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ScottM

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About ScottM

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  1. ScottM

    Can I live in Canberra without a car?

    Manboobs, I too am from Scotland. Edinburgh to be precise. I arrived in Canberra at the start of July in what some are calling the worst winter in years. My take - it started off a bit below zero most days and by 11am the fog had cleared and it was up to around 7 degrees. Most days were crisp and sunny. Rarely strong wind or rain. If that's as bad as it gets, I'm in heaven. Of course, its all relative and I'm sure to a lot of born and bred Aussies it really was a bad winter. But for someone just arrived from Scotland...a beautiful, mild winter. (Actually I came from 2 years in south of China and even then I still think it as a great winter.) Was here on my own for 3 months with no car. Wife and kids arrived Sep and we're just looking around for the right car now. We're close to buses and while they're not very frequent (hourly or half-hourly) they're clean, reasonable price and regular. You'd still have a good life using bus and bike but I'd totally second what everyone else is saying - you'd also miss out on so much that you can really only conveniently discover by car. Both in Canberra and further afield. My take is we've travelled half way around the world and we're going to explore as much of Australia as we can. A car will make that much easier. But we won't be using it to go to the shops that are 10 or 15 mins walk away. Oh and getting to the airport is a challenge from various places without a car. Especially for early morning flights and late returns. Welcome to Canberra! cheers, Scott
  2. ScottM

    Canberra Meet Up - Mooseheads - Dinner and Pint for $10

    Shame. Sorry to hear that. Hope you're feeling better soon.
  3. ScottM

    Utilities and Broadband - which providers?

    Thanks for the advice.
  4. Hi Everyone, Just about to move into 12 month rental and need to get gas, electricity and broadband connected. Any advice on best provider? cheers, Scott
  5. ScottM

    Canberra Meet Up - Mooseheads - Dinner and Pint for $10

    Great to see you guys tonight. Looking forward to doing it again.
  6. ScottM

    Canberra Meet Up - Mooseheads - Dinner and Pint for $10

    Hi Mooseheaders! I've just arrive in Canberra and would love to meet up with you guys today. I'll come along and hopefully find you easily! cheers, Scott
  7. ScottM

    Do you recommend a reccie or just go for it?

    Whatever you experience on a one month holiday isn't going to be what life will actually be like in Oz. The inconveniences of travel won't exist in normal life, and neither will the 24 x 7 leisure of travel. You won't find the shops you'll end up using daily, you won't meet the people or create the relationships you'll cement when you live permanently. Living permanently will involve getting up in the morning, going to work all day, home maintenance etc. You won't experience any of that. You won't have time to get to know the job market. You will be assured that everyone in Oz does not have two heads or skip instead of walk. Save your money and get stuck in when you arrive for real! (All this from someone who has no experience practising what I preach, but it just seems to make sense!)
  8. ScottM

    Do you recommend a reccie or just go for it?

    Had we not needed to validate our visas before our planned move date, we wouldn't have reccie'd. In which case, our's was really a visa validation trip rather than a reccie. Unless money is no object, my take would be this: if you really feel that a reccie can make you decide "we definitely will/will not move", then it would be worthwhile. But can a reccie, even of two or three months, really give you enough experience to make that decision? Having lived in a few countries, my answer to that would be "no". You need 2 years to know if you're going to live in a place long term. So a reccie can't be much more than a holiday.
  9. ScottM

    A million questions....

    No don't please! I promise not to dredge up any more 3 year old posts! and I'm certainly not holding you to any of your advice. Its just great to have things to throw into the mix. Rest assured I'll be making up my own mind.
  10. ScottM

    A million questions....

    My take away on NAPLAN on the very few schools I have spoken to would be - don't read the results at face value since a school that had poor results but now has good results (or even one that always had good results) is just one that's got better (or was already good at) teaching kids to do well in NAPLAN tests. I guess a school that has deteriorating results is doing something wrong but is the school whose results are improving really offering an improving standard of education for the kids or just teaching them to do well on NAPLAN (at the expense of what maybe used to make it a great school??) I'd have to say that I value nurturing confident, socially and environmentally responsible, self-reliant, healthy, enquiring, rounded kids is more important to me than any NAPLAN result.
  11. ScottM

    A million questions....

    Thanks Angela, I'll add your info to my file. We're probably not going to arrive until next year now and I've found it really tough to sort out what's what school-wise. Just need to sit down and analyse the info available but not had the urgency yet. And of course I know that everything I think on paper will change when we arrive! For what it's worth, in case its of any use to you, I've been collection quotes from here and bits of info. Bit of a brain dump but here goes anyway: School starts Feb 3 1012 in Canberra Quoll recommended schools - Alfred Deakin Melrose High Belconnen High Canberra High Lyneham High; Aranda PS Kaleen PS - Dont go for Kaleen HS though. You might think of Burgmann for HS if you are living in the Gungahlin area Quoll on Belconnen/Gungahlin schools in 2009 - Well just having had a look on Allhomes for houses in that price range, I would be checking out Cook, Aranda, Fraser, Weetangera, Kaleen (but not for the local HS in years to come), Latham and possibly Hawker (although the only one there is a townhouse). However most of the ones in that price range were 3 beds and you probably wanted more than that. My favourite would definitely be Aranda - close to the city and to Belconnen with a nice bush surround and a good school both for PS and HS - however you may find it just out of your price range. Aranda PS Kaleen PS - Dont go for Kaleen HS though Palmerston always had the "better" rep with those from Ngunnawal tending to have more problems in the school. Kids from Palmerston tended to go to private HS and kids from Ngunnawal tended to go to Gold Ck. All gross generalizations of course and things have changed from the first demographics as the cheaper accommodation is now further out at Harrison and Amaroo. Another person says Amaroo has own school and Nicholls is quite new but Forde is quite far to walk/bike to school Avoid Charnwood and Dunlop next door is borderline iffy imho. Gungahlin is OK but it is a bit "new" and some of it, especially Amaroo, Franklin, Harrison, looks like a moonscape as the trees havent grown yet. The schools up there are OK though. Holt and Higgins feed into the new school in Holt which is a k - 10 school and it has had a few teething problems and a lot of people they thought would send their kids there have chosen not to. canberra grammar very good private school My primary school preferences include Majura (Watson, Downer, Hackett), Ainslie (not North Ainslie), Aranda, Torrens, Farrer, Fadden (if you desperately want to go to Tuggeranong) Majura PS which serves Hackett, Watson and Downer is a lovely little school with a very nice community feel Personally I would stick with inner north or inner south but you probably cant afford it on your budget (always easier to travel out of the centres to get to work than it is to travel into the centres so Civic to Tugg in the rush hour is a doddle whereas Tugg to Civic is a nightmare. If you can opt for places like Ainslie, Hackett, Downer, Dickson (Phil Downunder picked Dickson as the place to buy interestingly enough), Campbell, Griffith (and the Griffith side of Narrabundah eg Caley Cres), Yarralumla (though that is getting a bit expensive), Aranda then you will be doing well. The newer suburbs have bigger houses but are all a bit martian to me - no soul yet. Just avoid Charnwood, Chisholm, Richardson and the Fyshwick end of Narrabundah and you should be fine. Griffith has a bit of an issue with schools - the k - 2 are zoned for Narrabundah early childhood but then go to Red Hill for 3 - 6 which might not appeal (head for Red Hill!) Chapman is one of the "up market" suburbs and the primary school generally has a good reputation. Not sure you'd get much for $500 though in that area. Waramanga might be a good other option and Curtin isnt too bad but being close to Woden the rents are going to be higher. Torrens and Farrer are also usually well regarded especially if you want better than average primary schools. Avoid Charnwood and probably the new Kingsford Smith super school and check out the NAPLAN results for the others but probably head for Aranda, Hawker, Weetangera, Fraser or Kaleen PS (Kaleen has two PS, one has different programs to the other). In general the schools are a good reflection of the suburb they serve so if you dont want to live in a suburb you wont want your child going to school in it (and vice versa). The Catholic system runs pretty much parallel but they arent as strict about catchment areas, more about your faith (or lack thereof) If you can afford it and they have places then head to Radford junior school or Canberra Girls Grammar (in Deakin but kids travel from all over). At 5 she could go to Boys Grammar until year 3 (all the Grammar infants schools are co-ed) and they have campuses in Campbell and Red Hill. Majura 2602 Aranda 2614 Kaleen 2617 People tend not to get strung up about primary schools here but at HS they do tend to make different choices and close to 50% of the population go to private HS. McKellar Curtin and Mawson ARE great but pricey I have heard that Garran and Torrens are great primary schools, these are in the Woden area. http://bettereducation.com.au/school/Primary/act/canberra_top_primary_schools.aspx'>http://bettereducation.com.au/school/Primary/act/canberra_top_primary_schools.aspx Telopea, Kaleen, Aranda - 96 Curtin - 95 Fadden - 94 http://www.mawsonps.act.edu.au/our_curriculum/languages - mawson does mandarin Quoll: Mawson PS advertises itself as being a bilingual Mandarin/English school but here are all the schools with their second languages http://www.det.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/123396/Languages_2010.pdf There is also a Chinese Australian preschool also in Mawson http://www.careforkids.com.au/pre-school/chinese-australian-early-childhood-centre/2607 for the 3 year old Link above indicates at least Mawson (92 rating at http://bettereducation.com.au), Torrens (92), Latham (70) do Mandarin Garran Primary gets top score at bettereducation.com.au Garran 2605 get top scores and is in Woden in an area where prices are fine but houses look old Mawson 2607 and Torrens 2607are in Woden and there seems more houses near Mawson check ratings at http://www.myschool.edu.au school term ends 30/9 and starts back 17/10 to 21/12 then starts back 1st Feb primary school PEAS - http://www.det.act.gov.au/school_education/enrolling_in_an_act_public_school/priority_enrolment_areas Hackett, Watson, Downer, Ainslie, O'Connor, Lyneham, Campbell, Reid then the local schools are generally going to be quite good
  12. ScottM

    A million questions....

    Hi Angela, Any chance you could share your assessments of the gov primary schools with me? Like you, we'll probably be basing where we live on the quality of the local school. cheers, Scott
  13. ScottM

    Mandarin in ACT Primary School

    Thanks Quoll. Point taken about the LOTE versus true bilingual school. Probably my kids could teach the teacher at the LOTE schools! I think the thing for us is that a focus on Mandarin schools takes whittles our list of options down to something manageable. We don't have jobs lined up yet so really we're free to live anywhere just now, budget permitting. And never having been in Canberra its so difficult to do any real assessment of suburbs.
  14. ScottM

    Mandarin in ACT Primary School

    Excellent link thanks Quoll. What are your opinions on Mawson, Torrens and Latham primary schools? I know we shouldn't base where we live solely on the schools but our kids' education is just about our top priority after the move.
  15. ScottM

    Mandarin in ACT Primary School

    Hi Everyone We recently received out ACT-sponsored 176 visa :biggrin: and are making plans for the move to Canberra. I'm Scottish and my wife is Chinese. We've been bringing up our 3 and 5 year old kids to be bilingual in Mandarin and English. Does anyone know of any primary schools in Canberra that have Mandarin classes? cheers, Scott
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