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jennlx

Better education - UK or Australia?

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I was just wondering what the general consensus is on this from UK expats... I am getting stressed out by the whole issue! My child is still very young, but the more I look into education in general, the more worried I get! My son is going to a day nursery here in the UK and although the price is extortionate, I do love the Ofsted-guidelines and the amount of teaching he receives at a relatively young age. Comparably, in Australia, they don't seem to have a similar framework so would he just be sitting in front of a few secondhand toys all day? What about state primary schools in Australia - are they any good, compared to the UK? I'm from Melbourne but we went to private schools so I don't know anything about state schools, beyond the snobby attitude towards them (the local state high school near us literally was full of kids who had been expelled from other schools in the region) although we were aware of the couple that were excellent (e.g. MacRobertson). My OH and myself don't earn much and getting to Oz will be all of meagre savings and if it all goes wrong, we would really struggle to return back to the UK so I am stressing majorly over the whole thing. I really just want the best for my kids - any feedback much appreciated!!!

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Guest david lockett

Hi.

You have to decide that you want to come to OZ. or not don,t dither about we are in our 60,s and we don,t regret coming at all ,my son and his family have been here for 15yrs. and the education

their children have is the best in state schools ,I help out at the state school and it is 21-1 much

better than the U.K. and the opportunities for them to get on are much better,we live on the Gold Coast ,so make that decision and stop getting stressed. David.

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Hi....

 

I brought my family back to Melbourne after 20 years in the UK, and schools and the kids generally has always been a driving factor for returning. My two have been in our local primary school since June and they have been doing really well. The school is very well equipped and they are enjoying the teaching style whilst still being challenged.

 

Both are making really good progress and have settled in very well. We did a lot of research using the Better Education website which gives a guide as to how well a school does in the standard tests, however, this is only a guide as you can sometimes have a poor year with results in even the best schools.

 

The kids have so many more opportunities to try different things at schools in Australia and I am yet to see one that hasn't been very well equipped.

 

My wife is a primary school teacher so she is pretty thorough!! :laugh:

 

Good luck and don't worry about this issue.....you will not be disappointed!


Spencer (40 Aus), Lisa (36 Permanent Visa 100), Alexandra (11 Aus by Descent) & William (7 Aus by Descent)

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I don't know. I don't feel its better or worse. Its different. I'm married to an Aussie who went through the Aussie school system and came out the other side with a great degree and has been in work since then. And know people who are teachers in Aus. The way they explain it, they have a different approach to things and I actually like the sound of it.

 

I'm going to quote this post from another thread as I think it explains it far better than I ever could. Thread here

 

I am just curious but how do people judge what is a "good" education? I often find that parents cannot quantify it but I think it is important to note that these days we are not filling children's heads with facts but encouraging independent learning and critical thinking. In my experience, education in the US is very "textbook" and children learn historical dates, facts etc from a textbook but here in Aus we are teaching children to be able to find out information for themselves as the facts in books are often out of date by the time the books are published. I often hear parents judging primary teachers on the homework they hand out, whereas the reality is that time and time again it has been proved that homework in the primary years does not raise student achievement. Most teachers hate giving it because they know this but parents want it (but don't know why they want it!). I do find as a teacher lots of people think they know everything about education - mainly because they went to school themselves.... Sorry to hijack this thread!

 

Its the part about 'important to note that these days we are not filling children's heads with facts but encouraging independent learning and critical thinking' that stands out for me. Perhaps being able to talk to Aussie teachers has helped me understand the differences, perhaps its that I don't have this worry about the schooling is going to be sub standard or let my son down badly or fail. I think you get good and not so good schools anywhere.

 

Australia isn't a 3rd world country or some backwater place (although some might say otherwise :cute: but then some say that about the UK aswell :tongue:). Like anywhere, if you look around you should be able to find a good nursery for your child. Much like here, there are good and not so good.

 

Also I don't hold much in the UK education system in the early years and feel we start our children far to early in school when it should be more play based and actual learning begin later. If you look at some Scandinavian countries that lead the world in education, the kids there don't start school till 7. 7. They catch up very quickly to the same level as our kids here in the UK who have been at school since 4 or 5. So what does that tell you? I think that alone speaks volumes and wonder why we can't change (don't get me started on why, its an endless minefield and will not happen in the next 20 years if ever alas). We are one of only a handful of countries in Europe who start their kids so young at school. I don't look forward to lots of 'teaching' when my son is young here in the UK. I don't believe in the long term it will be what helps him do well later on in his school life. Nor do I believe Ofsted is the best thing to judge our schools or their acheivements. It helps in some ways but I'd not place my trust in it overly and prefer to go on my gut feeling, word of mouth, parental feedback and all those other things.

 

I am more than happy that when we move back to Aus (hubby is an Aussie, me from UK) our son will be just fine in the Aussie education system. We'll do our utmost to ensure we find what we feel is a good school for him, same as we would if we were in the UK.

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I can only speak from my own experience of having two children, but I have been happy. Our eldest daughter started kindy this year at almost 5 and has absolutely amazed me with her progress. I help out once a week with reading, and compared to the start of the year, the children are all doing well. They are all polite and well mannered, enthusiastic and they seem to have a very well rounded education that includes things like public speaking and things that wouldn't be done at school in the UK. There are 20 students in Sophies class, with one or sometimes two teachers, plus parents are encouraged to go in and help, so there is usually a parent or two in the class too. The children are encouraged to mix with the older children which I think is a great idea, because it means that the older children feel responsible towards the younger ones. She attends a state school.

 

Daycare is expensive, I pay $75 per day, two days per week. The only reason I send our youngest is because I work from home and there are things that I do for my work that involve chemicals and a soldering torch (I make jewellery and run an internet shop), plus I have paperwork and computer work to do, and I can't really do those things with her around. Pre-school and the like don't seem to be so heavily subscribed to, with most children that I know only going maybe one or two days per week until school at five or six.

 

In my opinion, it is the parents who make the child rather than the school, and so providing you get a reasonably good school and are willing to put in some work yourself rather than leave it to the teachers, it will be fine.

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I don't know. I don't feel its better or worse. Its different. I'm married to an Aussie who went through the Aussie school system and came out the other side with a great degree and has been in work since then. And know people who are teachers in Aus. The way they explain it, they have a different approach to things and I actually like the sound of it.

 

I'm going to quote this post from another thread as I think it explains it far better than I ever could. Thread here

 

 

 

Its the part about 'important to note that these days we are not filling children's heads with facts but encouraging independent learning and critical thinking' that stands out for me. Perhaps being able to talk to Aussie teachers has helped me understand the differences, perhaps its that I don't have this worry about the schooling is going to be sub standard or let my son down badly or fail. I think you get good and not so good schools anywhere.

 

Australia isn't a 3rd world country or some backwater place (although some might say otherwise :cute: but then some say that about the UK aswell :tongue:). Like anywhere, if you look around you should be able to find a good nursery for your child. Much like here, there are good and not so good.

 

Also I don't hold much in the UK education system in the early years and feel we start our children far to early in school when it should be more play based and actual learning begin later. If you look at some Scandinavian countries that lead the world in education, the kids there don't start school till 7. 7. They catch up very quickly to the same level as our kids here in the UK who have been at school since 4 or 5. So what does that tell you? I think that alone speaks volumes and wonder why we can't change (don't get me started on why, its an endless minefield and will not happen in the next 20 years if ever alas). We are one of only a handful of countries in Europe who start their kids so young at school. I don't look forward to lots of 'teaching' when my son is young here in the UK. I don't believe in the long term it will be what helps him do well later on in his school life. Nor do I believe Ofsted is the best thing to judge our schools or their acheivements. It helps in some ways but I'd not place my trust in it overly and prefer to go on my gut feeling, word of mouth, parental feedback and all those other things.

 

I am more than happy that when we move back to Aus (hubby is an Aussie, me from UK) our son will be just fine in the Aussie education system. We'll do our utmost to ensure we find what we feel is a good school for him, same as we would if we were in the UK.

 

Totally agree with the above. Dd1 has been learning to write, and they don't only teach her to write letters by rote, but right from the very first day they have been taught how to write good stories. I am absolutely flabbergasted sometimes when I see the quality of the writing. And this is in a kindy class! I am totally of the opinion that you should teach a child to ask questions and to think for themselves. If they don't know the answer, do they know where to find the answer?

 

I also agree that we start them too early in the UK.

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I think it really depends on what you define as a good education and what outcomes you are looking. If you are looking for a purely academic education which gets your child into university then stay in the UK. If you are looking for a more rounded, but possibly less academically focused education (particularly at primary school level), which gets you to university and then gains you pretty much the same degree as you would get in the UK then come to Australia.

 

Children do not need to learn to read and write at pre-school. The whole point of a pre-school is to socialise your children and let them learn to be with other children, how to interact with them, how to play together, how to follow rules etc. There is PLENTY of time to learn to read and write in school. It certainly does not harm children to learn these academic activities later.

 

love

 

Rudi

x


 

 

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Thanks very much for your responses - music to my ears, really! And LKC, you made a very good point: I have been so busy trying to provide for my son financially, I did tend to expect someone else to come along and educate him - a tad embarrassing to admit.

 

Also I come from a very 'academic' background and this was very much the focus of my parents. The result? One brother is a security guard, the other in IT and the other an electrician. All food for thought!

 

Is it then of your opinion that the 'state' schools are of no worse quality than state schools in the UK? I always presumed that as most primary schools in the UK are state, they would be better than in Australia, where there tend to be a lot more private schools.

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Hi

We are coming to Oz in January and my youngest has just turned 7 but has never attended an english school as we live in France.My worry is will she be picked on as her reading and writing in english is very basic.We have 2 older girls and they read and write fine with the exception of a few spellings.

Can anyone tell me at what age in Oz do they start to read and write.

Will she really stand out,we are reading loads with her but they are still in the French system and it is very demanding.That's one of our reasons for moving to Australia.Our girls start school at 8.30 and finish at 5.30 (there is no school Wednesdays)they have homework every evening.

julie:hug:

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6 of one and half a dozen of the other I should think.

 

I know of several UK families who returned because they thought the ACT system was not doing enough for their kids (probably quite justifiably - almost half of ACT kids go to private schools and just over half go private for HS!!!)

 

By the end of honours it will be pretty much the same no matter which side they are educated on. My son (privately educated in Australia) has had no problems with establishing a good career in UK but he does make comments about the quality of degree that some of his colleagues seem to have experienced and it wasnt favourable towards his alma mater (but then, perhaps one shouldnt be comparing Oxbridge with ANU?) where group assessments often with people who speak little to no English contributing to the group mark are the norm.

 

On balance, what I have seen of my friends and their kids and from working in schools for a long time, I would go for the UK - far more rigor and accountability from teachers for starters but I know that ACT is probably less inclined to rigor than other states are. I do think it is a bit of an indictment though that close to half the parental population choose to put their hands in their pockets to pay for an education when there is a freebie on offer across the street (and many have tried the free option first!).

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Guest guest17301

I dont think theres much overall difference tbh...my daughter went to highly regarded Catholic schools in the UK, here she goes to a public senior school and went to the local primary prior to that. I think its down to the childs attitude and the parent/teacher expectation, if you expect them to to do well and the teaching staff and motivated and experienced they wont go far wrong. The Aussie system is simlar to the UK system Ive found, just different names for things...SATS=NAPLAN etc...

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My son (privately educated in Australia) has had no problems with establishing a good career in UK but he does make comments about the quality of degree that some of his colleagues seem to have experienced and it wasnt favourable towards his alma mater (but then, perhaps one shouldnt be comparing Oxbridge with ANU?) where group assessments often with people who speak little to no English contributing to the group mark are the norm.

 

On balance, what I have seen of my friends and their kids and from working in schools for a long time, I would go for the UK - far more rigor and accountability from teachers for starters but I know that ACT is probably less inclined to rigor than other states are. I do think it is a bit of an indictment though that close to half the parental population choose to put their hands in their pockets to pay for an education when there is a freebie on offer across the street (and many have tried the free option first!).

 

Different people, different experiences :) My hubby (privately educated in Aus also) has his degree from an uni in Aus and other than his first job after his graduation, his degree has played no real part in his finding work or helping him land a job. What he has found is that all those years of work at uni have very little to do with his career now. It got him his foot in the door for his first big job but after that it boiled down to him, his skills, ability to be able to work wonders with a computer and all the things he has learnt himself (self taught various computer languages) and his ability to keep learning and excelling at the job he is hired to do. They don't look at where he did his degree anymore. Or what he got in it. Unless you go into law, medicine or a some such, often a degree has no real bearing in the line of work you may eventually end up in.

 

Many parents would dearly love to send their kids to private schools in the UK. However the cold hard fact is that it is usually well out of the affordability range for many. I know a number of people in recent years whose kids were going to private schools but who now attend state schools as they just could not afford the school fees any longer in our current economic climate. And some who have relocated away from London to areas where there are exceptional state senior schools to enable their children to attend. Fathers work in London in the week still, home on weekends so their kids can go to a good state school.

 

We would love to send our son private if we were remaining in the UK. But it would be financially hard to do. We are lucky we live in an area with some wonderful state schools, probably some of the best in the entire region. But moving back to Aus we should be able to afford to send son private for his senior school if we wish. We would like him to and that is the aim. We have a better chance of doing that in Aus than here, that is for sure. As for state schools, as I've said before, you get good and not so good wherever you go. Many many people in the UK (and probably happens in Aus also) move into catchment areas to ensure they get their kids into the 'good' state school rather than the not so good one which they may have only been able to go to. It goes to show the education system in both countries probably leaves something to be desired by some parents and will make others happy. Shame its often dependant on the area you live in or can afford to live in.

 

Honestly I think many overrate the UK schooling system these days. A keep finding myself looking to the Scandinavian countries and their school format and feel they are getting it right.

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Guest JK2510

The schools are quite similar. I don't get some of the stuff they do here! When the AFL is on my kids have to choose which footy team is gonna win! Seems fairly similar to gambling as they earn a little prize!

 

I don't think an affluent area means the public schools are good.

 

I do miss the village primary school with 100 pupils my girls attended in the uk! All the teachers knew all the children by there names.

 

The main thing here is that my kids are happy so that's all that matters.

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I don't think an affluent area means the public schools are good.

 

No, not all of them are but what often happens though is that a consistently good school with a catchment area will attract people from outside the area and demand for property within that area rises and therefore prices do also. And eventually, those prices push others out of being able to afford to either remain there renting or to buy there.

 

Examples of what people do these days include one family owning a house that fell 2 streets outside a primary/junior school area. So they rented their house out (unable to sell) and rented a house within the zone to be able to use that as their address and so enable them to get their kids into the school. Luckily the senior school covered their own house. But imagine going to those lengths to get your kids into a school you felt was decent.

 

Is happened no end of times in areas I've lived in or around. This is of course the UK I am talking about. Its well documented what people do to get into a good school.

 

Another example of how far parents will go. One of my good friends converted to Catholicism to enable her kids to attend the Catholic school in her catchment area. She wasn't at all religious but the chances of her kids going to a great school were very small unless she or her husband were Catholic. They lived in a good area with a decent senior school but the Catholic school was felt the better school. It worked, they got their kids in and for the next 7 years they had to attend church to keep up appearances.

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Thanks very much for your responses - music to my ears, really! And LKC, you made a very good point: I have been so busy trying to provide for my son financially, I did tend to expect someone else to come along and educate him - a tad embarrassing to admit.

 

Also I come from a very 'academic' background and this was very much the focus of my parents. The result? One brother is a security guard, the other in IT and the other an electrician. All food for thought!

 

Is it then of your opinion that the 'state' schools are of no worse quality than state schools in the UK? I always presumed that as most primary schools in the UK are state, they would be better than in Australia, where there tend to be a lot more private schools.

 

I am also from an academic background, I have two undergraduate degrees myself, and the education of my children is extremely important to me (as it is to most parents). However, I feel that when I was at school/uni back in the UK, there were many things missing from what we were taught. Sure, I can tell you all about the Periodic Table of the Elements, explain in great detail about photosynthesis, and discuss the evolution of birds, not to mention test your eyesight at the same time (degrees in Zoology and Optometry), but I couldn't stand in front of a group of people and tell you. I may have two degrees, but I have absolutely no confidence whatsoever, I have consequently never had the courage to go after the career that I wanted, and that, I feel, is the difference between education here and in the UK. The education here may not be necessarily better, but I feel that they instill confidence in children alongside academic learning, and that is most important in my opinion.

 

My five year old daughters class gave an assembly recently. They did a little play, then at the end my daughter had to stand up, in front of the whole school and parents, and read a little speech from a piece of paper. I couldn't do that as an adult, and I was absolutely stoked to see her be able to.

 

I can only comment on the schools that I have experience of. My daughter attends state primary, my friends daughter attends Catholic primary both in kindy. I wouldn't say that either school was better than the other. Obviously the Catholic school has more focus on the religious side, but from an education point of view I would say that they are equal. We live in a nice area, which probably does have an influence. I didn't have children at school in the UK (my girls were only 1 and 2 when we came here), but from what I hear about school from my niece and nephew, although there seems to be more focus on things like homework and exams, class sizes are far bigger, things tend to be taught by rote, and much of the teaching seems to be left to classroom assistants. I don't know how true that is, it is just what I am told.

 

At the end of the day, if the outcome at the end of education is the same then it doesn't matter, but if the educational outcome is the same plus the child has the confidence to go far, then that is surely better.

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When we arrived both my children went into state primary school one year 7 and one year 2 (they're now in year 11 and year 6 - my eldest at state high school). I do not believe that their education has sufferred and they enjoy school.

 

The Australian education systems churns out Dr's, lawyers and other 'top professions' who can hold their own on the international stage ... so it can't be all that bad.

 

My daughter did tell me that she has heard that some of the private schools keep up their good academic records by offering an 'iniviation' to pupils to sit exams ensuring that only the best candidates succeed (and keep the high achievement record), others not 'invited' can sit the exam externally. This may or may not be true, but i'd hate to think i'd payed thousands on my childs education and they couldn't have a go at the exam.


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 dermedicus

This is a very difficult question to answer. We loved the school that the children attended in the UK, they felt comfortable there and thrived. Other people in the town hated it and took their children out. People's experiences can be vastly different.

 

Academically I believe my children are performing well here, judging by our dinner table conversations, their reports, their NAPLAN tests and their achievements, so the school must be doing something right. The school culture however is different. The uniforms are very informal in govt. schools, resembling a prison suit in the winter guise, and the playground atmosphere and bullying is frankly shocking. This is a big difference from our UK experience. However, I am sure there are parents who see it completely differently within the school.

 

As somebody notes above, Australian professionals are held in high esteem so the education system must be reasonable, but down here in Victoria bear in mind that the private system is huge and will be influencing those results.

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Hmmm....thanks for your feedback, some interesting points but still unsure! Dermedicus, you make the point I was thinking of: that yes, Australia produces respected lawyers, doctors etc. but how many of these come from the private (and, for us, unaffordable) schools? I guess our little ones will be so young that we could always return if we don't get good vibes from the education system. Oh god, but I don't like the sound of the bullying - but guess it could happen anywhere. Thanks all!! :biggrin:

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Hmmm....thanks for your feedback, some interesting points but still unsure! Dermedicus, you make the point I was thinking of: that yes, Australia produces respected lawyers, doctors etc. but how many of these come from the private (and, for us, unaffordable) schools? I guess our little ones will be so young that we could always return if we don't get good vibes from the education system. Oh god, but I don't like the sound of the bullying - but guess it could happen anywhere. Thanks all!! :biggrin:

 

I think it's hard to say how many come from private but because there is less snobbery value here to private schools you do get a lot of people sending their kids to them. However, there are some great public schools which offer academic extension programmes for students, the public school my daughter attends has AEP, Music and Science Acadamy programmes. I know that my daughter is taking more exam subjects and at high levels (in year 11) than some of her private school counterparts have just done in year 12.... I'm of the idea that if your child is able and you find the right environment then they'll do well wether you pay or not.


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

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but how many of these come from the private (and, for us, unaffordable) schools?

 

This is also a valid question for the UK. Medicine and law are still fairly exclusive professions...

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Excellent thread!

 

LCK - your last post is spot on and I agree 100% - UK schools may (or may not) offer the academic knowledge, but do they offer the life skills that are necessary to implament that knowledge??

 

I am of the belief that having a happy, confident child is far more important than having one that got straight A's when taking their GCSE's a year early but is socially challenged! A childs school years are all about experience and development not passing exams!!!

My niece is 6 and 'taking' her SAT's next year, my sister has already told me she is planning on asking the teacher for 'practice' material - this is complete crazyness!!!

(Obviously a good base level of education is required but a lot of this can come from the input of the parents and the time that is spent with their children)

 

LCK congrates to your daugthers for taking part in the assembly - hearing stories like this makes us think we can wait for our boys to be part of the Ozzy education system!


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I agree with the poster who highlighted the social and confidence side of the teaching there in Australia. My eldest was a quiet, shy girl when we arrived and she was in year 2. She is now a confident girl who is happy to stand in front of teachers and her peers to discuss a subject. I have 2 happy thriving children 1 in state primary and the other in private high school. I would have sent the eldest to public high school if the local catchment school wasn't full of feral kids with feral families.

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Excellent thread!

 

LCK - your last post is spot on and I agree 100% - UK schools may (or may not) offer the academic knowledge, but do they offer the life skills that are necessary to implament that knowledge??

 

I am of the belief that having a happy, confident child is far more important than having one that got straight A's when taking their GCSE's a year early but is socially challenged! A childs school years are all about experience and development not passing exams!!!

My niece is 6 and 'taking' her SAT's next year, my sister has already told me she is planning on asking the teacher for 'practice' material - this is complete crazyness!!!

(Obviously a good base level of education is required but a lot of this can come from the input of the parents and the time that is spent with their children)

 

LCK congrates to your daugthers for taking part in the assembly - hearing stories like this makes us think we can wait for our boys to be part of the Ozzy education system!

 

Exactly. I am a high achiever academically, but I am completely socially challenged. In fact I feel that my academic achievements have been totally wasted because I have never had the confidence or social aptitude to use them. Life is a constant struggle in terms of meeting people and doing new things because of the low self-esteem and lack of confidence I have. I find it difficult even to pick up the phone to make the simplest of phone calls.

 

I don't want that for my girls. I don't want them to feel like their stomach is in knots constantly, and I don't want them to be too afraid to do the things in life that they want. I'm not saying that this is absolutely the fault of the UK education system (there are other things that have happened to me that have contributed), but just that the Australian school that our eldest goes to seems to encourage confidence which my schools in the UK never did.

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Here's an interesting article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7115692.stm the league tables on the link show the Australia as being above average and the Uk below average.

Although these tables are from 2007 I have read that the uk has since slipped even further down both tables.

What was it Tony Blair said back in 1997 "education,education,education" :laugh: and dispite throwing billions at it, the standards got worse and worse:sad:

Clearly money can't replace or cover up inadequacy:no:

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Here's an interesting article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7115692.stm the league tables on the link show the Australia as being above average and the Uk below average.

Although these tables are from 2007 I have read that the uk has since slipped even further down both tables.

What was it Tony Blair said back in 1997 "education,education,education" :laugh: and dispite throwing billions at it, the standards got worse and worse:sad:

Clearly money can't replace or cover up inadequacy:no:

 

Surprising isn't it, when you read things like that.

 

I do think its peoples perception of education and what we in the UK are used to and think it should entail. Elsewhere its done very differently and moving to any of those places, its of course going to seem strange and maybe not as good, when in fact, it might be on a par or better in some/many ways.

 

I personally think the UK system is rather out of touch and found the approach in other countries to be better.

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