Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Queensland School System and the way it's working with Lion

There have been a few comments relating to how the school system works here and how we are working it so I might just do a quick post to answer them all at once...

This is only for Queensland, they are trying to streamline all the states and territories to come under the one system but so far we aren't there.

Feel free to not read this if you just don't care because it's not all that exciting :)

  • Our school year is January to December. You start a new grade in January and finish in December.
  • The first year is prep then 1 through 12
  • You can start prep if you turn 5 before July of the year you start. Ummmm... kids starting prep 2009 will have to turn 5 between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009.
  • Many schools offer pre-prep the year before and a lot of places that were once off campus pre-schools are now "pre-preps"
  • Before that is just daycare but we have called it Kindy for Lion and will continue to call it kindy even though he is "pre-prep" age.
  • Only grades 1-10 are compulsory
  • Prep is flexible, state schools will not start a child early but will let them wait a year if their parents feel they are not up to it. Private schools will start a child a year ahead but only if you are really really really special or something like that.
  • Years 11 and 12 are required if you want to get into university (along with certain subjects but I assume that is like anywhere) but most kids continue to year 12 even if they aren't going to uni.

The old system was a year of kindy (usually a couple of days a week) the year you turned 4 (like, the January to December year) if your parents wanted. A year of pre-school (couple of days same as kindy) the year you were 5 if your parents wanted then you started grade 1 the year you turned 6 and it was compulsory schooling from then on.

So Lion went to daycare that we called kindy for one day a week last year because he was so inquisitive and seemed ready for learning that I couldn't keep up with at home. He is going to daycare that we will still call kindy for 2 days a week this year and wants to go more than that but mummy couldn't cope. I asked around about the pre-prep programs and then asked his kindy teacher what the older group did and if he would be missing out on anything and she said that it's pretty much the same but the kindy needs to be more flexible with class ages and sizes. They use curriculum based learning and encourage them to start reading and writing (which a lot of pre-preps don't do) but are more flexible with learning through play because it is still "just" a daycare. And I can have a certain amount of choice as to how often he goes unlike friends with pre-prep kids who got to choose a 2 or 3 day week Monday-Tuesday or Wednesday through Friday. Next year he will go into prep. I don't want to loose him all week long, it's making me sad thinking about it now *sniff*. I know I cant hold him back but I want him home with me. He's going to be in the older half of his class as it is with his birthday in October, I think it'll be good.


  1. Ok. At first this comment was dreadfully long... I started trying to explain how different the QLD school system is from the one here, but decided that it might just be better to blog about it, but then thought, "I only have about 5 readers outside of the U.S. They would be the one ones slightly interested in reading about it." So, after all of that I decided that I could always just e-mail you... so, that's what I'll do. :)

    **AND... I found this post VERY interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. *we aren't streamlined yet because the states are stubborn. This new system is Qld's half-hearted attempt.

    I don't like this new business of going straight into full-time prep, so I should really start thinking about pre-prep/kindy sometime soon to ease Ralph into it the year before - if we do go down the conventional school path.

    But if Lion's going to prep next year, I've still got two whole years to consider it. Phew.

  3. Yeah, I didn't like the age-change thing regarding prep, nor the full-time thing. I was born at the very end of December and I coped just fine :P

  4. Just a note on starting prep a year later (sorry to be a stick in the mud) - As prep is not compulsory, schools do not have enough places for all children to attend prep (pathetic isn't it!) You may be able to start your child later at prep, but you run the risk of the school bumping them up to grade one if they need the place for a child that falls within the July-June birthdays for that year.

    Schools (at least state schools, I can't speak much for private ones) are making it more and more difficult for a child to stay back a year. Nearly as difficult as for a child to be accelerated. They find that children that are older than the other kids in their grade can be detrimental for the development of the individual child and the other children in that grade level (or at least that is what they are claiming).

    I'm not a big fan of prep instead of pre-school either, but at least now there is a curriculum so all kids (that can get a place, that is) should start with the same learning opportunities. Preschools could vary so much from one class to another even within the same school.

    I don't like the whole day thing and my babies are born in May and June so they will be doing five full days of week at school from 4 years of age (sniff sniff). I don't understand why they have done the July to June thing either, and because of the change over there must be only half the number of students in the year that it all changed.

    Anyway, enough from me . . . sorry, long comment.

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