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Cheryl Goodenough

Cheryl arrived in Australia in December 2008. She has extensive experience in journalism, research and writing. After studying at Rhodes University, she started her career at The Witness in Pietermaritzburg and then did a two-year stint with the Helen Suzman Foundation writing for the publication KwaZulu-Natal Briefing. Cheryl then worked independently for nine years. During that time she conducted research on HIV and AIDS, safety and security and other topics; wrote copy for various publications and edited and published numerous documents and reports. She also co-wrote a cookery book called Culinary Inspirations.

Cheryl has an Honours degree in Communication and an Honours degree in Criminology from the University of South Africa. She is married to Phillip Hoare, a financial planner (and a drummer on the side) and they have a son Slade and a daughter Kai.

The School Dilemma
30/03/2010
 

Moving to Australia, all of us hope for a better lives for (most especially) our children. And I've heard many agonising parents, well mostly moms, I guess, talking about how their kids are settling down in Australia, what they miss, what they are enjoying, whether they're making new friends, whether they're battling to make friends. We talk about what is a good age for children who move from one country to another, and at what age it starts becoming more difficult for children to adjust, how children can cope with change so much better than adults, and those kinds of things.

My children were really excited about coming to Australia, but it didn't really have anything to do with the country itself. My husband Phillip came here three months before we left South Africa. He started a job, found a house, and even had two weeks to unpack the furniture before we arrived!

For Slade, who turned six on the day we arrived in Australia, and Kai, who was 4, leaving South Africa wasn't really about leaving anyone or anything. Uppermost in their minds was the thought of seeing and being with their dad again. And they were also pretty excited about having all their stuff again their first night in Australia they walked into bedrooms that were familiar at least in terms of everything that was in them!

Things worked pretty well from that point of view. They had been able to finish a school year in South Africa, and start a new school year here in Australia.

Kai had one year at a wonderful, caring kindi and started prep this year, while Slade went into year one last year.

The big dilemma that I have at the moment is about what school to send them to. The decision about which school to choose for my children is a really difficult one. Coming to a new country, I don't know the general talk about which schools are good, which aren't so good, what problems are evident in what schools, what schools are known for doing well academically and so on.

Slade and Kai are in a state school, which has a lot going for it. There are so many opportunities for senior school students they have staggered starts and finishes, and the senior students work, study further or do apprenticeships that can easily fit in with the school hours during their final years at school, there is a great hospitality program, with a restaurant that is run by the students, every student leaves the school with at least one qualification in something. The school is progressive in many ways, and when it was opened about eight years ago, was the pilot for some methods that are now being introduced elsewhere. Classes are mixed according to year levels preps and year one children are in the same class, as are year two and three kids. There are many advantages to that, and I've seen it work well for my children. The school also has pods (almost like two classes combined) that at prep/year 1 level have two teachers and a teacher's aide full-time. So the staff to pupil ratio is pretty good in that sense and the kids work with a number of different adults in the classroom, rather than just their class teacher. The facilities at the school are great and in a good condition as they are relatively new there is a fantastic library, sports hall and performing arts centre. The school caters for children from prep to year 12 so potentially the children don't need to go through the unsettling adjustment that can come about when moving to a senior school during their teenage years.

I guess my concerns come primarily from some of the behaviour that I've seen displayed by children and teenagers, in some cases towards the teachers at the school. But such behaviour is certainly not exclusive to the school. It's evident in shopping centres, skate parks and so on. In general, young people seem to have less respect for adults than what I was exposed to in South Africa.

So here's the dilemma would things be any different in an independent school, or perhaps a Christian school? How do parents go about making the decision as to what school will be best for their children? And it's a decision that's made more difficult as a newcomer to a country.

 
Comments
30/03/2010 - Bronwynn Nyschens
Hi Cheryl, My little son of 8 and I came to Australia (Melbourne) in July 2008 and our experience is very similar to yours. The first school we enrolled at had bullying issues even in grade 1 so we moved to a school closer to home and are pleased we have done with lots of positives at the school,good teacher input and the Head of the school is supportive and positive. Our exposure to some of the students behaviour also shocked us as does lack of discipline with the youth, which definitely was not what we were exposed to in South Africa. I have the same concerns as you including having to find a good secondary school, as this school only goes to grade 5/6. I also wonder if a Christian school is the way to go but they are far and few in this part of town as far as I know. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns.



30/03/2010 - Cindy Donald
Hi Cheryl, We have been in Australia since January 2008 and the schooling issue has been my biggest concern. We moved to Brisbane and I spent two months visiting schools, both state and private schools, trying to find the best. Mt children were 11 and 13 when we left and had attended a small Catholic school in PE. The primary schools all seemed fine and my daughter had to go into Yr7, skipping Yr6 completely. I struggled with high schools as they are so large and my son was to be put into Yr8, straight from Gr6. Some schools even wanted him to go into Yr9 as he had started school a year late in SA and was age appropriate for Yr9. I put my foot down about that as no matter how good their private school education had been, no child should skip two years of school! I finally settled on a state college with P-12. This meant both the children went into Middle school. The school we chose just happens to be the largest state school in Qld, as of this year with 2900 students from P-12. Discipline is very different in Oz in schools but as long as the school has a very strong and strict principal and good, motivated teachers who support the school behaviour policy you should be right. I work within schools and am now staff at my kids school so I am able to watch behaviours everyday and can see how issues are handled. Some of the kids friends have come from private or Christian schools and they say the reasons they have moved to our school is bullying and behaviour. Schools can only be as strong as their leader so choose a school with a good leader and pray they don't move!! We remind our children daily of their "roots" and when we see other kids behaving badly we remind the kids what would happen if that occured in a South African school! I have found since living here that as parents we have to "parent" a lot harder because the values we insist on are not the same at their schools or the same as their friends so we have to keep the pressure on. It's hard work guys but hopefully worth it in the end!! Good luck and know that we are all going through the same thing.



30/03/2010 - Bronwen Malengret
Hi Cheryl, We arrived in Australia in January, 2005 and was grateful to our relatives who encouraged us to send our boys to the Christian Outreach College (Citipointe College) in Mansfield, Brisbane. Our two sons completed their schooling at this amazing school, one going into Grdae 8 and the other Grade 10. My husband and I have seen them grow into fine young men with spiritual direction and a confidence for the future. I highly recommend this Christian College!



31/03/2010 - Isabel Myburgh
Hi Cheryl, we've been in Brisbane for 8 years and as many other parents, I share your concern. I want to reiterate wat Bronwen said, Citipointe College is a fantastic school. My children has been in the school jointly now for 9 years and I have not had one incident of bullying. The atmosphere is positive and it is automatically expected of children to respect adults, their teachers etc. The school also have a number of extension programs and a range of sporting opportunities. We found COC to be excellent value for money. I can also highly recommend this school.



31/03/2010 - Suleen
Do explore the new website; www.myschool.edu.au/ It is very informative.



31/03/2010 - Kay
As an'old' migrant of 30years standing this year, I am v. interested in the commentary on issues of school selection, age of child when migrating, behaviour, etc. My two sons both attended our local primary school - a deliberate choice of ours based on facts such as the size of our immediate community, the school's reputation and performance as well as an economic one. They attended a Independent/Christian High school- again a deliberate choice as the local high school did not meet our requirements in our opinion.From the outset we made quite clear that we as parents are the primary 'educators'; that the school provides the structured environment with curriculum and social systems to extend on our 'work'. Educating values can not and should not be conferred by the schools. Parents should and ought to have the prime responsibility for instilling the sort of values,principles,ethics,rules (call it what you like)in your own home.And the cornerstone is respect: yourself and demand the respect from the rest by standards.To cut a long story short - our boys did v. well. Both achieved leadership roles at school with one of them becoming high school captain and first 'black' kid to have attained it in the history of the school as well as Dux.They continue to do well and continue their role in modelling to their many friends,acqaintances, how to embrace people of colour, difference and disadvantaged. To move along to the issue of age to migrate for a child. There is no right and wrong but clearly the older the child the harder it will be to resettle would be my guess. Over the years I have met so many families who have uprooted their kids in the tumultuous years of puberty/adolescence and landed them in a foreign country with the expectation to just get on with life. For a start if you are a person of colour that is far more difficult. For white kids there is no need to 'blend' in. Apart from picking up the Aus twang white kids have no problems. Their only problem is about bullying - now if the white kid has that problem then spare thought for the black kid that stands out like a flashlight. I had to answer my son at a tender age "no, you can't have bleach in your bath but do tell jonny at school being black is not a problem. He has a problem and better get used to the fact that this is who and what you are". Of course, this is a simplified version after 25 years recall. Furthermore, on the issue of behaviour in schools I don't think this could be any worse than anywhere else in developed countries.Independent/Christian schools may have less of a problem with that as they do 'screen' and would quickly terminate the 'contract' where there is any sign of a 'bad' apple. Having said that I do not believe being strict, rigid and overzealous with discipline can be good for the development of the young person.It is right to say that it is about leadership not only of a headmaster but in fact every teacher (and I am afraid when looking at teachers training and entry requirements)has to demonstrate leadership and the skills to manage people. Society has always and will always have those who are more challenging for whatever reason. I will never forget my father who at first could not understand kids calling adults by their first names! Until one day conceding formalities have restricted him having better rapport with others. Wherever one chooses to go and live, it will come with challenges to ones own values and 'how we used to do it' syndrome.After 30 years it has taken me a long time to adapt. I was purposeful and selective in what I was going to trade in or up. For me it was about becoming a fully accepted citizen (and as your readers know blacks were classed as non-citizens until 1994)which I believed enhanced my capacity to accept and adapat to change. Australia is far, and possibley getting further from what I would consider a fair,just and tolerant country. It is all up to us oatherwise our future generations could pay. And would the sacrifice of migration have paid off??



31/03/2010 - Barry
Hi Cheryl, we have been in Qld around 2 years (from Durban). I am involved at an independent primary school north of Brisbane( prep thru Y7), which feeds most of the pupils to a Catholic senior school nearby. My advice is to avoid the state school system if at all possible. This view is based on my observations of issues like bullying, discipline, teacher attitude, pupil demeanour and school ethos. Its worth paying for your child's education so research all non state schools in your area. Good luck!



31/03/2010 - Devanai
Being a teacher myself I follow this topic with great interest. I work at a State School and send my children to a private Christian School. We migrated 10 years ago when my older boy was 5. He had great difficulty settling in. He attended a state school until year 6. The reason we sent him to a Christian School in year 6 was that we were concerned about his peer group in Secondary School. We were so happy with the school that we enrolled my second boy in prep without doing the state school rounds. I personally have no issues with the State School and fully accept that not all children enrolled in a Christian School demonstrate Christian values. I impress on my boys' that there are Christian values and our cultural value on which we base our live. So for each family it is a very personal decision. A word of caution about the myschool website - it does not present the total picture of a school. It only indicates academic achievement based on a particular assessment at a point in time. I will personally not use it to base my decision on a choice of school. As for being a state school teacher I love the diversity of the children and the families that I work with.



31/03/2010 - Ashleigh
Hi Cheryl. We have two girls, ages 3 and 7. We have lived in Melbourne for just over a year now and when we arrived, the issue of finding a good school was on the top of our list of priorities. We are a Christian family and would have loved to send our girls to a Christian school, but at this stage are unable to afford this. We have found a small Catholic school in Mt. Waverley where we decided to send our eldest. She is in Grade 1 now and is doing really well there. I volunteer as a parent helper sometimes, so it is interesting to get a look into the classroom dynamics. The discipline is good and they focus on teaching the children important values and Godly principles as they learn. They do work very differently to the way I was schooled in SA, but overall I am pleased with the choice we have made. Although we are not Catholic, this to us was our next best option and it is cheaper than a private school and better I think than a state school. Australian schools are very different to SA schools, so we have to focus on what the plusses are and never forget what a privilege it is to be in Australia.



31/03/2010 - Riette van der Merwe
We arrived in Brisbane in September 2008. I highly recommend Citipointe Christian College. This school has a terrific reputation and lots of South African children. My daughter completed her Prep year in 2009 and is now in Year 1. I cannot remember even one day that she was not excited about going to school. The facilities are great, the teachers are excellent and the school is well-managed. My son will be in Prep next year and he is excited already. We have definitely made the right choice!



01/04/2010 - George
Hi, All Any suggestions for good state schools, in the Perth, Port Kennedy area, or close to this? Thanks George



01/04/2010 - Jenni
Hi there, Are there any SA's who have settled in Canberra? Our kids are 8 (currently in Grade 2) and 5 (currently in Grade 1) and we will need to look at the Primary schools. They are in a private school in SA.



03/04/2010 - Robyn
Hi we moved in Jan 2007. My kids started in year 8 and 11 ,at their local high , at their request. The first morning I dropped them off- I thought immigration had been a " bad idea" that morning. The different uniforms ,hairstyles , make-up worn by the girls and coloured hair. The kids came from a little private school in South Africa. What a shock. 400 year 8 students!!! The school 1600 strong. It took them a while to settle ,but they did. The long and the short of it is , "birds of a feather flock together". Kids found Aussie mates similar to us in values, but vastly different backgrounds. My son passed year 12 with an Op 7 . He has settled well into Uni and my daughter is in year 11 now. The academics of the school are not what we had in SA when I was young. But I believe the kids have experienced more and know how to mix in the Aussie world.This is a different world that needs different skills to cope in. Being exposed to that gives life skills. The private schools are great but not a true reflection of society. You will get a more focussed education ,better manners but will they be able to mix with the vast majority of society-The workforce.The long and short is as long as your kids are brought up at home correctly they will settle. A number of my friends have kids in private schools ,they haven't done really any better than my kids.I know their parents are happier 'cos they identify with the enviroment better. I found the teachers at the State schools kind ,helpful and tolerant. What the kids put in ,they got out.Good luck with your choices.



06/04/2010 - Lana van den Berg
Hi Cheryl I am a Secondary teacher, teaching English and English as a Second Language at Citipointe Christian College (formerly known as Christian Outreach College Brisbane) in Carindale. We have been in Australia for almost 6 years and I have two daughters in Years 8 and 6. As both mother and teacher, I shared the concern of many of where my daughters would find a school that would offer the necessary academic rigour as well as a sound Christian education. After 6 years of teaching Years 8 - 12 and being a parent at the school, I would like to reiterate previous mentioned praise for the school. The school offers an excellent Christian education in a safe and accepting learning environment where I have personally seen South African students, English and Afrikaans, prosper and grow into strong and confident young adults. Visit the website, which also offers a special page dedicated to commonly asked questions by South African parents, for further information.



06/04/2010 - Michelle Wessels
Dear Cheryl We moved to Western Australia when our daughter was 15. This was an extremely difficult age. She was leaving young people she had attended school with from kindi. She struggled to settle down and found making friends very difficult. As she had been in Christian Schools from kindi we decided to keep her in one when we arrived in WA. We value a school that has high moral values and well as a high standard of education. Our daughter did not settle at all but the one thing I do want to mention is that the Principal at her school went way beyond the call of duty in making her time at his school pleasant and challenging. You can tell a lot about a school by the person leading it. If I could choose over again, I'd still enrol her in a Christian School.I agree with Robyn totally that what our children put in, they'll get out! At the end of the day, it is a privilege being in Australia and our children can only benefit from it! Thank you for an insightful and informative forum. Keep up the good work!



10/04/2010 - E
We've been in Aus since 1997 and have tried all possible types of schooling. I used to teach high school, way back in the eighties. My son started pre-primary here in Perth at a Catholic school and was there till Yr 4 when we started homeschooling. My daughter was still at school, but joined us at home a year later. Our main reason for homeschooling was class size. This is something I feel very strongly about as I taught sizes of varying classes and could see the enormous difference class size makes. A few years after we started homeschooling I had health problems and the children went to a parent-run community school with tiny classes. Please be very, very careful of small private schools!! The policy of the education department is that it is the parent's job to check that children are being taught. Bet you didn't know that! Despite two parent-run school boards bringing this school to the attention of authorities, it is still running and being funded by taxpayers' money. We are back to homeschooling with the 17 year old doing some Yr 12 work and some TAFE work. It is also possible to do TEE as a homeschooler and to follow that route to uni, which is probably what my daughter will do. One can also get to uni through TAFE or as a mature age student, once you turn 20. Lots of options available, so just keep looking for what best suits your family!



06/04/2010 - Mari Struthers
In reply to George for a school in Port Kennedy, Western Australia - my kids went to the Living Waters Luthern School in that area for a few years and we were very happy with the school.



06/04/2010 - Sharlene Striepe
Hi we sent our daughter aged 16 at the time to Maranatha christian college in Waikiki, rockingham area, we are very happy, they have childcare up to grade 12, so we managed to get a place in grade 11 at the time, she ended up Dux the first year she was there, but with alot of hard work and many late hours, if you are diligent and hardworking you will do ok. She will be doing grade 12 there this year, socially, kids are kids and you have to make friends , get involved in sports and other activities to make friends as soon as you arrive. It is a christian school, and there is a church right next to the school which I attend as well and am happy there so far. So another good school to look at, as well if you are moving to that area.



07/04/2010 - Diane
We arrived in Perth in April 2006 with a 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son. We came from East London, with both kids attending a single sex school which I rate as equal to the private schooling here. Good schooling was our main concern, and decided to "bite the bullet" and go private (Penrhos & Wesley). We thought our 13year old would battle to settle as it was a crucial year being a teenager. However she settled in very quickly and 4 years later has a wonderful set of friends. My son for the first 2 years battled and we seriously considered moving him, for all sorts of reasons. However, the last 2 years he has really settled in well and both our children have agreed that this is now home!. Having said all this, our observation on state as opposed to private schooling is as follows: There are some really good state schools in WA. However, there were no single sex state schools, and we knew that adjusting to a co-ed school would just not work for our kids. The whole issue on lack of decipline, no formal uniform, make up, hair, shoes etc, would have been too much change. Having said that, even in a private school, the respect for teachers is so different to how SA kids are brought up in school. The negative about a private school is that it is HUGELY expensive, and once they are in the school, they mix with other VERY INDULGED children, and your own children have this adjustment as well to cope with, that they may not always be on a equal level financially, and that mom and dad do not drop them off to school in a Porche - but they have been brought up well to appreciate what we are trying to achieve, and that it is not about "living up to the Jones's". My kids would not have it any other way. They have been brought up to accept that they perhaps cannot always have what other kids have, and realise that we have put ourselves out there to offer them the best possible education and opportunities possible, which we feel we are achieving.



07/04/2010 - Linda
Having been a Home-School family for 5 years both in Zimbabwe and Zambia, we felt the best option for our kids was to continue Home-Schooling (although our Son in Year 10 at the time opted to join a friend at the local Public High School). While Homeschooling is not without its challenges it did allow our children stability after years of challenge and change in Africa. My eldest son, now in year 12 has done extremely well in the Public School and in the local community. Although his school does have fairly good discipline, it wasn't as much as we were used to - but as one person commented, I too believe we are our children's primary educators, and need to constantly instill our values in them. My daughters and Pre-school son continue to home-school, now with the Distance Ed division of Australian Christian College, and from that place of security are continuing to make both Australian and African friends, as well as take part in community functions and sports.



07/04/2010 - Gideon Croukamp
Hi Cheryl, I think parents should follow up recommendations of schools on the website, as there are many very good schools. I am on the Southside in Brisbane and my kids went to John Paul College, which I can recommend, but please read their website.



07/04/2010 - Michelle Giuliani
Hi Cheryl we moved to Brisbane in Sept 08, at that time Danielle was in Grade 7 and Kurt Grade 9, both at a small Catholic school in Rustenburg. The biggest problem I found was finding a co-ed Catholic High School for them as most of the Catholic High Schools seem to be either for boys or girls. One look at Mt Maria College Enoggera and I was totally at peace with the school. It is probably one of the smaller high schools, and also co-ed. Danielle spent the last term of 2008 at the little Catholic Junior school, Our Lady of the Assumption, right next to Mt Maria Enoggera campus. The principal of OLA went out of his way to make her feel very welcome, even though she was only going to be at his school for 1 term. Both Kurt and Dani settled in very quickly, made lots of friends and are very happy with their school, the staff are fantastic and both of them are doing extremely well academically. I was a bit wary of moving an amost 15 yr old, but it was as if they went on holiday in the September holidays in SA and just carried on as normal when they started school here. The OP story was very new to us and we were thrown in the deep end with that, Kurt was also moved up a grade and will now be finishing school at the age of 16 and 11 months, something I am having more problems accepting than he is. The one thing I can say for Mt Maria is that is it so similar to what they were used to,that the move was no problem a all. Kurt's maths teacher is also from South Africa and some of the other teachers have either lived there or travelled there at some stage or other. I honestly believe that there is no "good" time to move the children, it just depends on the children themselves as to how they will cope. Dani is loving high school over here, the subject choices that she has compared to what she would have been able to do back in South Africa are so different and she cannot wait to get to school every day for the different subjects. She lives for dancing and is very lucky to be able to do it as an elective subject at school this year and what a pleasure for me not to have to worry about fitting in dancing after the normal school hours, between cooking and homework.



07/04/2010 - Tuffy
Hi All. My family and I will be relocating to Melbourne at the end of the year, and I need to find a school for an 08 year old and also a 05 year old. As the "bullying" factor concerns me greatly, I would prefer a private school with smaller classes. Any suggestions?



08/04/2010 - Annemarie
Hi Tuffy - I am working at a private school, Alphington Grammar School. If you are looking for a school with smaller classes then our school may just meet your needs. If you are interested, please forward me your details and I will mail out a DVD and prospectus.



08/04/2010 - Jacqueline Hendry (Croukamp)
Immigrated in Jan 04.Kids went to single sex private catholic schools in SA.We wanted to maintain the same standard here and put them into single sex private schools in Brisbane North.I have two girls,one in year 8 ,the other in year 10.they have had no problems.The school is great and they are very happy.On the other hand my son is in grade 10 in a private boys school on the North side.He has been bullied endlessly.My son is a gentleman ,for that he was pulled apart.Manners,morals and values are not well respected here amongst the high school kids ,it is not "cool". He stood his ground and has finally settled down to a good solid group of boys that all seem to have the same values.It has not been easy,I have wanted to move him on many occassions,but we stuck it out.Sadly,the bullies have been kids of teachers and police.I know that is a generalization,but they are the protected race.My advise to you is to do your homework on the principal.The school is only as good as its leader. Good luck.



10/04/2010 - E
We've been in Aus since 1997 and have tried all possible types of schooling. I used to teach high school, way back in the eighties. My son started pre-primary here in Perth at a Catholic school and was there till Yr 4 when we started homeschooling. My daughter was still at school, but joined us at home a year later. Our main reason for homeschooling was class size. This is something I feel very strongly about as I taught sizes of varying classes and could see the enormous difference class size makes. A few years after we started homeschooling I had health problems and the children went to a parent-run community school with tiny classes. Please be very, very careful of small private schools!! The policy of the education department is that it is the parent's job to check that children are being taught. Bet you didn't know that! Despite two parent-run school boards bringing this school to the attention of authorities, it is still running and being funded by taxpayers' money. We are back to homeschooling with the 17 year old doing some Yr 12 work and some TAFE work. It is also possible to do TEE as a homeschooler and to follow that route to uni, which is probably what my daughter will do. One can also get to uni through TAFE or as a mature age student, once you turn 20. Lots of options available, so just keep looking for what best suits your family!



10/04/2010 - Jurgen
Hello all !! This is a very informative site and I would like to thank you all for your comments. We will be arriving in Brisbane (from Cape Town) on 06 September 2010. Its going to be a tough adjustment but we feel that we are doing the right thing for our kids ( aged 6 & 8 ). Citipointe is Brisbane sounds like a good school - I assume that it is a private school ? What would it cost per child per month ? Looking forward to getting together with those of you who are in Brisbane when we arrive !!



13/04/2010 - Lieb/Celeste
Thanks for the informative blog. Can you please advise us on either public or private schools around Perth. Celeste will start year 10 when we arrive. Open for options and suburbs. Thanks



13/04/2010 - Tersia
Hi all We stay in Melbourne for nearly 2 years. I have a 7 and 3 year old. Being a primary school teacher myself I found it very difficult to get use to the Australian school system. The biggest issue for me was that we are worlds apart concerning discipline and Christianity. I did not even consider a state school, so my child goes to Plenty Valley Christian college. After a rough start he settled in very well. There are about 5 South-African Teachers at the school and they have been very helpful. Their class sizes are small and there are a couple of children from SA in the school. School fees are very exspensive but there is no compromise for your childs safety and happiness. They only take a limit amount of children so I had to enroll my 3 year old last year for Prep 2012. This is the best school in our area!



14/04/2010 - Elsabe
G'Day to you all! We immigrated in 2000 and I have been teaching in WA and currently in Sydney NSW. Started off in the Government system and changed to Independant Christian Schools. To make such a decision, one needs to take many issues in consideration. Our most important ones were our Dutch Reformed background with our Christian beliefs and Family values, School's Curriculum up to Yr 12 and affordable School fees according to our income. I would highly recommend Reformed Christian, Anglican, Presbitarian or Pentalcostal Schools. These Independant schools do have higher fees and their uniforms are more expensive than Government Schools, but there are so much more positive outcomes at such schools that make it worthwhile to enrol students at these schools. My experience is that the staff are "hand picked" during interviews and all staff is required to be proclaimed Christians. These schools aim to display a Christian Ethos on a daily base in the classroom, playground and local community. We strive to demonstrate a zero tollerance behaviour policy and Bullying will be seriously dealt with that can lead to students being expelled. Although the performance of the school depends mainly on the Principal and staff's commitment, the students are also working towards a peaceful learning environment while displaying positive attitude and great classroom behaviour. Dicipline starts at home as we all know and this is one of the reasons why South African families are willing to pay higher fees to ensure that Christian Schools will extend this dicipline during school hours in order to shape our children for the future and to give them opportunity to develop into fine young adults. Parents need to make sure that the Independant School of their choice will cater for all the subjects which their children want to take up to Yr 12 in order to qualify for TAFE or University or any College thereafter if needed to. Some new schools that do not exist for many years might provide only (basic) core subjects and sometimes students have to change schools getting to Year 10 to Year 12 when dealing with electives. Students in a Kindy to Yr 12 School benefit so much more social wise or academically, because they don't have to stress about leaving Primary, going into Senior school. I have witness over the past 8 years, how easily it has become for students to transform from Primary into Middle school and then onto Senior school where all 3 schools are operating on the same premises. The reasons for this is the fact that they know almost all the staff and are familiar with the "Buddy system" where Senior and Middle school students will be allocated to Primary classes to build a Buddy relationship with the younger students during the year. Weekly assemblies are a whole school event as well as any cultural or sports event. Senior students tends to look out for yonuger students and the young learn to respect the older students who act as role models to the young. Playground areas for Recess and Lunch times are allocated seperately with enough Staff on playground duty, before, during and after school. It would be wise to serve the internet and to seek "Christian Schools in WA, NSW, Qld ect." Wikepedia will come up with a whole list of schools in table format that will give the name, suburb, and City with each school's website for further detail. The age of a student is quite young in the schools compare to our South African standards. Some schools have a Prep class and taking students in from as young as 4 years old. Students will be forward to Kindy if they have met all requirements for the existing year and so forth. Therefore some students might be in a Year with classmates up to two years older than themselves. It depends on each individual student if he/she can cope accademically or socially and how much support parents are giving their children. If your child is an outgoing, self assured and a good learner, you don't need to be concerned about forward, "Skipping" a year and advance to the next year on your arrival. If the immigration process, cultural shock or language barrier will be to hard on your child, I would like to advise to enrol them in the Year that they need to start up with after completing the previous year in South Africa. Children are adapting the immigration process much quicker with ease, than adults. Make contact with the local community service to find new friends, seek for your nearest church family and become an active member, enrol the children in a sport at the various clubs. It will give the whole family an opportunity to meet more people. The schools are inviting parents to be actively involved and at the far run we all need the support groups in our community to fit in and to become great Aussie citizens ASAP!!! As a family, we have no regrets since our arrival and it is wonderful to witness the Spiritual, accademical and social growth in our children. They started off in Yr 3 in a small town called Narrogin, WA, with approximately 300 Catholic students and could barely speak English. We moved to Sydney where they were enrolled in Yr 6 at a K-12 Anglican College which have grown from 350 students to 1200 over 9 years. Both were elected as School council members and one became School Captain and was a finalist in the Australian Youth of the Year in 2008. The transaction into University were just as smooth as their school career. They are currently in their second year. One is studying double B-Law and Commerce degree and the other one Tourism Management. They both have part time jobs, which they attend to 3 days per week between 5 and 8 hours shifts (Waitress and swimming coach) Working at a pay rate of $35 per hour and earning a good income to support themselves and paying half of their monthly car payments.(Mum is paying the other half!) "Where there's a will,there's a way!" If we as parents commit ourselves to our childrens' education, we are investing in the most precious and valuable gift from God. We can only glorify God for His Grace and Mercy upon us... May God guide you in your decision making.



10/08/2011 - Bronwynn Nyschens
Hi all, We moved to Aus in Jul 2008 and have been in Melbourne but now moving to Perth. My son will be in grade 3/4, any recommendations of Christian schools north of Perth ( no further than Joondalup) please??? Would really appreciate info, Many thanks



 
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