Choosing the right high school for your teenager when immigrating to Australia

Education & Development Blog

Australia has a great education system, and it's definitely a drawcard for many people coming to Australia. However, there are still some choices to make when you do come. Here are some things to consider as you plan your move and think about some of the schooling options for your teenager. 

Public schooling

Australian permanent residents and citizens are entitled to free education through to year 12 in the public education system. These schools generally cater to anyone within a given 'catchment area', which are all the permanent residents and citizens living within a marked zone of houses. These catchment areas are marked out by the Education Department and are usually displayed on the school websites. Public schooling is technically free; however, between stationery lists, additional fees for some specialist classes and uniform costs, many parents incur costs of up to $4000 per year for high school students in the public sphere. If the parents are not permanent residents, schools can also charge a higher 'international student' fee. 

Schools will accept out of zone applicants; however, many of the best performing schools receive a lot of applications and may not have enough room for all applicants. It can be useful to research some of the other programs that schools run, including specialist arts, language, sporting and academic programs that allow out of zone students to enter into dedicated programs. These can offer an alternative entrance to popular schools. 

Private schooling

There are two main types of private schools: those which have a religious specialisation and those which have a specific education philosophy. These schools can choose which students they take in and usually have an application process. They can charge a range of fees, which at the low end can be a few hundred dollars a year up to many thousands of dollars on the high end. Again there are additional costs on top of the fees, including book fees, stationery and uniform costs. These fees are the same for local and international students. 

Some of the more popular and prestigious private schools have extensive waiting lists and often favour the children of previous alumni. It can be very challenging for new students to move up the list, so it can be worth contacting the school to ask both about their waiting lists and which criteria they use when selecting students. 

Choosing the best high school for your child depends on their interests, your budget and the area you are living in. Your teenager will be able to achieve good results in any school, but to achieve the best results both academically and emotionally, it can be important for them to be in the most supportive high school environment. 

For more information, browse the websites of different schools in the area you're interested in, like, or contact the schools directly. 


7 March 2016

Helping gifted children blossom

My children are so smart that I struggle to deal with their questions. Having gifted and talented children brings a whole new range of challenges to parenting so I am starting a blog to connect to other parents with gifted and talented children. I want to talk about how we can stimulate their thirst for learning in and out of the school environment, as well as talking about the particular challenges for Australian parents of gifted and talented children navigating the school system. We can all learn from each other and help to make sure the education system works for our children too.