A Brief Guide to Choosing a School in Australia

One of the most asked questions from people who are moving towards Australia is “How do I choose a school for my children?”. Not an easy task when you’re 10,000 miles away and we’ll look at a few of the things you need to think about.

School for public or private

This is based on personal preference and what you are able to pay for. My kids both went to public schools in Western Australia and onto University which is why for me, public schooling have been excellent. Public schools are often very diverse and most draw their main body of students from the local community. Visit:- https://vietnamstudent.vn/

If you go private just beware that some are faith or religious and have a strict curriculum with some very old-fashioned values. Often, they are the schools are all boys and girls. They do take pride in sport and many operate superb sports programs. They are generally well funded which is what you’d expect considering they also receive funds from the government the expense of schools in the public sector. A top private school could cost $30,000 every year. Ensure you know the impact fees will have on your lifestyle costs.

There are many who can’t afford take their child to a top private school , but don’t fret that some public schools consistently beat the top private schools in the school rankings despite low financial situation. It is important to bear in mind that public schools aren’t free and top public schools can command fees up to $2,000 per year for a student who is in year 12. They may say voluntary contributions but if your child is willing to fully participate, they will have to contribute, and you’ll have to set aside money for this.

Cost is one aspect which will decide which schools we send our kids to school. Another aspect is where we live. Most parents have to reside close to their workplaces and this can dictate what schools are available to you. Just remember though the quality of education does not solely about outcomes. According to ACER (Australian Council of Educational Research) director Geoff Masters “The quality of education provided by a school is best judged not by its final results but by the difference it makes, taking into account students’ starting points. A school making a large difference ‘value adding’ to students’ levels of achievement and life chances may deliver ‘better education’, despite its lower Year 12 results.” Therefore, it is important to look at more than just results.

Australia, like the UK also uses league tables to compare schools. If you decide to use it, keep in mind the words of the ACER Chief Executive above on how schools can enhance the education of students. Find more details about league tables and how to compare schools in the area you’re looking to move onto on myschool.edu.au website. It covers the entire education systems across Australia.

The Myschool website contains quite a large range of information about schools. It covers the profile of population at each school, which is around 9,500. It also includes the outcomes of NAPLAN tests, student attendance and school budget figures, which include capital expenditure as well as sources of funding. It’s a great source of information and you can compare the literacy and numeracy standards in local schools with standards set by the state. Whilst this may give an indication of the current standards it’s important to take into account achievements during Years 11 and 12. For instance, years seven and nine NAPLAN tests may have the majority of students within the lowest brackets results. However, the school has an outstanding rate of achievement of the two classes: ATAR (university students and postgraduate students, more on that to come later) as well as vocational education (non ATAR). This would suggest that the school could have an an excellent system to bring the students who are struggling to speed before they leave. An important aspect to take into consideration.

For those who are interested NAPLAN stands with an assessment called the National Assessment Program – literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) and is an annual test of students in grades 3 5, 7, and 9. NAPLAN is an integral element to the academic calendar since the year 2008. The tests are offered across the nation each year in the second full week in May. The tests consist of four areas or domains covering:

* Reading

* Writing

* Language conventions (spelling punctuation and grammar)

* Numeracy

It is time to attempt to describe the ATAR process, which isn’t an easy task I might add. In short ATAR is an ATAR score is simply a percentile score given from “less than 30” up to a maximum of 99.95 (in the minimum increment of 0.05). It’s as clear as mud I guess. In plain English, it’s an indicator of the position of a student in comparison to peers when they have completed your secondary educational requirements. This score is utilized by universities and other tertiary programs to determine the ranking and selection of prospective students. The greater your ATAR score, the higher the number of university courses you have to choose from. Most universities will display the minimum ATAR scores to be able to enroll in all their courses.

The school system in its simplest form

Australia is a collection of states and territories. Each has their own government that is accountable for its own education. Due to this, there are some differences between states regarding the manner in which schools are run. There is a national framework however which all schools have to adhere to in order to ensure some standardisation across the country. The majority of states have similar programs which run primary schools from the age of kindergarten up to seven or six. Schools for high school tend to operate from the age of 7 to 10, and then the senior high school starts from year 11 through year 12. Most schools cater for the full period from year 7 to year 12, however, there are a handful of specialist schools that run only from years 7-10 or 11 and 12 across all states. In certain states, schools that only run for years 11 and 12 are able to specialise in certain areas , becoming Regional Training Organisations (RTO’s) permitting students to take part in pre-apprenticeships.

Each state has their own certificate, such as that in Western Australia students achieve the Western Australian Certificate of Education at the end of Year 12, (WACE). For the Eastern states, Australian Capital Territory students are awarded their ACT Certificate. In New South Wales they offer the Higher School Certificate, in Queensland it’s the Queensland Certificate of Education. In Victoria (yes you’ve already guessed the state) this is called that they offer the Victorian Certificate of Education or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning. Moving west to South Australia they have the South Australian Certificate of Education and beyond to the Northern Territory its known as the Northern Territory Certificate Education.

If you’re worried that your might have to relocate states like I did, you can rest in the knowledge the majority of Australian schools are governed by the Australian Qualifications framework (AQF) that comprises 10 levels that link universities, vocational and school education certificates into one national system. This does allow for some uniformity across states and lets students move easily from one level of study to the nextlevel, and from one school to the next. Early years will be some variations, but these will be more operational in nature than content for the subject. In the years 11 and 12, it could be more important especially for university bound students because specialist areas may differ between schools and state to state. It is also influenced by the availability of specialist teachers in the area you are interested in.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *