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Education in Australia

embraceaustraliaadmin | Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Australia's education is world class

Australia's education is world class

Thinking of moving to Australia? If relocating involves bringing the little ones then take a look at this quick guide to schools down under.

The Australian education system is similar to that of the UK, with school life starting at kindergarten at the age of 4 or 5 depending on which state you are looking in followed by 12 years of primary and secondary education. At the end of secondary school you can take an exam which will give you a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, a certificate which is recognised by all Australian universities and vocational training institutions as well as many international universities.

This certificate has a lot in common with the American SAT system where every student’s chances of attending university rest almost entirely on achieving one grade.

As with the UK, Australian States have control over the funding of their schools however there also private sector schools which charge fees and are usually affiliated with religious institutions, catholic schools for example make up around two thirds of all private schools. 

The school system varies little from one state to another, of course funding is directed toward different areas however the ages for enrolment and the general quality of teaching does not really differ.

The school year is divided into terms which run from January until December with a long break over Christmas (remember that in Australia Christmas is during the summer). The school day varies but generally starts at 9am and finishes at 3.30 pm Monday to Friday.

It is an exciting time to be starting school in Australia because while schools in the UK are undergoing money saving reforms including a huge cut in funding which will see fewer teaching jobs and a cut in modernization programs in order to tackle the national deficit, Australia has no such problems.

There is a spending program called Building the Education Revolution which is a $16.2 billion investment in Australia’s school system and is the largest element of the $42 billion National Building Economic Stimulus Plan. 

There are three elements to the Building and Education revolution (BER), the first of which is $14.1 billion allocated to the Primary Schools for the 21st Century program. In this element of the program funding has been approved for 10,521 projects in 7942 schools. This includes refurbishments and upgrading of facilities.

The second element is the $821.8 million Science and Language Centres for 21st Secondary Schools which has allocated funding for the construction of new laboratories and language centres in 537 schools.

The third element is the $1.28 billion National School Pride program which has allocated funding for 12,680 projects in 9483 schools to include the upgrading of outside areas including both learning areas and sports grounds.

Those moving to Australia will find the transition easy as the Australian curriculum is very similar to that of the UK. It is based around 8 core subjects; English, Languages other than English, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, Studies of Society and the Environment, The Arts and Technology.

In Australia Secondary School or High School as it is generally called begins at the age of 12 and finishes at the age of 16 followed by two years of college. A student can leave education at 16 however they will be encouraged to complete their higher education unless they have a particular career path in mind which will not be complemented by further education.1311428_beach

Because of Australia’s long sunshine hours there is almost always a wide range of extracurricular activities for students to take part in. These include the obvious; Aussie Rules Football (a game that is somewhere between football and rugby), Cricket and water sports.

In order to move down under with your family you will need to apply for a Family Visa which can encompass a number of family set ups. Of course your children will not factor into your eligibility, the primary factor will be your career so make sure you check the up-to-date jobs list.  

Still having trouble deciding? Consider this; Australia has a 99 percent literacy rate which is on par with the UK. Australia has considerably more sunshine over the course of the year, crime rates are generally very low, job prospects are good as the economy is booming and Australia was rated one of the most desirable places to live in the world with a high quality of life, life expectancy, economic mobility, education, health care and human rights.

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