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EatCheese

Primary school age children moving from UK to Aus

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This is about a child born August 2013 who is in primary school first class (the class after reception) in the UK now. Family is planning on moving from UK to Australia this August 2019. First class/Year 1 is the correct class for him in the UK based on his birthdate. 

Some enquiries with NSW primary schools already and have been told that kids are placed in a class based on their birth date. Because of the differences in birthday cut off dates and school calendars, it's been suggested that on arrival in NSW this August, he will be placed in _kindergarten_ in Australia. He would complete the Australian 2019 school year in kindergarten. This would be moving him back almost 1.5 years of schooling.

Him dropping back 1.5 years of schooling is unacceptable and would be a showstopper for moving to Australia. Going from having completed first class/Year 1 in the UK to a mid-year admission in kindergarten in Australia is not OK. 

The school has made some hand waving comments about children being assessed on their ability blah blah so maybe he would be put in first class, which would still mean he is repeating about 5 months (due to the Sept-EU vs Jan/Feb-Aus start of the school year), but this sounds far from guaranteed.

Anyone have more info about what happens in reality?

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You're moving to a country that has a different education system and curriculum.   Your child will have another 11 years of education in the Aus system (if you stay) and you will find it won't be that detrimental.

My daughter was in year 7 when we moved - which at the time here in WA was the last year of primary school (she had started HS in the UK), we didn't view it as going backwards.  She was far from disadvantaged.

I would suggest that it is far from guaranteed if he could be in a higher year (what would happen when he reaches year 6 and is too young to go on to HS?). 

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It is not certain that this will be a permanent move to Australia. If there was a return to Europe in approx. 3-5 years, he would re-enter the European/UK education system and would then be 1.5 years behind, placing him at a significant disadvantage compared with just staying in Europe.

He can read and write. Going mid-year into Kindergarten after having finished first class in the UK is just not going to ever be acceptable, even if it means never moving to Australia. I'm an Australian citizen btw. 

Based on his birthdate, he is less than 2 weeks younger than the 31 July cut-off date for Australian school admissions. ie if he had been born 2 weeks earlier, he would automatically be put into first class in Aus if he arrives in August 2019. 

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3 minutes ago, EatCheese said:

. If there was a return to Europe in approx. 3-5 years, he would re-enter the European/UK education system and would then be 1.5 years behind,

As pointed out, the Australian curriculum and education system is completely different.  Why would the European/UK system not place him with his age peers if he returns?

Quote

he is less than 2 weeks younger than the 31 July cut-off date for Australian school admissions

Cut off dates vary between states so it is not an "Australian" cut off date.  However, if you know you would be living in NSW then it is the relevant one for your son.

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4 minutes ago, EatCheese said:

It is not certain that this will be a permanent move to Australia. If there was a return to Europe in approx. 3-5 years, he would re-enter the European/UK education system and would then be 1.5 years behind, placing him at a significant disadvantage compared with just staying in Europe.

He can read and write. Going mid-year into Kindergarten after having finished first class in the UK is just not going to ever be acceptable, even if it means never moving to Australia. I'm an Australian citizen btw. 

Based on his birthdate, he is less than 2 weeks younger than the 31 July cut-off date for Australian school admissions. ie if he had been born 2 weeks earlier, he would automatically be put into first class in Aus if he arrives in August 2019. 

As I say, my daughter moved at a much more important stage of her education and this was not detrimental to her in the slightest.  She could read before she started school at 4 and was in an academic extension programme here in Aus.  However, if you're thinking it will be a temporary move and that  this is such a deal breaker as you suggest it is, then you probably won't move.  NSW education dept might not be able to guarantee to change the whole system for you.

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It’s really more about your child being in a class with children of the same age. When we came here many moons ago, my youngest was put into a mixed class of reception and year 1, we arrived in the August and she had turned 7 the previous January, she made friends learnt lots and is doing great at Uni now. However... my other child whose birthday is August was just turned 12yrs old, he had already done a year at high school and in reality should have gone back to primary school here to finish year 7. However,  he didn’t want to go back to primary school. So off he went to high school as a younger one. Then the school call us, he is bored and well advanced so they suggest moving him up a year. So he moved up another year....... big big mistake, he simply was not mature enough the kids were 14/15 and he was 12. He didn’t make friends and just messed around in class. We had to change him to another school and go back a year. All this caused many problems and affected his ability to form friendships at school and he couldn’t wait to leave. But roll on some years and all is well, he has his degree and 2 masters to his name.

The point of telling you this is that at such a young age although education is important, friends are even more important. A child with no friends will struggle to find their way. You must do what feels right for your child and I wouldn’t dream of telling you otherwise, but I just wanted to warn you of the pitfalls of moving a child up years in school. 

Good luck 

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> As pointed out, the Australian curriculum and education system is completely different.  Why would the European/UK system not place him with his age peers if he returns?

I completed my entire schooling in NSW. He has an older sibling in a higher year in the UK and I have seen the UK system. I've lived overseas where there are international Australian and British schools, with movement between them. The UK-Aus schooling system is not that different. Certainly not completely different at primary school level. In primary school, you are taught how to read, write and do maths. 

Why would it be appropriate for him to repeat kindergarten in Australia when he has completed Year 1? What is it in the kindergarten/Year 1 Australian curriculum which he has missed out on by going to school in the UK?

Cut off dates vary between states so it is not an "Australian" cut off date.  However, if you know you would be living in NSW then it is the relevant one for your son.

Yes I see 31 July is applicable in NSW but 30 June is applicable in WA. So how about this: A child born on 15 July moves from Western Australia to New South Wales. Would it be appropriate for them to repeat a year because that just is the cut off date in NSW?

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As I said in my post, schools were more than happy to put a child in a different class year, they are far more flexible than the uk in this regard. You’ll just need to talk to them, if it’s only a temporary move then it maybe for the best. If it was a permanent move, like I said, I’d think seriously. It’s no fun just turning 17 in year 12 when all your peers are 18 and going out without you. Ask my son 😞

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23 minutes ago, BusbyBoo said:

As I said in my post, schools were more than happy to put a child in a different class year, they are far more flexible than the uk in this regard. You’ll just need to talk to them, if it’s only a temporary move then it maybe for the best. If it was a permanent move, like I said, I’d think seriously. It’s no fun just turning 17 in year 12 when all your peers are 18 and going out without you. Ask my son 😞

Ask me. I was in the same position all through school: scarred me for life!


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Posted (edited)

Foreign country, several different education systems but an August birthday anywhere is going to put a child turning 6 in August into Kindergarten (or equivalent thereof). Why should a foreign education system bend their rules just because you think your child should have preferential treatment? That’s a Pandora’s box that NSW definitely isn’t keen to open.  Early entry usually requires a full psychoeducational assessment including adaptive behaviour and social/emotional assessment with a profile demonstrating extreme giftedness, not just that a kid has had better early childhood teaching in a foreign jurisdiction.  Put him with his age peers, it’ll all work out in the end. 

BTW he wouldn’t be “repeating” anything, he hasn’t done K in Australia at all.

Edited by Quoll
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Posted (edited)

How do you know this is "bending the rules"? The entry age and birthday cut off for new school students entering kindergarten is published. The procedure for mid-year admissions for overseas students is not published, so how do you know what the rules are? How do you know there are not routine assessments of prior education when deciding what year children should be placed?

Somebody else has already posted that there is flexibility in putting a child in a different class year.

Do you think it is appropriate to put a child who has had 2 full and complete years of schooling, into a class of kindergarten children who have had around a half-year of schooling?

 

Put him with his age peers, it’ll all work out in the end. 

As I said, there may be a return to the UK in 3-5 years, in which case he would be 1.5 years behind his peers, so it will not all work out in the end. 

Edited by EatCheese

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, EatCheese said:

Do you think it is appropriate to put a child who has had 2 full and complete years of schooling, into a class of kindergarten children who have had around a half-year of schooling?

Unfortunately it's not a question of what's appropriate, it's a question of what the bureaucracy will allow.  One poster has said "there is flexibility" but hasn't said what state they're in - every state is different - or what type of school they're talking about, or how long ago.

I can understand why you are concerned, given that you are likely to be returning at some point and therefore want to keep continuity - the trouble is that you're unlikely to find anyone here on the forum who's been in the same situation.  The active  community here isn't large.  Of those, only a percentage lives in NSW, and of those, most were planning to stay permanently and therefore were able to take the long view, i.e  that the child being with its peers was more important. 

I think your only choice is to make contact with  more schools until you find one that's willing to guarantee that they'll be flexible.  Have you looked at the private school system?

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Every single Brit that has arrived at our school in Sydney has put their child into the age appropriate year. On arrival, some have been more advanced than others - if your child is found to be one of these, you will find that they are put into an extension class once or twice a week whereby they are given work which is harder than what the rest of the class is doing. Despite your assertions that your child would be too advanced in his/her learning capabilities to be put into kindy - this may not be the case once here. It is an entirely different education system. In fact some of the said children of the families I have mentioned actually struggled and had to be put into into classes for extra help.

In a normal year, there could be an age gap of up to 18 months between the youngest and the oldest student. To suggest putting your child into a year or 2 above whereby they would be potentially up to 2 and a half years / 3 years younger than some of peers would not be acceptable by most if not all of the principals regardless of how many years your child has been in school and how smart/intelligent you think they are.

My third child is in yr 4 and in all my years of having kids at school, I have never seen or heard of any child - local or international - go into a higher year based on academic ability. Any superior academic ability is dealt with within the year ,with like I said above, managing and controlling that childs learning through extra work, both at school and at home.

If you feel so strongly about this, perhaps it would be in your childs best interest to stay and continue their education in the UK - it is quite unlikely you will get the outcome you want in Australia. 

 

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Over the 10 years I have been on PIO I am constantly amazed at the number of very very bright children who are moving here.

My children were probably ordinary average pupils, except in our eyes, and are all grown up now. They were moved from school to school in UK, due to husband being in the forces, not all UK schools taught the same, but they adjusted, all went to university, At one school my oldest was in a class 1 year ahead of his peers, I really wouldn’t recommend it, not a happy time. I think parents can over think and worry too much, most children level out in time.

 

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Most of the flexibility about year levels is when an older child wants to move down a year. If you want a younger child to be up a year then you would have to demonstrate extreme giftedness along with comparable social and emotional development and even then, it’s not a decision taken lightly at all. The rules state age peer placement (except for when younger kids are very close to cut off and the recommendations would then most likely be to wait - especially in NSW which has the latest cut off ).  Why should they have special rules for kids coming from foreign countries? 

Returnees to U.K. have generally reported that their kids go back into their age peer groups and schools have been very helpful in ensuring that kids are supported to help them catch up.

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38 minutes ago, ramot said:

Over the 10 years I have been on PIO I am constantly amazed at the number of very very bright children who are moving here.

 

 

Errrrr, I’m not sure that references to ‘gifted children’ are applicable. He may or may not be more bright, less bright or the same as other kids. What you can definitely say is the learning outcomes in the UK and Aus primary school systems are broadly similar and on arrival, he would have completed two full school years. 

Completing two full school years doesnt make him gifted. It means he has spent 1.5 more years at school than would have been the case had he started off in the NSW system. 

So if he turns up in Sydney in August, he should be repeating the final part of NSW Year 1. Not repeating the final part of kindergarten, then repeating all of Year 1 in 2020.

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3 hours ago, purplealster said:

 

In a normal year, there could be an age gap of up to 18 months between the youngest and the oldest student. To suggest putting your child into a year or 2 above whereby they would be potentially up to 2 and a half years / 3 years younger than some of peers would not be acceptable by most if not all of the principals regardless of how many years your child has been in school and how smart/intelligent you think they are.

 

 

I don’t think that maths adds up. I went myself to two NSW primary schools and one NSW high school. There was never a 2 year, 2.5 year or 3 year age range in one class. I have friends with kids in NSW public schools and the age range in s class is one year or a bit more.

If he went into NSW Year 1 in August, he would be less than 2 weeks younger than the normal range for the year. That would make the age range in his year 12.5 months.

As per my previous reply: I do not see why intelligence is relevant here. I did not say he is abnormally intelligent. I said he will have completed two full years of school when he arrives. That is not my opinion, that is an objective fact. I do not want him repeating 1.5 years. That he will have to repeat 0.5 years; having completed UK Y1 then a mid year entry into NSW Y1 is more appropriate.

 

 

 

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One of my kids has a birthday on the 26th of July. If we had started her at 4.5 years, she would have been in kindy with some children already turned 6 by the time school starts in January. We kept her back and she is now one of the oldest with some of her friends 12-14 months younger. Likewise, my son is a March baby - we too kept him back - he started just before his 6th birthday. His best friend however, is 14 months younger - my son has just turned 10 and his bestie only turns 9 in July. My point being is that moving your child into a higher grade the potential is that will be a huge gap between him and some of the kids in the year. 

The fact that you don't seem to want to grasp is that this is NSW government legislation - the cut off is July 31 whether you like it or not. The fact that your son has done 1.5 years of school is irrelevant to them. You need to accept that by moving here you need to adjust your expectations and fit in with the law of the land. Realise that schools are not going to bend the rules just for you 'because he  has already been schooled for 1 and  a half years'.  They don't care about you or your son's personal circumstances - if they make a concession for one, they have to consider making a concession for all. Part of moving to a different country is accepting the way things work and if you really do not want to compromise and accept this, perhaps the best option for your son's education is to stay in the UK or wait until he is 18 and his schooling is out of the way. 

An option, aside of staying in the UK, is to contact private schools. As they are independently run, you may find that they are not as stringent on the 31st July cut off as the government schools. Expect to pay minimum of $10,000 for an average private school. Maybe less if you go Catholic. 

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I doubt the legislation says anything about if you are born in Aug 2013 and a foreign entrant you must be in kindergarten grade in 2019. The legislation will say something along the lines of you must be in school at from a certain age. The school year vs age will be an administrative guideline. It cannot be legislated or cannot be rigid legislation, as children are sometimes moved up or down grades. 

I presume everybody saying that is just the way it is would be fine with a child born in the month of July, having completed Year 6 in NSW, being all set to go to high school, then moving to Queensland and having to repeat primary Year 6? Because rules is rules and Qld rules are different to NSW rules. 

----

Can anyone who is telling me I just need to lump it please state their experience with this, i.e. you have a child born in August and you moved to NSW from overseas or interstate, or you work in a NSW public school and have seen strict application of birthdate cut off applied, or you just think this should happen as this is the first thing which pops up on the NSW education website for new students or it is your own personal opinion?

Since I posted the thread, I've called the school closest to my mother's place in inner Sydney. I got through to the deputy principal. I told her my son's birthdate and told her which year he is currently in in London, Year 1. She suggested, unprompted by me, a mid-year entry into Year 1. Not kindergarten. At least one public primary school in New South Wales is therefore flexible. It would still be helpful if I could find out if all NSW primary schools are generally flexible as I would have to engineer it to get him into the school near my mother's Sydney house. 

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33 minutes ago, EatCheese said:

I doubt the legislation says anything about if you are born in Aug 2013 and a foreign entrant you must be in kindergarten grade in 2019. The legislation will say something along the lines of you must be in school at from a certain age. The school year vs age will be an administrative guideline. It cannot be legislated or cannot be rigid legislation, as children are sometimes moved up or down grades. 

I presume everybody saying that is just the way it is would be fine with a child born in the month of July, having completed Year 6 in NSW, being all set to go to high school, then moving to Queensland and having to repeat primary Year 6? Because rules is rules and Qld rules are different to NSW rules. 

----

Can anyone who is telling me I just need to lump it please state their experience with this, i.e. you have a child born in August and you moved to NSW from overseas or interstate, or you work in a NSW public school and have seen strict application of birthdate cut off applied, or you just think this should happen as this is the first thing which pops up on the NSW education website for new students or it is your own personal opinion?

Since I posted the thread, I've called the school closest to my mother's place in inner Sydney. I got through to the deputy principal. I told her my son's birthdate and told her which year he is currently in in London, Year 1. She suggested, unprompted by me, a mid-year entry into Year 1. Not kindergarten. At least one public primary school in New South Wales is therefore flexible. It would still be helpful if I could find out if all NSW primary schools are generally flexible as I would have to engineer it to get him into the school near my mother's Sydney house. 

Why not do a generic email to several schools and you will then have your answer. If you’re still not happy then don’t move.  So many have tried to reassure you your child will be fine but you've mentioned not moving if he goes into kindy. If a young child’s school class is more important than moving then you have your answer. 

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This is clearly a really big factor in your decision to move to Australia and as you say yourself it may not be permanent perhaps for peace of mind it might be the right decision for you to stay in the UK.  Another option may be to consider private schools? My daughter goes to a private school, they do not normally move children up a year, in fact they try resist it in most cases, however, there is a child in my daughters class now who was moved up, she was exceptionally gifted and has adjusted well, and I would say she is still now far advanced than most of her current cohorts, however, as I said it was an exceptional situation and I can see clearly the rationale for their decision, but just thinking out of the box that perhaps private schools have more discretionary powers available to them? Although I don’t know, just a thought xx

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