Schools in Australia: Same or Different?

In the last year, we have been very busy learning about the similarities and differences of educational settings in the UK compared to Australia. We have had a lot of fun finding our way around these systems because my children are all at different stages of their educational career (early years, primary, and secondary schools) and I work in schools too!

I have asked the children to write down similarities and differences…all their own thoughts and feelings! Well for the early years part, I observed closely! and my little one has also told me how he feels about a few things…of course this is based on our experiences and could be different depending on the educational settings…

  Same Different
Early Years similar early years ‘curriculum’ guidance and motto in terms of promoting self-confidence, a sense of belonging, etc. ‘As a parent, I really miss the key worker approach. It has been tricky to determine who to speak to, particularly when my child had a harder time to settle. Similarly, at the end of the day, there does not seem to be much handover.’

‘E. has mentioned on a number of occasions how he appreciates a male worker at the childcare centre.’

3 and 4 years old have a sleep during the day. Lights out, sleep on mats, with blankets and music. It has thrown E. as he had not slept at childcare for a long time. It took him a while to adapt to that and it really affected his sleep at night. He sleeps much better now that he is out of this routine.’

Primary School ‘Homework same amount as in the UK’ ‘Work was a lot harder in the UK, but here easier’

‘You have lunch in your classroom or outside so it is a little bit different as in the UK you can have hot dinner in the hall’

‘We do more fun homework, but every piece of homework is fun for me because I love school’

‘My school is a lot bigger in Australia, 650 students compared to 120 students in the UK.’

‘Where my school is, it’s surrounded by trees and bushes, as in the UK, it was a little bit in the woods and close to the beach.’

‘International Baccalaureate Primary School which is very different in terms of curriculum. I enjoy all the units of inquiry and we do lots of project based work.’

‘Teachers often team teach. There are no teacher aids in classes, definitely not in all classrooms.’

‘classes have a max of 24 students.’

‘At my school, we have multi-age which means that Reception/Prep to Y2 are all in classes together.’

‘There is music before the bells, or often no bells at all, just music to let us know to back to class.’

Secondary School ‘Homework similar amount’

‘Recess and lunches are fun’

‘1 or 2 teachers I don’t like as much’

‘Similar friendship group’

‘Similar size school between 1200-1500 students’

‘It has felt like a recap at school in terms of learning’

‘People are using lockers in Australia. they did not at my old school.’

‘There seems to be a difference how they treat Y7 and Y8 students in Australia. it is more like primary school years. We have teachers that are our tutors and teach us all core subjects such as English and Maths and these two teachers often take us in big groups, they team teach too.’

‘Timetables are a bit different: in the UK 7 subjects/day and in AU 5 subjects a day max., lessons are longer but days here are  a bit shorter’

‘School seems much more sport driven.’

‘it feels like there is more project work.’

‘I have a longer commute to and from school. I walk and take a bus.’

In terms of my thoughts around schools…I feel there are many similarities, but also many differences that I have enjoyed discovering. For example, I particularly enjoy the music getting to class, and the gardens surrounding all the schools I visit. Most schools feel so much more spacious in terms of indoor and outdoor space. This also brings different issues in terms of travelling to and from schools, particularly in more rural communities. Many schools have communal areas for children to work at their ease. There seems to be a number of sporting activities taking place throughout the year too. Overall, I have felt that schools tend to be much more relax, not so much pressure on performance, more enjoyment and easy atmosphere and ethos.



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