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ScottM

Mandarin in ACT Primary School

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Hi Everyone

 

We recently received out ACT-sponsored 176 visa :biggrin: and are making plans for the move to Canberra.

 

I'm Scottish and my wife is Chinese. We've been bringing up our 3 and 5 year old kids to be bilingual in Mandarin and English.

 

Does anyone know of any primary schools in Canberra that have Mandarin classes?

 

cheers,

Scott

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I'm pretty sure there's one school southside that teaches Mandarin. Might be worth checking out the ACT Dept of Education web site to see if that has any hints.

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Mawson PS advertises itself as being a bilingual Mandarin/English school but here are all the schools with their second languages http://www.det.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/123396/Languages_2010.pdf

 

There is also a Chinese Australian preschool also in Mawson http://www.careforkids.com.au/pre-school/chinese-australian-early-childhood-centre/2607 for the 3 year old

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Excellent link thanks Quoll.

 

What are your opinions on Mawson, Torrens and Latham primary schools?

 

I know we shouldn't base where we live solely on the schools but our kids' education is just about our top priority after the move.

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Excellent link thanks Quoll.

 

What are your opinions on Mawson, Torrens and Latham primary schools?

 

I know we shouldn't base where we live solely on the schools but our kids' education is just about our top priority after the move.

 

As your kids are bilingual anyway you have more of a chance of being an out of area enrolment in one of the bilingual schools so you may have a bit more freedom of choice about where you live (ask them if they will consider out of area enrolment). Have you checked the NAPLAN site? There is a huge difference between a bilingual school and one that does mandarin as LOTE though - just doing it as LOTE probably means that by the end of PS the kids can say "hello", count to 10 and know how to eat with chopsticks (exaggeration but you know what I mean!)

 

Of the three my choice would probably be Torrens and the other two pretty much on a par and the suburbs tend to be reflected in the schools - you may find that you dont want to live with the neighbours on offer and you do have to live in the house 24/7!!! You will also want to get your home on the basis of access to where you will be working

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Thanks Quoll. Point taken about the LOTE versus true bilingual school. Probably my kids could teach the teacher at the LOTE schools!

 

I think the thing for us is that a focus on Mandarin schools takes whittles our list of options down to something manageable. We don't have jobs lined up yet so really we're free to live anywhere just now, budget permitting. And never having been in Canberra its so difficult to do any real assessment of suburbs.

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Thanks Quoll. Point taken about the LOTE versus true bilingual school. Probably my kids could teach the teacher at the LOTE schools!

 

I think the thing for us is that a focus on Mandarin schools takes whittles our list of options down to something manageable. We don't have jobs lined up yet so really we're free to live anywhere just now, budget permitting. And never having been in Canberra its so difficult to do any real assessment of suburbs.

 

As I said, with bilingual kids I think you would most likely get an out of area enrolment without too much hassle so you can live wherever you like.

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Hi Scott,

I hope you and the family have settled nicely in Canberra.

 

Came across your old post as I am currently looking for a mandarin bilingual primary school for my children (6yrs and 3yrs) in our intended move from the UK to ACT in April 2013, on a state-sponsored 190 visa. My husband and I are both Chinese Singaporeans and are keen for the kids to be immersed in the language and culture in school. Where have you decided for your children, and how have you found the experience? I looked at Mawson however am concerned that they are not in the top 10 schools ranking list based on NAPLAN results (according to the 'bettereducation.com.au' website).

In fact, it is actually quite surprising that quite a few of the top ranking schools teach Indonesian. With the increasingly strong trade links between Australia and China I would have expected more schools to include Mandarin (even as LOTE).

 

We do not have any family or friends living in Canberra hence the main criteria for choosing where we will stay, will be in the catchment area of the primary school and pre-school that we eventually choose. Any advice that you would be able to provide, would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks in advance.

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We live in Perth, but a Dr. friend of mine takes her children to Chinese classes on a Saturday morning - if you can't find a school you may find some extra curricular classes somewhere


I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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Guest Ptp113

Canberra High School teaches Mandarin and French.

Edited by Wendee

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Guest Bazinga

There is more to a school than NAPLAN results. To rule schools out because they aren't in the top ten is very narrow minded and short sighted in my opinion. And I speak as someone who spent yrs working in the UK education system.

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Hi Bazinga

thanks for your response and appreciate if you could elaborate further? Am using the naplan scores as a gauge as we do not know anyone in and have never been to Canberra. We are expecting to arrive in early May and will visit some short listed schools to get a better feel, however I understand that we will need to secure our longstay rental first? To have a permanent address for registration (govt schools). So we will write to a few first to see if they could accept my 6yr old son midway through the term.

 

Also when you compare the Australian schools to the UK, what would you say are the main advantages? E.g. Better sports curriculum, etc?

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Hi Bazinga

thanks for your response and appreciate if you could elaborate further? Am using the naplan scores as a gauge as we do not know anyone in and have never been to Canberra. We are expecting to arrive in early May and will visit some short listed schools to get a better feel, however I understand that we will need to secure our longstay rental first? To have a permanent address for registration (govt schools). So we will write to a few first to see if they could accept my 6yr old son midway through the term.

 

Also when you compare the Australian schools to the UK, what would you say are the main advantages? E.g. Better sports curriculum, etc?

 

You wont have any problems enrolling a child part way through the term as long as you live in the catchment area - they are legally obliged to find a place and you can start any time you like. They do like a couple of days notice but you are quite within your rights to rock up, enrol and expect to leave your child (it's easier if you dont though, they like to be able to do a little bit of organization to make sure they have a nice start).

 

They are pretty much of a muchness and I dont know that there are any particular advantages or disadvantages. You will probably find much less emphasis on learning by teaching and more on learning by experience with lots of projects and much less homework. Sports are a bit ho hum although kids are supposed to do some physical activity every day that is really school and individual teacher dependent. LOTE is a bit hit and miss. School still manage their own curriculum although there is a national curriculum now but you will find different approaches to literacy and numeracy depending on the principal's particular quirks.

 

To my mind, nothing beats the eyeball test. By all means check out the suburbs you think you would like to live in and then go and see the school and see if you can see your child there - if you have the luxury of making choices about where you will live. Generally the schools reflect the profile of the suburb (if you dont like the neighbourhood you wont like the school, most likely) but sometimes you get a principal who perhaps doesnt gel and parents will vote with their feet (almost half of ACT kids go to private schools, mainly Catholic! - many of them will tell you they want a more traditional approach rather than the slightly more trendy laissez faire approach of government schools).

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Hi Quoll,

 

I know that you were in Canberra a while ago but I was wondering if I could pick your brains on Canberra schools. My son will be 5 on April 10th 2013 and we land on the 3rd April if we are hoping for him to go to Amaroo primary would he be in year one or will he still be in reception (kindy). Thanks.

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Hi Quoll,

 

I know that you were in Canberra a while ago but I was wondering if I could pick your brains on Canberra schools. My son will be 5 on April 10th 2013 and we land on the 3rd April if we are hoping for him to go to Amaroo primary would he be in year one or will he still be in reception (kindy). Thanks.

 

He'll be one of the youngest in kindergarten (cut off is 5 by 30 April) and you may have suggestions that he should spend the year in preschool (part time, 15hpw) because he is close to cut off. If they believe he is a bit immature and might struggle with a new country and new educational experience they may (I don't say they WILL) suggest this. If he has already had a year in full time UK education they probably won't suggest it but forewarned is forearmed. IIRC the Gungahin schools are still very much bound by catchment areas so you would most likely need a rental in the Amaroo catchment if you want him to go to school there.

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He'll be one of the youngest in kindergarten (cut off is 5 by 30 April) and you may have suggestions that he should spend the year in preschool (part time, 15hpw) because he is close to cut off. If they believe he is a bit immature and might struggle with a new country and new educational experience they may (I don't say they WILL) suggest this. If he has already had a year in full time UK education they probably won't suggest it but forewarned is forearmed. IIRC the Gungahin schools are still very much bound by catchment areas so you would most likely need a rental in the Amaroo catchment if you want him to go to school there.

 

 

We have arranged a meeting with them and other schools nearby and are aware of the catchment issue, he is doing very well in reception and my wife and son are returning until the end of the UK school year in july as I will be starting work and they will return in august. Lets hope they accept him in august in kindergarten until the end of their school year. Thanks for the info.

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We have arranged a meeting with them and other schools nearby and are aware of the catchment issue, he is doing very well in reception and my wife and son are returning until the end of the UK school year in july as I will be starting work and they will return in august. Lets hope they accept him in august in kindergarten until the end of their school year. Thanks for the info.
Should be fine with a year of full time education under his belt

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Thanks Quoll, you are as always helpful and full of local knowledge about Canberra (and generous about sharing info!). Am very appreciative... as much as it is exciting and courageous about starting afresh in a city we have never visited, it is daunting going there with two young children not knowing what kind of jobs my husband and I will get, how long the process will take, where to live, to rent or buy, what schools to go for, how expensive things are going to be, etc etc etc! Well we are blessed to have this opportunity and I guess, if we don't try we will never know how much better life can be :-p

 

Hi sully7669, nice to meet you here. Our timelines are quite similar, we started the process in Nov 2011, obtained the approval in Dec 2012 and also plan to arrive in April! Can I ask which suburbs you have shortlisted, and Have the schools said that you need to confirm a min 6mth rental accommodation in the catchment area first before your child can be registered in the school? I've written to a few but have not received a response yet probably due to the summer break. We have just booked our one-way tickets today :wink:

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Guest Bazinga

Plans are great, however, nothing can beat going to a school and getting a feel of the place which you just can't do from overseas. Set your housing budget, find an area you like and check out the local school. I agree with Quoll for the most part.

 

Stay away from Gold Creek esp the high school.

 

My point is that until you get here you can't really get a good feel for things. They accepted my then 6yr old son into the local school mid term (May) no problem. We stayed in catchment tho I possibly could have got him in somewhere different at the end of the year.

 

I don't know where you're looking at but Hughes, Fraser and florey are good. I love our school despite the reputation the area has and I'm a member of the P&C, which I would recommend doing if you have time once you are settled.

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I agree with Bazinga (arent we a little bunch of agreers today!) Trot around the suburbs and see what floats your boat - some suburbs will do it for you, others may not and always check out the neighbourhood (avoid Charnwood, really!). Personally I'm an inner North gal but we were fortunate that we bought many years ago - the prices there now are just silly for what you get but the schools arent bad - Majura has a good reputation, North Ainslie isnt my choice personally but I know a lot of people are quite happy with it and my granddaughter might go there. Aranda has a good reputation just a bit further out. Then of course there are all the Catholic schools - they tend to figure higher on NAPLAN as a general rule and they seem to have better interschool teams for sports as well. The bonus of the inner suburbs is that you dont have to travel far to work and when you get out beyond the outer bus interchanges it can get a bit of a hassle. Anything directly out of Civic is quicker and more frequent (OK Im a snob!). I also much prefer the older established suburbs - bigger trees, less of a building site look and if you go with an older house you generally get a bigger block (lots of medium density though now being inbuilt). Mind you, when I first arrived, Holt and Macgregor were new suburbs and now they are nicely established (probably would avoid the new Kingsford Smith school though).

 

If I had pots of dosh I wouldnt mind moving to Yarralumla but that would mean a mind set change of becoming a south-sider and I dont think I could cope with that LOL

 

Good luck, I hope you get what you are wishing for!

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Guest Bazinga

Avoid Charnwood? My son goes to Charnwood Dunlop school because we are in Dunlop and he's very happy. The reputation of Charnwood is now pretty much undeserved. We plan on buying in Charnwood in a few years. It does have problems but it has the highest % of social housing in Canberra at 18%. If you look at the most recent crime stats from memory I think it's lower than I thought and def lower than Ainslie. Maybe because you don't rob your own ;)

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