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thinker78

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  1. thinker78

    For anyone worried about changing systems...

    Not really i'm afraid - 'outstanding' schools can be crap (one of ours got done for serious safeguarding concerns) whilst others which show as RI (requires improvement) can be fabulous. Best off looking at a couple, asking for local opinions and going with your gut. Demographics certainly affect things, as does the ability to get into schools in general - sometimes your choice is limited by logistics. I wouldn't just look at results. I'm sending mine to a school which shows as RI still even thought it's fabulous, and churns out happy, well-rounded kids. I chose it based on the needs of my child, the fact it has little to no bullying and focuses on all the good stuff. If you just looked at Ofsted, you'd never get a clear picture of a school. Good luck!
  2. I saw another concerned parent this week worried about bringing kids back to the UK system. It can be tricky fitting kids in regarding birthdays and school years etc The school years run differently obviously, and the UK runs a 1st September to 31st August dating policy. It is extremely rare to find a UK school who will hold kids back. When we returned in 2015, I was shocked to find my 'just started reception' Aussie, born in August, was expected to enter Year 2. Effectively, she'd missed most of Key Stage 1. She was unable to read or write or sit still for long periods and yet had to enter a year which saw them prepare for SATS. I was horrified and stressed, and felt awful for her. However, here we are, as she's finishing Year 6 primary (still the youngest in her year!) and she's holding her own. She's even won a selected place at a local high school. Why? Because if you get into a good school in the UK, they will do everything in their power to get them up to speed. She's had loads of extra support, and still does. Most 'good' schools will be concerned that their stats look good - sounds harsh but it's true. They don't want kids failing, and they don't leave anyone behind. We lucked in with our school, who worked closely with me from day one to get her up to speed. The curriculum here is full-on but stimulating. I love the topics they do and have enjoyed helping her extend learning on things I can actually relate to. She probably does less sports here but that's personal choice, there's still loads on offer. My loud, slightly feral illiterate Aussie will leave UK primary well rounded, engaged and doing well Brit. I find the system challenging - teachers have enormous pressure to make the kids progress - but they also have the drive to help the less able achieve. Please don't worry - just find a good, supportive school who will work with you. Kids adapt. It's a different culture and your kids shouldn't expect things to be the same. Positives and negatives both sides but there is definitely a sense of support here with the right school. Good luck to all parents returning x
  3. thinker78

    Returning to UK

    I should say i was there almost 9 years and like a lot of people was bored in the end. And no, I'm NOT a boring person but it was more of the same each year, and I am never bored here.
  4. thinker78

    Returning to UK

    Back 4 year no regets. Don't think of Australia at all now, would like to be able to visit but won't for a few more years due to time and money. Also enjoying visiting places in the UK and Europe. Can't see me ever living back there but open minded as you never know what life is going to bring. I feel like I fit in here and i've had a wonderful 4 years full of the good stuff in life - yes it's hard, yes winter can suck a bit but overall, love it
  5. thinker78

    School Year in England

    The general vibe here is that they don't like holding kids back. I've never come across it. You'll find things a bit different here. Kids grow up faster and it's not necessarily a good thing but just the way it is. The focus on academic stuff is more critical. I've lots to moan about - not being allowed to take your kids on holiday without getting fined, the ridiculous curriculum, the government cutbacks which have severely impacted schools - but overall I am still so glad mine went to school here. The teachers are brilliant, the pastoral care has been superb. I prefer the curriculum - I relate to the history, languages and culture. I think the Australian system is more relaxed - possibly a good thing but I can't fault our experience here. A good school will support children with additional needs or background issues. The 'free' system here, if you're in an ok area, seemed to me much better than the public schools we had on offer down under. My understanding is that year 9 is now critical as this is when they begin to study for GCSEs - not year 10, as was back in the day. So you do need to time things for that really. It's easier in primary. Good luck
  6. thinker78

    School Year in England

    hi. I returned in 2015 with a child who had done just half a term of formal education in Oz reception! As an August baby, she was also screwed as had to enter Year 2, therefore effectively missing the whole first 2 years of schooling. I was so stressed - not only could she not read or write, she was not used to sitting down for long periods and was used to being outdoors a lot. Fast forward 4 years.... She is now in her final year of primary. Effectively where as most british kids have 7 years of primary schooling she has had just 5. She is also still the youngest in her class. The school have been brilliant with her - she's had a lot of one to one support, and is currently doing great in literacy and all other subject areas. Not the best, not top of the class, but on a par with her peers. Maths has and always has been a struggle. Hard to tell if it's because she missed two years of education or if she's just pants at maths. UK maths curriculum is full on and hard though! As we end her primary career, I can only say we've had a positive experience despite a) school years going against her and b) being youngest in her class. You'll find the UK system (for the most part) is more clued up on SEN and catch ups - they seem to put more resources into this. I'd say schools are more onto things here, although the focus on SATS at the end of primary is stressful. Kids are adaptable. The stress now seems misplaced. Overall, she's had wonderful schooling here. UK being cheaper - depends where you live! South is expensive. Some things much cheaper than Oz, others on a par. Move somewhere with ok house prices and you'll be ok. Good luck!
  7. thinker78

    4 years back...

    It's hard to believe that this weekend is my 4 year anniversary of being home. This will probably be my last post as I rarely come on here now. The door to Oz is well and truly shut and I don't even peak around it anymore. Any regrets? No. Has it been easy? Not always- but is life always easy? Does the UK grate? Sometimes - we live in a busy, overpopulated area and I can't really afford to be here. British politics - what a time to return - you couldn't make up what we're living through. But what have we gained? Belonging. Memories. Experiences. Laughter. Connection. Inspiration. Appreciation. Opportunity. Friends. Family. I never consider that Australia is something we'll regret leaving, but occasionally I miss the sunshine. Only occasionally, because after the recent hot spell in the UK I remembered just how hideous it was dealing with 35+ days for months on end. So that's it really. Home is still home. Always will be. Peace is worth more than a dream... Best of luck all x
  8. thinker78

    To all those who returned home for good....

    I filled in the immigration cards, not sure why, possibly due to tiredness and jetlag, and when I gave them to the passport person she was like 'you don't need these- you're home'. it was immense. I had not been to the UK for over 3 years, and had been living in Australia for 9. The first day felt surreal indeed. I don't think we did much. Everything seemed so small and busy and it took a while to adjust.
  9. thinker78

    Leaving Oz after 8 years.

    I have lived all over Australia so am well aware that there are things to do outside of camping and bbqs. However, overall, there is just not as much of it. And that's a fair point, as Australia does some things really well but are more limited in others - same goes here. I miss the wineries, festivals and free events, but I still feel that for me personally there is more to do here in line with what i love. I had a lovely time for some of my years there but even when I was younger and able to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted (see pre kids) I still had a feeling of 'is this it?'. I always wanted that feeling to go away, because I wanted Australia to be enough. I don't get that feeling here or in Europe as you can spend years in those countries gradually peeling back the layers and still not have enough time. I genuinely missed being stimulated by history and culture. I really tried to find that down under but as a new country, it's obviously going to lack certain things. Here just feels more connected to how I think - even the seasons are round the right way and that now seems to be important the older I get. If I ever went back, I would certainly choose somewhere with more vibrancy than where I left but simply could not imagine my twilight years there. But we are all different, and want different things. For many migrants, it becomes one of the biggest life lessons they go through - it clarifies what is important to them, and that in itself is an amazing lesson to have experienced.
  10. thinker78

    Leaving Oz after 8 years.

    It's not a competition. Personally, after 10 years in Australia, I felt I had done everything that could be done. I'm in no way boring. But I am interested in the arts, culture, history, walking etc. All things which there's just more of here in the UK. If you're outdoors and love camping and all that sort of thing, Australia is great. Turns out I have a child who is also non sporty and loves nothing more than pottering around a national trust property or going to a castle for the day. It takes all sorts. We all like different things. Some people are happy with a backyard and bbq social life - that wasn't for me in the end. But great if you like it. Yes, the UK has its issues and I worry but I'd rather 'live' and do the things we like than feel empty. Which is what I felt there. Asia has no interest for me, but great if that floats your boat. Children do well wherever, if encouraged.
  11. thinker78

    Leaving Oz after 8 years.

    I have been back almost 4 years (gone in a flash) and wish you good luck. RE citizenship, you need to meet ALL requirements including the amount of time you've spent outside of Australia in the immediate 12 months before applying. Please double check your movements as i know several people caught out plus yes, you absolutely do have to attend the ceremony. Children are only citizens if they are born in Oz to at least one parent with PR. If they were born on temporary visas then no. I''m afraid the UK has changed greatly in the last 10 years and you will notice differences. We are living in politically unstable times, but that being said, I believe everywhere has its issues and they are for the most part global. However, you may notice certain things which, when I came back in 2010, were simply not around. I say this objectively as I love the UK and do not miss Oz at all, but 10 years of austerity have certainly taken their toll. Like you, I am very happy that my child is growing up experiencing all the delights of UK culture and history and feel that from here the world is their oyster. Where as in Oz, our lives were very boring and limited. I would say that we are busier here, and our lives richer, but certain things are more difficult. However, I personally do not hanker after anything in Australia. It is odd, as I spent almost 10 years there, and it feels like a chapter which never happened. I have found education to be more full on here but better. I'd say I (and child) can relate to the curriculum more in terms of things studied and opportunities, and I'd say children grow up faster here - not preferable, but they do seem more switched on. We had a great summer last year - this one doesn't look like it's going to hit the same spot, but I still find post Xmas really hard. The lack of light more than heat - I advise taking Vit D if you need it. I would never swap the proximity of friends, family, the feeling of 'getting' things and 'fitting in' and people having the same sense of humour. Also, the TV is just excellent at the moment! Good luck. I'm sure you won't regret it but do double check things if you want citizenship. the travel facility on PR only lasts 5 years.
  12. thinker78

    Moving bubs and toddler to UK, while father stays in Oz

    yes your eldest is most definitely habitually resident in oz. if you took him for a holiday and didn't go back, dad could easily lodge under the hague. in theory you'd have to let your eldest then return if he was successful - it's not about the mum, just the kids, but it's extremely rare that people will choose not to return if their kids have to. I'm afraid if you don't get consent you'd have to seek legal advice but i believe that you don't have a strong case in terms of your eldest. They are most definitely australian and Australian courts are very supportive of the australian parent and child - other countries aren't quite so harsh but Aus and NZ are both quite harsh. You need permission or maybe stay in the relationship. Why is he so adamant he will never live in the UK? Maybe look at his reasons and talk about them. Maybe agree to do it for a few years etc. Perhaps he knows that once in the UK you won't want to leave and your kids will then be habitually resident there. I'm afraid youre in a bit of a bind, but you're not the first. Get some support from the group. They are very helpful.
  13. thinker78

    Moving bubs and toddler to UK, while father stays in Oz

    Having researched it over a number of years, quite often it's applied regardless of individual circumstance. There are SO many people who are stuck, where the other parent has used it as a form of control, and where they don't support or see their children at all. Unfortunately international relationships and migration can present serious problems when things in a relationship go pear shaped. However, if you read lots of these cases, the law has been applied harshlly or the other parent has never been made to be accountable once the children are 'kept' in the country of residence. It gets really complicated where people migrate and suddenly habitual residence shifts- this can be a matter of months- and if you then decide you want to 'go home' you're stuck and so are the kids.
  14. thinker78

    Moving bubs and toddler to UK, while father stays in Oz

    Unfortunately the Hague Convention is a nasty piece of outdated legislation. Australia has MANY mothers stuck onshore for this exact reason - and the courts in Oz are very harsh. I'm afraid Oz is your child's 'habitual residence' and unless he grants permission, it's unlikely to go in your favour in court. There are however support groups in place - some women are in terrible situations with no visa status and living in hostels, quite often the other parent doesn't even see the kids. There is a group called Globalaark who fight for parents who are 'stuck'. They can put you in touch with a local co-ordinator, if you feel you need some support. The other option is of course to try and reconcile with your other half, but it's hard when the resentment is there. But it's probably the better option. I'm sorry. So many people (and i'm speaking for the women here and in most cases it's them but i'm aware both parents can be affected) do not realise this when having children or taking children to Australia. It's really screwed a lot of people over, and the blanket law is harsh and not what it was originally intended for. I hope you can find some support. You may be in for their childhoods down under. Take care.
  15. thinker78

    Feeling Stuck in Australia

    We swim in the sea in the UK in summer...there are plenty of places you can do that
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