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Helen77

Schools UK to Oz - please help

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Hi all,

My family and I are moving over to Sydney at the end of November. I'm having a massive panic about schools and which year my son will be enrolled in.

My 7 year old's DOB is 21.07.10. He started school in the UK when he was 4 years old in 2014.  He's one of the youngest in his year and gets on fine. He's currently in Year 3 in the UK and I'm being told if he starts in Oz at the beginning of the year (2018) he'd start in Year 2. Which means, if we catch the end of this school year (which I'd like to because he might make a couple of friends before the school break up over Xmas) he'd actually enter Year 1 which sounds like a huge step backwards for him in terms of where he'll be at academically compared to the other children. 

Has anyone else had similar worries and how have you addressed them? Someone said that if he is finding it too easy then he would be moved up a year. Can anyone clarify any of this for me please? 

Thanks so much

Helen

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He's only a couple of months into Y3 in the UK if I am correct. And one of the very youngest in his year group. I don't think you should get too hung up on him possibly going into Y1 for a few weeks. Its the very end of the school year here and he'd be in with his age group and moving in to Y2 at the end of Jan 2018. He would also be with kids his own age which is IMHO an important thing, perhaps more so for boys. If he were to go up a year he'd be with kids who could well be a lot older than him (check the DOB cut off for the intake of that year group). Its not ideal if his classmates are say 1-1.5 years older than him as while at school it would probably be ok, in sports etc outside of school he'd have to go into his age group which may well mean he's with kids in the year below as he'd miss the cut off age wise IYKWIM. Also there is the social and emotional aspects to consider age wise as even 6 months can make a big difference, a year a lot more noticeable. The maturity levels vary also. 

I don't know the NSW system. We are in SA. However, I find the school intake very balanced and that they teach according to the child and so those that progress a bit faster are catered for, same as those that go at a steady pace and those that a little slower. Often year groups are split (not sure if in NSW this is a thing or not). Ours has been in a split year group since Y2 and since Y3 has been in a 3/4 and now a 4/5 class (being in the younger year group in both classes. It means academically there are options for him to step up and do the work the older kids are doing so he is being challenged and not left to get bored. 

FWIW, our son came in and had to go into reception for a part of a term having been in Y1 in the UK. I'd not overthink it and discuss with the school and let them see how he goes. I found a school that was happy to assess him and who agreed to put him into Y1 the following school year rather than him having to do reception over again (he'd have done 2 years and a term of reception otherwise). But not all schools were happy to do this and most insisted he would have to stick with the year group for his DOB. 

Mine also has the issue with the birth date cut off but its not as bad as your son would face. Mine missed the state cut off by a couple of weeks is all. So he is the youngest in his year group here (April 30 is the cut off for SA but he is May). Many of his mates in his year group are actually almost a year older than him as it turns out. They have birthdays from June onwards and he turned 9 the month before they turned 10 this year. By rights if we had stuck to his actual age and DOB intake, he would be in the year below. When he does school sports, he plays in his year group. He goes to our local footy club and all his mates from his class are older than him so move up a year before he can. So they play footy together and he only plays with them in the team every second year. Then has to stay behind while they move up. He's ok with it as he has some friends who are the year below who play on the team. But its not ideal. 

Also don't discount the whole finding his feet, adjusting to a new school system. It isn't the UK and the set up is noticeably different. I don't think there is anything wrong with probably being one of the older kids in a year group, especially as they get older going through the school system. Things are done differently, the school year runs Jan-Dec and the intake is different also. If you plan to be in Aus in the longer term, being in the correct year group for his age and perhaps being one of the older kids is probably where you should be looking at IMHO. 

 

 

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Don't forget also, kids learn at varying speeds, especially when younger. Don't get too hung up on where he is now as its a whole different system and the earlier years tend to be a bit more laid back here than the UK (not a bad thing IMHO). Kids are all at different levels with reading, maths, English and so on and teachers are used to this. Its not a one size fits all. Even in Y4 and 5 the kids are all at different places academically and being given work according to their ability and where they are at academically (least they are at our school). Mine is Y4 and doing mostly Y5 work (after completing the Y4 work if he's not done it already) and copes fine with it. Perhaps see if you can find a school that offers split classes so you have this option as yours get older? 

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We moved over 4 years ago and my daughter is in Year 5 here. We came from an amazing British School in the Middle East and our daughter was placed in a year higher then she probably should have been, academically she got on very well but in the last year it has become incredibly apparent that she needs to be with children closer to her age. We are moving house and schools and have taken the opportunity to drop her back to Year 4 so she'll resit Year 5 in January. The school said that dropping her back was entirely our decision and have been fully supportive.  

 So perhaps there is a bit more to consider. The NSW school system is excellent in my opinion, but like anywhere it ultimately comes down to the area, the individual school and the teachers. 

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We moved here a year ago. My son was in primary 5 in UK but since we moved mid year he is currently in year 4. We visited the school before he started. The year 5 boys were 1 - 1.5 years older and about 12 inches taller than him. We’ve taken the approach, that this is a transition year. Even if he repeats some things, then at least it’s giving him more scope to settle and make friends. IMHO put your son in year 1 and try and get some friends before xmas otherwise it’s going to be really long until he meets other kids. Also it gets him introduced to the school so it’s not too big an issue after Xmas. Finally we all stress out about our kids and whatever you decide you’ll still worry if it’s the right choice. Been there and bought the tshirt. Good luck. It will be OK.

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Thank you so much. I also spoke to a friend of mine in Sydney and she said very similar things. Cbop - you brought a little tear to my eye....kids, eh! A whole life a worry.

I hadn't thought of the outside school club situation so thanks for bringing that to my attention - really good advice.

Someone also said that they are taught age-appropriate topics, levels etc so even if he's 'repeating' a year, he won't really be repeating, plus he'll be learning about a new areas which aren't taught in the uk.

First time I've ever posted in here. Thanks so much for your advice and help.

Helen

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Technically and if you jumped up and down, he could be in year 3 2018 as the cut off is 31/7 in NSW and he will just turn 8 before 31/7/18. However, that probably wouldn’t be a great idea as the rest of the cohort will be quite a bit older than him and he could struggle especially when a few years older.

As has been said, it’s a foreign country with completely different education systems so he won’t be repeating anything. Chances are he will appear to be marking time for quite some time as U.K. skills seem to be ahead of Australia. Australia doesn’t much like tall poppies either so generally there is a distressing tendency to teach to the middle unless you score a particularly talented teacher. Many schools do have mixed age classes which might be a possibility- if he was a 2 in a 2/3 for example he might be a bit better accommodated.

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12 hours ago, Quoll said:

As has been said, it’s a foreign country with completely different education systems so he won’t be repeating anything. Chances are he will appear to be marking time for quite some time as U.K. skills seem to be ahead of Australia. Australia doesn’t much like tall poppies either so generally there is a distressing tendency to teach to the middle unless you score a particularly talented teacher. Many schools do have mixed age classes which might be a possibility- if he was a 2 in a 2/3 for example he might be a bit better accommodated.

I don't see it as a race in terms of where kids are at in the education. It differs from country to country, from school to school, class to class and kid to kid. I don't hold with that being pushed so young as a good thing in the short or long term or that my child knowing more of the basics than the kids in his new school in a new country as being a good or bad thing. I wish he hadn't had to start school so young in the UK. I wish I could have held him back till he had turned 5 but no school near us would guarantee to hold a place for him. I wish he'd had less time being assessed in reception and of meeting targets so boxes could be ticked. Same at nursery. Assessment after assessment dressed up as a book for parents to see their child's 'progress' and their aims for next steps on the hamster wheel of early years learning and education. 

With regard to the distressing tendency you mention, we must have been particularly fortunate that our kids' teachers in Australia have all been excellent in terms of teaching to the child rather than only the middle line. Yes they teach the class but those who are able to progress faster are certainly not left to sit and become bored or having to wait for others to catch up. I for one appreciate that class sizes (at least in our part of Aus) are far smaller than UK ones of the same year group. We came from a classroom in England that had been split down the middle with a wall and had once held 30 kids in the entire space. When we left it held 60 in that space, 30 kids per classroom. Tiny space for so many kids. They had done this to every classroom in the entire school so it held double the number it was originally built for in the same space. Was so cramped and kids barely had room to move. Came over to a class of 18, then Y1 was 20, Y2 had 23, Y3 had 25 and Y4 has 28 kids in the class. And the school is an in demand zoned school that has a wait list for intake each year so its not low on numbers. 

 

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I agree with those who say that he would probably be better with his age group, and start off in Y1 and move to Y2 in 2018.  Both of our girls have birthdays in the part of the year where we could have held them back until the following year (February and April birthdays), but under a bit of pressure from family, we put our girls into school as soon as we could so that 'they didn't fall behind'.  However, although they both coped fine academically, as they got older the differences between them and their older peers became much more apparent.  Some of the kids in their classes were over a year older, and consequently were bigger, stronger, more emotionally and socially mature etc.  This didn't matter so much when they were in the younger years, but our eldest daughter had a very difficult Y5 and Y6, with being bullied on and off by the older girls.

We've actually just moved back to the UK, and one of the reasons we chose Scotland as a place to move to was because the cut off here is end of Feb.  This meant that our eldest girl could move back to the beginning of P7 (equivalent to Y6 in Aus which is where she'd been).  If we'd moved to England she'd have started high school.  Youngest could have gone into P6 (Y5 equivalent, she'd been in Y4 in Aus) but because her birthday was just before the end of Feb cut off, we opted for her to go back into P5.  I am incredibly pleased that we made that choice, as it has given them both a little bit of breathing room, and they have coped amazingly well with the transition.  There are lots of different subjects for them to get to grips with (different history, different geography, French and German for example), not to mention getting used to a whole different way of doing things and making new friends, so to give them that space has worked well.  

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Hi, we had a similar situation when we came in 2015. Our daughters birthday is 22/07 so she was the youngest in Uk. Back then she was in year 4, and moving here she was meant to go to y3. However we insisted she'd go to year 4, as she wasn't happy about going to a younger grade. It has worked out ok, she's a bit behind with her results, but socially at the moment she fits well. She's starting y7 in January and is very happy and exited. Just do what your guts tell you, if you want him to stay in year 3 just ask the school

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