are finally clear on where they will be moving to in Australia.
In most Australian states school is compulsory from when a child turns 6 and a half until they are 16 or Year 10. They can choose to complete year 12 at school or choose to pursue a path to another institution or even enter the employment market afterward.
How do you choose a school for your child?
Choosing a school is a very personal decision, and it is always advisable to visit the school first, to decide whether the school will be a fit for your family.
If you choose to send your child to a public school, especially with regards to primary public schools, you have to live in that specific school’s catchment area. Therefore, it is a good idea to get as many recommendations of the schools in your area that will meet the criteria you have. When you have decided about the school that you would like your children to attend, you can go and look for accommodation in that area.
Public schools are secular and do not adhere to faith-based education.
Most schools are co-educational, meaning that children of all genders school together.
There are also selective public schools. This means that they have a screening process on who they will allow into the school, as they may be focussing on science and arts.
Many private/independent schools are faith-based, and you can choose amongst Catholic, Baptist, Anglican, to name a few.
Not all private schools subscribe to a specific religion, and many are secular as well.
Should you choose to pursue the private school option, you will have to let your budget dictate the school of your choice. Many private schools do have scholarships available. Investigate all the options available for entry into the school of your choice.
You do not have to live in the school’s catchment area, and many children use public transport to get to and from school.
Homeschool is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst many parents for a variety of reasons. Each state has its own set of rules for home education, but are in general quite supportive of the homeschooling community.
There are many pathways to tertiary education, and homeschooled children can easily get access to university.
Australia is such a vast country that parents who live in isolated communities enroll their children into distance education.
If you are serious about your child’s education, there will always be a way to have your needs met, even if those ways are unconventional.
To help you in your research about schools and how to choose a way of educating your children here are a few links:
(With regards to homeschooling, many parents find that joining Facebook groups help them. The website above is one of many that pop up when you google ‘homeschooling in Australia’.)
If you are already in Australia, please share your tips for finding a school for your children in the comments below.
© Chaleen Botha – All rights reserved
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About the author
Having moved countries twice (from South Africa to China and then to Australia) and interstate in Australia (from Queensland to Western Australia) Chaleen Botha knows and understands the complexities of job hunting in Australia.
As an alumnus of the University of South Africa and with an accountancy background, Chaleen decided to reinvent herself in her new home and found that she enjoyed helping others search for employment.
Since 2012 she has played a pivotal role in the development of LinkedIn profiles. These profiles assist her clients; whether they are job hunting or looking to establish their brands on LinkedIn; to get their message across, to connect with the right people, and to achieve their LinkedIn Objective.
Chaleen currently lives in Perth, Western Australia. When she is not working, she loves reading, watching movies and hanging out with her family and their two fur babies.