While the major news headlines of the past fortnight have been very focused around Trump and the North Korea situation, there have been a few interesting education articles you may have missed. Catch up below!
This is a conundrum I face at present. For various reasons, we are not entirely sure where we will be living in the next year or two – which makes planning school for young Joey and Lambkin hard! But we have a rough idea of possible locations.
One potential location is in the greater Brisbane area. So far in my research, I have found a Montessori school that sounds like a great fit for our family. The major issue is, if we live close to that school, we will be a substantial distance from hubby’s work. The best case scenario is living in a suburb that puts us about 30 minutes from school, 40 minutes from work.
This begs the question –
Is a 30 minute drive to school too long?
I don’t even know yet how much peak hour traffic affects this route. Perhaps it’s even longer!
If you live in a rural area and have no other choice, you may have to put your kids on a school bus for an hour long trip to school. In the city, however, an optional hour long round-trip twice per day through city traffic is a big commitment.
Just jotting these pros and cons down, I can already see that the cons likely outweigh any great benefits the school can provide. Do I love the Montessori framework enough to accept the drawbacks? Is there a closer school that would suffice? Back to the research I go!
I am curious – what would you do? What have you done? How far would you travel for an amazing school?
Do you know what age your child is meant to start school? Surprisingly, the laws vary between states! Some are flexible and you may have a choice which year your child starts, whilst in other states the laws are quite strict on which year your child must start school.
Of course, the topic of school starting age is a heavily debated topic at present, with many believing Australian children are starting formal education much too young. A topic I will go into depth in a later post! In the meantime, check out what the current laws for your state are below.
Try not to get too confused by the names – depending which state you are in, the first year of school may be called Prep, Kindergarten, Pre-Primary or Reception!
Kindergarten – Children must be 5 years of age by 30th April in the year they commence.
It is compulsory to be in school by age 6.
Further info here and here from the ACT Government Education Directorate
Kindergarten – Children can start if they turn 5 on or before 31st July. Some parents will choose to wait until the following year.
It is compulsory for children to be enrolled in school by their 6th birthday.
Further info available at NSW Education
Preschool (optional) – Children must be 4 by the 30th June. In remote areas, children may commence preschool at age 3 with parental supervision until 3.5 years.
Transition (optional) – Children must be 5 years of age by the 30th June.
All children must be enrolled in school from the age of 6.
Further info here from the Northern Territory Government
Prep – Children must be 5 years of age by 30th June. Delaying by a year is allowed, and they must be in school by 6 years 6 months.
From 2017, children must do Prep prior to Year 1 (previously some families chose to skip the Prep year)
Further info from Queensland Government Preparing For Prep
Preschool (optional) – children must be 4 years of age by the 1st May.
Reception – children must be 5 years of age by 1st May.
All children must be in school by their 6th birthday.
Further info at South Australian Government School Life
Kindergarten (optional) – the year prior to Prep, for those who have turned 4 by the 1st January.
Prep - Children must start full-time schooling if they are 5 years by the 1st January.
Further info available at Tasmanian Government School Information for Parents
Prep – Children can start if they are 5 years of age by 30th April. Delaying until the following year is allowed.
It is compulsory to be at school in the year they turn 6.
Further info from Victoria State Government Education and Training
Kindergarten (optional) – children must be 4 years old by 30th June in the year they commence
Pre-Primary (compulsory) – children start pre-primary if they will be be 5 years old by 30th June. It is very uncommon for children to be allowed to delay to the following year.
Further info here from the Department of Education WA
Homeschooling is legal in all Australian states. While each state has their own rules and regulations around home education, generally families will need to register their home education intent and plan by compulsory ages (similar to above – usually around 6 years). I will explain this further in later blog posts.
What do you think of your state's laws? Surpised by how different they all are? Have you moved interstate and found the differences impacted your child? Comment below.
I aim to keep this blog updated with the latest in school news, particularly subjects that are of direct concern to parents. In this week’s news:
Please let me know below if you have come across any other important stories that you think other parents need to hear.
Parenting these days is full of choices, decisions and crossroads.
From the very second you announce you are pregnant the questions start – are you going to find out the sex? Where are you giving birth? What is your birth plan? Will you breastfeed? What furniture/pram/car seat are you buying? And so on.
Then the baby arrives. Now there are questions around feeding, sleep training, routines, where your baby should sleep, babywearing versus prams, should you do baby swimming lessons, should you join a mothers group, whose opinion should you trust on all the articles popping up on your facebook feed, do you want to go back to work, what care options should you then use for baby etc etc. It never stops! Many parents spend many hours discussing parenting styles, feeding choices, childcare choices etc at great length.
But how much thought is given to education?
Depending on what state you are in, from somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6, you send your little one off into school for a huge portion of their waking hours for the next 12-14 years!
For many people, the default option is their local government (“public”) school, especially if they are in an area with strict zoning laws. If they are lucky, they may live in an area where they have a choice between a few different public schools.
But how many families really choose their school? Does everyone know all of the alternatives available? There are more options out there than most people realise, though the information can be tricky to find. Or perhaps some options are automatically ruled out due to the stigma – it’s hard to be the first person in your family to choose a Steiner school, or to homeschool, or anything different to the same private school that all your cousins attend!
I did my entire schooling through public schools and thrived in that system. Yet as an adult I thought I should send my kids to a Catholic school (based on husband’s extended family) or a private school (based on my work colleague’s choices). It was only once we set out and really investigated things that we discovered that a Montessori school or homeschooling might actually be great options for us. Options that our friends didn’t even know existed.
My hope is that this blog will help to open your eyes to some of the options that exist that you may not have yet encountered or considered. Over the coming weeks and months I will be adding all the handy hints and tips I wish someone had given me when I first started researching schools!
In the meantime, I am curious to know – do you think that families you know have consciously chosen their school options? Or do your friends, family, neighbours etc all just stick with a standard choice (be that public, private, religious, etc)? Leave your comments below!
A mum of two trying to find her way through the Australian school system.