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About thinker78

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  1. thinker78

    When is the best month to arrive? (school enrolment)

    You can have 4 year olds doing part time, so that's something to consider. Reception is mostly play, so most 4 year olds, although i still think it's too young, seem to cope ok. They start at 3 full time in spain and france! We had to cope with the transition from Reception (australia) to Year 2! My child couldn't even read or write and had no grasp of maths at all- the school were brilliant at helping her catch up and she managed to sit her Year 2 SATS with all the other kids. 2 years back in the UK and she's middle of the class, which for an August born, is great. Be mindful that primary is quite full on here- the government have made silly changes which means all the curriculum is shunted down so for example, a year 3 child is now doing work which used to be expected of a year 4 or 5 child. It's not ideal, but again, most kids seem to be coping ok. It's definitely not as laid back as Australian primary, but that could be seen as a good or bad thing depending on your views.
  2. thinker78

    2 years back.....

    It does take time- i think at the 2 year mark, that's when things are really settled. I think it took me that much time in Australian cities too. The first 12 months can be bumpy. Re-adjusting to such a different country takes time. You are bound to question your decision but you have to keep moving forwards. There is so much to enjoy here still- don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. You're the ones who know what it's like to live far away and how you feel about it. The world is full of problems, not just the UK. You just try to focus on the positives. Some things will annoy you. Some things will give you utter joy. A sense of belonging is something I would never ever trade again. Good luck to all!
  3. thinker78

    The cost of living

    PS. a lot of families are living on a lot less than 24K, so for a retired couple that sounds fine.
  4. thinker78

    The cost of living

    I do find a lot of things cheaper, it's just a case of more competition for your business. I find I walk more here, with more local facilities, so although petrol is more expensive, i use the car less for long distances. Trains are awesome- yes, expensive but if you book in advance you can get some real bargains. Cheap flights are in abundance. Dentists- absolutely- still can find NHS ones and although you pair it's minimal. Basic medicines much cheaper. Vets- i too paid around 30 quid for a consult. Eating out- some real bargains in pubs and whatnot- kids eat free in a lot of places. High end- take your pick. Can live as madly or cheaply as you want. Schooling yes- everyone can get uniform in local supermarkets which is cheap as chips. Days out- lots of free things to do if you look for them. We do a lot of museums, parks and fetes etc in the summer- take picnics etc. Booze- variety better and cheaper. What's different? Petrol yes- council tax yes- rent- outrageous in some parts of the country but same goes some parts of Australia. Stuff like mobile contracts and internet- loads of competition for your business so yes, more options. BBC still churns out decent TV so the licence fee isn't a biggie. I'd say a few things are more expensive but are counteracted by other cheaper things such as food. Good luck!
  5. thinker78

    2 years back.....

    It is 2 years since our return to south east England. I don't come on here much now, as life is busy and we are settled, and there's barely any need to think about Australia. I read some posts today about those still split about returning or being homesick or divided about returning so felt compelled to post. For us, it has worked out. It's not been easy all the way at all. Starting again is always hard, no matter where or when you do it. It's normal to feel exhausted, question things and have to ride out the storms. Honestly though, absolutely 100% no regrets. I had 9 years down under, in various cities, and my child was born and raised Aussie till age 6. However, we are both really enjoying UK life. We do SO much more here- friends, family, trips, camping, holidays, cultural stuff (endless possibilities with day trips and sight seeing), beach (no snakes, flies, sunburn, things to kill you, and lots of sea side entertainment) woodland walks, you name it. I have made more 'new' friends since being back than many stints in soul-less Australian suburbs, and the old friends who stuck through my absence are just as wonderful. Downsides i have found are namely the same things I always thought were annoying- the negative UK media, the outrageous property prices in the south east, infrastructure which is bursting at the seams, and Jan and Feb were particularly grim. However, these are minor. Not having to deal with homesickness, missing people and that constant feeling of 'not being myself' is worth all that. I get up and can live life, without feeling displaced. Child has settled despite challenges- loves the variety of things we get up to, when i quiz her about the weather she says 'i don't think about the weather' and that's kids for you. I often wonder why I rarely if ever think of Australia- i think i'd had my fill. I'm not a beach or fishing person, BBQs bore me to tears, and at my older age I'm keener on a decent pub, good conversation, theatre, national trust, days out, humour, proximity to other interesting countries, camping without fear, and most importantly being with family whilst they are still around. Life is never perfect, but it's about where you fit. For some that will be Australia, for others here. Don't be unhappy though, as that's a waste of a journey.
  6. thinker78

    Moving back to uk with young childre

    If it's any consolation i much prefer the uk system for all it's faults. Reasons are; dinner halls and lovely hot FREE dinners up to year 2 (much nicer for social skills and lots of focus on healthy eating etc), better pastoral care, lots of extra curricular activities (not just sport), more structure, more learning assistants so more one to one, and better world focussed curriculum. Downsides for me are they do seem to grow up quicker here, and sometimes i roll my eyes at what they are covering at a young age (grammar focus, and some say it's too much) but they all seem to cope ok. They do some lovely topics, which we enjoy together. I found Australia very Australia focussed, where as here, they do a much more thorough curriculum. My daughter also moans about the lack of exciting play equipment- she was quite spoilt in Oz for outdoor stuff! But that's her only gripe.
  7. thinker78

    Moving back to uk with young childre

    Mine is also an August baby, so the youngest in the class and the school would most definitely NOT allow us to go into year 1 sadly. However, she is now absolutely fine. There are other young ones in the class who work at the same level as her. August babies are always difficult but holding back doesn't seem to be allowed here- as he's young, he will catch up just fine so don't worry!
  8. thinker78

    Moving back to uk with young childre

    YES! I moved back last year with a 6 year old who had to cope from Oz reception to year 2!!! it was awful when i realised, but they would not let her into year 1. She could not read or write and was used to a lot of play and casual learning. She went into a very structured classroom facing SATS! It was not without it's challenges but one year on and she's doing so well. Here are some things which helped; Telling the school how far behind they are, early consult with teachers Be prepared to put the effort in - read every night, do the homework Consider a tutor; we found one early on for one hour a week which has boosted her confidence and learning Be prepared for the emotional fall out from the transition Know that they will be fine! UK schools are focussed on literacy and numeracy- they made a LOT of effort with mine through utilising their teaching assistants to help her catch up. There are a lot more resources here. Ours was a story of success- it is one year on and she took her SATS after only a short time to catch up and came one of the highest in the literacy in her class! She is still catching up but is absolutely fine...for you, going into year 1 wont' be as bad. They will be fine!
  9. In a word, yes. I got there in 2005 and left in 2015. It was like it was on some kind of fast track growth on all levels, and the country i fell in love with was not the one I left. Groceries, it was said, went up 400% in that time. It was impossible to survive with any kind of decent life on one wage. In a nutshell, it had become just like most other countries. Just to argue a point; I am far more active in the UK. The crippling heat and high UV stopped me in Australia, but here we get out a lot, even for walks, bike rides or rambles, or to the beach. I appreciate that Poland is hot or cold (I've visited in both, the summer is glorious but the cold is something else), but now i've lived in both, i'd say that wherever you are you adjust. I don't see my child being disadvantaged. We have so much more to do here. For me, personally, life became very boring in Australia- if you enjoy culture, history and whatnot and aren't a beach bum, there's nothing much on offer. I took miss 7 to London last weekend (again, a cheap day out, as everything is free pretty much) and it blew her mind. Next year, i hope to take her to Barcelona, France and Poland (flights accessible and cheap) and it is all so exciting. For some, Australia is still 'living the dream' but for some of us, it became a bit of Guilded Cage. Good luck! Enjoy Poland, and you can always go back. I said to my Miss 7, the same goes for her. I'd rather her childhood be near close family, in Europe, and if she chooses Australia in the future, that is her choice.
  10. thinker78

    Where to start!

    You will not regret it. I had my last 3 years in Adelaide, and my father, who originally thought he liked Australia, spent 3 months in Adelaide and said he didn't know how i did it- he found the people insular and weird, the prices outrageous and it was the first time he thought us coming back was the right thing. I'm not saying it doesn't have good points, but I do not miss it one bit (which surprised me) especially the summer, which i hated in the end. Life is pretty similar in one first world country or another- we are blessed to have options. I do not regret it one bit as the 10 years i have had in Australia my parents have aged SO much and I just want to make the most of them now. Good luck!
  11. thinker78

    School Queries

    Yes- see previous post. My child had only done half of Oz reception (basically jolly phonics and playing with Duplo) and was thrust into Year 2 where they were about to take SATS!!! As her b'day is August, she was made to go into this year. you will find most UK schools will not keep them back. We had to suck up a fairly difficult year. She couldn't read or write barely and she was with children who had done 18 months extra education. A couple of things. At this age, they can and will catch up. Let the school know and be prepared to put the hours in- we read EVERY night, and we had a tutor once a week (not necessary for all but it did seem to boost her learning and confidence). UK system has way more Learning Support Assistants who really put the effort in. She missed some stuff such as art and whatnot in order to concentrate on literacy and numeracy. It was stressful at first- she was not used to sitting down all day and learning so much- but, she started Year 2 with a reading age of 4 and ended up Year 2 scoring one of the highest in literacy SATS!!! A year on from landing and she's a great reader. She is still catching up on maths but is average for her year. I feel the effort has to be put in at home (they get more homework) and working with the school. Thankfully she had a wonderful teacher who said to me ' i don't want her average, i want her to excel' and she made sure she got there! She is still the youngest in the class, and she is now no way the least achieving. UK schools do a lot more IMO- the curriculum is huge and the targets nuts, but the kids seem to cope ok. Support at home is everything. The younger they are, the more they can adapt. Good luck! All will be well!!!
  12. thinker78

    1 year on.....

    Same area, but, with fresh eyes!
  13. thinker78

    1 year on.....

    Just a quick post. I have now been back almost 14 months. Australia seems like another life, another planet even. Do I miss it? Nope. Occasionally miss the few friends I had there. Do not miss any other aspects. Even the coffee is good here, so there's nowt to miss Some ramblings; 1. I've been to the beach more this UK summer than the last 3 years in Australia. I put this down to; so much to enjoy at British sea sides, absolutely 100% enjoy sunny days more and make the effort, don't worry so much about UV, nasties in the ocean and snakes in the dunes. Beach for me also only a 15 min drive in the UK. Very accessible, and safe for kids. 2. Education- Child (7) now fully adjusted to UK schooling and loving all the opportunities. Has had wonderful support to catch up from Oz system. Education more intense here, but LOVE what she's covering- Romans, Stone and Iron Age, French, etc etc. Lots of school trips, extra curricular stuff. Goes to a wonderful theatre school, loves the cooler days! Moaned when it got really hot here, and found it annoying haha. 3. Society- see all sorts, but much prefer the general day to day with Brits. Found I have a very active social life and plenty of invites, and have made lots of new friends- this was hard going in Australia quite often- mostly ex pats etc. Feel I can be myself here, common cultural ground, sense of humour, etc. 4. Housing- South East hard going and that's tricky. Other parts of the country affordable. 5. Stuff to do- too much! and never enough time!!!! 6. Eating out- Too much! And not enough waist line! 7. Brexit- no one expected that, but take it from me, it's all going on as normal and we're not seeing too much change- yet. 8. Biggest bonuses- Family, old friends, simple pleasures, the rhythm of seasons here I love, the culture, walking everywhere, cycling, opportunities- mental health so much better. 9. Would I go back? No- not to live. Asked my child- she says 'no, maybe for a holiday'. It has definitely taken a year to find our feet and establish a life, so don't hop on the first plane back! xxx
  14. thinker78

    Single parent moving to Sydney - Can I really do it??

    Gosh, I'm a single parent and it's exactly one of the drivers for moving back to the uk. Amongst other things. Are you sure it's worth losing what you've got here? he sounds happy and settled with a supportive extended family and you've got a flexible job. happy days! you won't get that kind of flexibility there. i worked for a massive recruitment company on a 457 and they had us by the balls- we worked 8- 6 every day and no lunch break. you will see far less of your son. i'm all for adventure but do your homework. Australia is not the same as 2003. or even 2008. or even 2013. the best thing singe parents can have is support and that takes AGES to get in place. I've been ill all easter with a really bad flu- the only thing i could think was 'thank god i'm here not there' as i was looked after, as was my child. i've done a fair few years in oz with no support and it stinks. it's different if you've not got support here, but think on- it's a massive thing to give up. not being negative. just my thoughts.
  15. If he can get a visa, go for it. I have been back 6 months and my Miss 6 had only ever known Australia. We have all our family in the UK however. To all intents and purposes she was very much Aussie. She found everything strange and foreign here, and out of sync with British kids at first. British kids are a)more grown up due to earlier schooling and b) more reserved maybe. It has taken this time for her to find her groove in the country and school system. She has had to grow up faster in the last 6 months and also catch up on schooling. I find the education here both better but more pressured. I find the schools way better at pastoral care- there is more support in place on all sorts of levels. Free school dinners for the entire infants school is also a nice bonus. I found that she had to learn to adapt- she had only known the hot weather, and we have had to find things to do in the cold but it has made little difference- we go to an indoor pool, we wrap up and go to the park, we do other things- kids honestly adapt. At a younger age, they won't even notice it that much. She loves having her extended family- that's made it all worthwhile. So, it has taken 6 months but she's well and truly acclimatised to a 'new' country.