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bicek

Primary and High Schools in Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne

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Hi everyone, we are researching primary schools and high schools in the Dandenong Ranges before we relocate. We are trying to narrow down our search to help us look for properties, but not really clear on whether there are good schools in that area, and how to go about shortlisting them. There don't seem to be any standout brilliant schools, but I'm struggling with how they are ranked/rated  in Australia.

We have looked at property online around Belgrave, Emerald, Kallista, Kalorama, Olinda, Selby, Mount Dandenong etc. Can anyone recommend good schools in and around those areas? Are the catchment areas quite tight/restrictive around those areas for state schools? Or is it possible to live where you want in the that wider area and then pick your preferred school? We will be going with 3 kids, one in early stages of primary school, one in kindergarten, and one very little baby. 

I should say we are only interested in non-religious, state schools. 

Any advice would be very appreciated!

Edited by bicek
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2 minutes ago, MARYROSE02 said:

You probably already have access to sites like this?

https://bettereducation.com.au/school/Primary/vic/vic_primary_school_rating.aspx?enc=T4fHyqFOPxjV5RSCThuHkTaWCVUsmTkN9mQXMOCFexxfXW0FnkG53/54icPs7DsWqDwg3PnEY4bu0Tr0oPwYQw==

I recall recently reading an article in The Australian about a revival in enrolments in Catholic schools.

Hi, thanks for your reply and the link. Yes I have been on that website - it's a little mystifying as a very different ranking system compared with ofsted over here in the UK. Access to parts of the site seem to be restricted for subscribers only (I assume you have to pay for full access?). But definitely some useful information on there to help narrow the search! Thank you!

The Catholic schools in the areas I'm looking in seem to have heavy fees, but I would prefer to avoid them either way. 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, bicek said:

Hi, thanks for your reply and the link. Yes I have been on that website - it's a little mystifying as a very different ranking system compared with ofsted over here in the UK. Access to parts of the site seem to be restricted for subscribers only (I assume you have to pay for full access?). But definitely some useful information on there to help narrow the search! Thank you!

The Catholic schools in the areas I'm looking in seem to have heavy fees, but I would prefer to avoid them either way. 

It’s a foreign country so you wouldn’t expect there to be the same system as Ofsted. https://www.myschool.edu.au/ Is another free comparison site but I couldn’t get on it just now for some reason. Australia is rather proud of its egalitarianism, it doesn't do ratings! 
 

All schools have priority enrolment areas and they are obliged to find places for kids living within those areas. If you want to apply for a place in a school which isn’t your priority enrolment school then you can apply but it is up to the school whether they let you in or not - it’s not really open slather, rather more if they have spots at the year level you want. Really popular schools are more likely to turn away out of area kids. 
 

Nothing beats the eyeball test so get a feeling for the neighbourhood first (you’re going to have to live there 24/7) then check out the school although some schools get a bit fed up with school shoppers who don’t have a permanent address in their catchment, they’re very time consuming.  Meanwhile you can observe what the kids are like when they come out of school and you can get the “over the back fence " gossip to give you a feeling. 

Edited by Quoll
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35 minutes ago, Quoll said:

It’s a foreign country so you wouldn’t expect there to be the same system as Ofsted. https://www.myschool.edu.au/ Is another free comparison site but I couldn’t get on it just now for some reason. Australia is rather proud of its egalitarianism, it doesn't do ratings! 
 

All schools have priority enrolment areas and they are obliged to find places for kids living within those areas. If you want to apply for a place in a school which isn’t your priority enrolment school then you can apply but it is up to the school whether they let you in or not - it’s not really open slather, rather more if they have spots at the year level you want. Really popular schools are more likely to turn away out of area kids. 
 

Nothing beats the eyeball test so get a feeling for the neighbourhood first (you’re going to have to live there 24/7) then check out the school although some schools get a bit fed up with school shoppers who don’t have a permanent address in their catchment, they’re very time consuming.  Meanwhile you can observe what the kids are like when they come out of school and you can get the “over the back fence " gossip to give you a feeling. 

It's not a foreign country to me - I'm Australian! 🙂 Coming back with my British husband and our kids. But I left a while ago and didn't have kids then, so not clued up on how the schooling system works. I much prefer the Australian approach to things, definitely part of the pull factor to get me back (leaving was not my choice, but as a result of my parents moving abroad in my late teens). 

Yep that all sounds like good advice, thank you. We will likely be renting initially so will position ourselves where we think we would like to live and get a feel for the area(s) first before buying. I'm just keen to avoid uprooting the kids too much once we arrive. I'd really like to get the school bit sorted for them. I went to 10+ schools by the time I was 15 and it was hard. Not keen to repeat this with my own kids. 

You're definitely right, an eyeball test is the way to go, so I suspect we will have to settle with shortlisting and then making a more concrete decision once we arrive. It's too hard to get a feel for the school/area without spending time in it. 

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2 hours ago, bicek said:

It's not a foreign country to me - I'm Australian! 🙂 Coming back with my British husband and our kids. But I left a while ago and didn't have kids then, so not clued up on how the schooling system works. I much prefer the Australian approach to things, definitely part of the pull factor to get me back (leaving was not my choice, but as a result of my parents moving abroad in my late teens). 

Yep that all sounds like good advice, thank you. We will likely be renting initially so will position ourselves where we think we would like to live and get a feel for the area(s) first before buying. I'm just keen to avoid uprooting the kids too much once we arrive. I'd really like to get the school bit sorted for them. I went to 10+ schools by the time I was 15 and it was hard. Not keen to repeat this with my own kids. 

You're definitely right, an eyeball test is the way to go, so I suspect we will have to settle with shortlisting and then making a more concrete decision once we arrive. It's too hard to get a feel for the school/area without spending time in it. 

Ah well, forget Ofsted and it'll all be good. Don't rush to get the kids in school, nobody gives a toss if they're out for a period while you get established. It'll probably very much depend on where you can get a house that you want to live in - availability, price, neighbours, facilities etc. A lot of people have aspirations for certain suburbs but when push comes to shove they just can't get a place that they want to live in so flexibility is key.  You might end up in Mornington or Altona, you never know lol. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Quoll said:

Ah well, forget Ofsted and it'll all be good. Don't rush to get the kids in school, nobody gives a toss if they're out for a period while you get established. It'll probably very much depend on where you can get a house that you want to live in - availability, price, neighbours, facilities etc. A lot of people have aspirations for certain suburbs but when push comes to shove they just can't get a place that they want to live in so flexibility is key.  You might end up in Mornington or Altona, you never know lol. 

Oh I was going to ask about that! Whether they are expected to start school straight away, and what the laws are on that or if it's even regulated at all. So that's very good to know. We'd like to settle them in slowly, give them time to adjust if we can, and start them in school at a sensible time. 

Yes you're right. The areas we are looking at seem to have very few rentals come up and I know they disappear v v fast so I don't know how much choice we will have when push comes to shove. The rental market seems very competitive, and we will have no Australian references/credit to our name so not sure how that will work out for us initially. Seems a little complicated to get up and started. 

Edited by bicek

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1 hour ago, bicek said:

Oh I was going to ask about that! Whether they are expected to start school straight away, and what the laws are on that or if it's even regulated at all. So that's very good to know. We'd like to settle them in slowly, give them time to adjust if we can, and start them in school at a sensible time. 

Yes you're right. The areas we are looking at seem to have very few rentals come up and I know they disappear v v fast so I don't know how much choice we will have when push comes to shove. The rental market seems very competitive, and we will have no Australian references/credit to our name so not sure how that will work out for us initially. Seems a little complicated to get up and started. 

Theoretically they are supposed to be in school but they did away with truancy inspectors about 30 years ago.  No one is likely to ask you at all, school attendance is poorly monitored here.  They wouldnt need to start at the beginning of a term or anything, there is a fair bit of movement throughout the year and though they usually ask you for a few days before a kid actually starts, once they're enrolled (so they can organise classes, desks etc) you could start that very day if you insisted.  

The online listings of rentals should be taken with a pinch of salt too - they can be glammed up beyond all recognition and they never tell you that you'd be living next door to a hoon with a dozen holdens.

I am sure it will be fine, people arrive all the time and seem to find places to live.  I assume that once you are out of hotel quarantine you'll be in a holiday let for a month or so and hopefully that will give you time to fix something up.  Bring English references - landlords, mortgage providers, employers, general character references etc.  It always helps if you have a job lined up.

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