Immigration to Australia: The School System

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Immigration to Australia: The School System

Moving to Australia means a complete change in your life; not only do you leave your home but you are integrated into a completely new culture and way of life. For adults, it is quite daunting on its own, but for children it can be an intimidating prospect.

Most children will be thrilled at the chance to immigrate to another country, although it can be a time of apprehension. One of the biggest factors in this apprehension is the language barrier. For many British, Canadian and American children, it will not be so scary to move to Australia since the official language there is English. Coupled with the prospect of leaving their friends and the only known way of life, this can be overwhelming.

For adults, on the other hand, the scariest prospect is finding the right school for their children and how to enrol them. Once you know the area that you are moving to then you can do a little research on the schools.

Australia’s schools are divided into five divisions: preschool, primary school, high school, career and vocational training and university. In most states and territories in Australia the school leaving age is 15. Schools do encourage students to stay on in education until university level, but students are free to leave the school system at this age.

Schools in Australia may be a little different to what you are used to at home. In Australia, the schools emphasis is on self-discipline rather than highlighting memorization and teacher discipline. In this, Australian teachers encourage their students to ask questions rather than to simply memorize what they are told. Students are then encouraged, motivated and inspired.

There are two types of schools in Australia – private (independent) and public (government). Most public schools are free but there are some where a small fee may be applicable. A sizable portion of private schools in Australia are run through the Catholic Administration Board. Many others are administrated by other religious organizations. Public schools are mainly designed for both boys and girls; private schools are generally exclusively all-girls or all-boys.

Teachers understand that new students, particularly those from another country, may be daunted about being schooled in a manner which they are not used to. Indeed, the teachers understand that parents themselves may be even more nervous than the children!

Because of this, schools set up a parents-and-teachers meeting designed to help you both adjust. Schools will offer to give you a tour of their facilities and then offer information regarding their curriculum. Once you have decided on a school, you will most likely have to show proof of your legal right to stay in this country where you child’s name should be listed.

If your child is at the age where they should be studying at university, they will need to apply for a student’s visa of their own. There are several international students’ visas available and your child will need to find one that is most relevant. As their parents, if you are permanent resident then you will probably need to sponsor them during their studies.


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