It seems like forever ago that we were choosing a school down under for our 4 year old.
I guess it was to a degree. All the way back in February 2006, we researched schools in Australia and visited what was then to become the first school our son would attend when we arrived permanently in Australia (You can read the associated blog post about the visit and our thoughts on the matter here).
As we were new to Australia, our strategy to find a school in Australia was, at the time, a very simple one.
- Take a long four week holiday in Australia to use as a rekkie.
- Identify suburbs that ‘looked nice’.
- Research schools in those suburbs that ‘seemed nice’.
- Make an appointment with the school.
- Do a tour.
- Fill in an application form.
- Tick the ‘find a school in Australia’ box.
Thankfully our approach seems to have worked pretty well with Junior (and now Junior number 2) going on to enjoy many a happy year at Pre-school, Kindi and now ‘Big Boy School’.
In hindsight though, we were pretty lucky. Having lived in Australia for a number of years now I’ve realised that Australia, like many other countries around the world, have Schools which vary in their level of performance.
This could range from being out of this world to damn right average. With all this ticking along at the back of my mind, I thought I’d write this article to provide some advice and tips on identifying the most appropriate schools in Australia.
Finding a School in Australia
It’s safe to say that finding a school in Australia is now a much easier task than it was when I moved to Australia back in 2006.
In many cases, the internet now makes life so much easier and in 2010, the Australian federal government, in an effort to make finding a school in Australia an easier task launched a website called Myschool.
From the blurb on the website:
The My School website profiles around 9,500 Australian schools. It provides information on the type of school, its enrolments, attendance rates, staff numbers, and information about the student population.
A commentary about each school is provided by the school.
The My School website allows parents and the community to see how well a school has performed, on average, in national literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) tests and compare this performance with statistically similar schools, and schools across the nation.
NAPLAN tests are conducted in May each year with all students in the same year level (years 3, 5, 7 and 9) across Australia are assessed using the same tests.
With five years of test results now available, My School allows parents, educators and the community to track the performance of students in NAPLAN tests over time.
So in short, the My School website enables you to browse and compare the performance ‘scores’ of each school with the scoring metric being the average NAPLAN scores for students at that school. It also enables you to gain a broader understanding of the learning environments and performance of schools in the local community where the school is located, as well as within their state or territory and across the nation.
The My School website also provides details of the number of students, the school type, the year range of the students, the location (helpful) the school staffing numbers and a whole host of other very useful stuff.
It’s odd that now the funfair of the launch has died down the site is no longer actively marketed. So much so that I only found the site myself whilst researching for this article! I’m glad that I found it and I hope this article and the My School website makes selecting a suitable school for your own kids, that little bit easier.
I’ve had a good browse through the My School website and as a whole, I have to say I’m pretty impressed. It’s comforting to know that my kids appear to be amongst good company and the teachers appear to be working well to help the kids at my son’s school achieve on average, better than average results :)
Remember though to use it as a guide though. Speak to people in the local area, do the tours and make a fully informed decision before making that very important call.
To a successful move down under!