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Schools / areas to settle in Brisbane

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Ooh, where to start?  Several issues to consider before/if we finally make the move, but one of the most important is schooling for our two daughters.  Top on the list, dictating that to some extent, is being in an area within easy travelling distance to/from The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, as the other half has a rare eye disease and suffered 4 cardiac arrests in December 2017.  My research so far shows that that would be the best place to take charge of his care... So with that in mind, we then need to sort out schools.  For me, this will then dictate where were look to live.  Our eldest is 15 and in Year 10 in the UK (Feb birthday) and the youngest is 10 and just finishing Year 6 (July birthday).  They are both very capable academically, and even though our youngest is one of the youngest in the class, she currently scores top in most of the tests they are doing getting ready for SATS.  So where would you go?  Sp many places sound like they could be right, and whilst everyone's experience is personal to them, I 'd really welcome any/all information you can give. 

Obviously, Ian's health tops the list, hence the need to be fairly close to the hospital. That said, we are hoping that his need for check ups will reduce so we don't need to be on the doorstep.  We live less than 20 miles from the teaching hospitals in Sheffield who are in charge of his care here, and that journey can take hour and a half some days, so long as it only means a day off work when he does have a check up, then any reasonable distance is ok...

This move has been put on hold a cople of times now (once after his eye disease diagnosis) and the last bite of the cherry runs out in July (the visas).  Just got the 'all clear' from the cardiologist after checking we hadn't lost the plot in still contemplating the move.  He actually suggested that looking after Ian's eye health might be the bigger issue, but it looks like we have found experts for both in the one place - BONUS!!!   So now it's time to crack on and get plans put together.

Can you give us any direction?


Many thanks,



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Have you validated your visa? If not, I’m guessing you are aware that the change of circumstances must be notified to DHA. If you are citizens or have already validated then that’s mooted course.

Nothing beats the eyeball test imho. Finding a place you want to put down roots is usually best done with feet on the ground, don’t sweat it. We can suggest places (well, the Brisbaneites can/will) but whether that meets your budget, accessibility, other services etc is anyone’s guess. The schools will fall into place, the general rule of thumb is that the school reflects the suburb to a large degree so if you’re gasping in horror at living amongst a particular cohort you won’t be wanting to put your kids into school there!  

Forget what you think you may know about Year levels and exams in a foreign country and go with the local conditions and keep the kids with their age cohorts - as long as you arrive before the Jan of the year that your eldest has just turned 16 or is about to turn 16 you’ll be right (ready to start yr 11 - don’t miss any yr 11!).  Aussies don’t like tall poppies btw so don’t spruik that.

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Sorry Quoll if that came across as bragging - that's not at all what I was aiming for.  I have read several posts referring to schools and how age / ability can be an issue, and seemingly some schools are more 'accommodating' than others.  So my point was that although she is one of the youngest in her class, she is more than holding her own, and indeed, fairing much better than those almost a full year older. I'm not sure I'd want her to be held back a year if she doesn't need to be, and yet I am very mindful that it would mean being with children a year older - so a bit of a catch 22 situation there.  I'd love to hear how other families have moved forward facing a similar situation.  I have just been trying to look back - I think the reference was that Lutherian schools maybe take a more holistic approach???  Not sure if us not being religious poses an issue with all faith schools, so again, all advice/information very welcome.

We have indeed validated our visas, so thankfully Ian's recent change in health doesn't pose a problem there - 'just' in ensuring he has the right specialists reasonably nearby.  So do you reckon I should worry less about education issue - just get there and it will all come good?  Sounds too good to be true but happy to embrace that! 

If we go that way then (worry less about schools), and again, it's all subjective, what suburbs would provide best for families, within a couple of hours(ish) drive from the hospital?  Ian is a carpenter, so we'd be looking for an area financially viable with reference to what his earnings might be...  Not asking for much here, am I?  ;)

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No worries! A child with a July 2007 birthday would be in year 5 in 2018 in Qld. You wouldn’t be holding her back or repeating because it’s a foreign country with different education systems. They don’t like blurring the cut off date lines, that’s why they have cut off dates. It’s not necessarily the academic progress that determines where the kid fits but the social and emotional maturity which often has more of an impact as the kids get older. High school is a tough place if you’re not a Queen bee or wannabe!

Most people find the schools fall into place once you’ve found a house you want to live in 24/7 and that is usually more dependent on availability within budget, proximity to work and other amenities. There’s a strong private system if you think you’re not getting a good result with government schools - a good proportion of secondary kids are in private schools, primary - not so much.

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