Starting School in Australia
Filipino kids – The “buy one, take one” part of the package when you marry a Filipina girl who is a single mum. Plenty of single mothers in the Philippines, often left to raise the child when the former boyfriend decided to take the easy path and not share the responsibility. To many of us (ie I proudly married a single mother myself) this is an extra blessing. Twice as many to love!
But bringing kids from Philippines to Australia means changing schools. It means leaving the Philippines school and enrolling in an Australian school. Starting school in Australia is very different to school enrolment in the Philippines, yet most Filipina ladies assume the procedures are the same and are as inflexible as Philippines school enrolment and worry about the timing of partner visa grants. Some will even want to delay their children coming to Australia from Philippines and will consider opting for a Dependent Child Visa instead all because of school years. Yet starting school in Australia is a much simpler process, where the emphasis is on making the process easy and smooth for the Filipino child’s transition.
Australian Schools for Filipino Children
Australian schools are a wonderful surprise for most Filipino kids, because there is less pressure on them. They don’t have to study hard and memorise things for monthly examinations, because monthly exams don’t exist in Australia. There is never school on Saturday. And school days are shorter than they are in Philippines. No starting school at 7:00am or finishing at 4:30 – 5:00pm. Their English will improve drastically, and they will find nice friendly kids who will welcome a new student from another country.
And you will find the system you deal with and the teachers themselves more flexible and approachable, all of which will make school life less of a stressful ordeal for your children.
Does School Enrolment Time Matter?
No, it does not. Many a Filipina lady with children worries about what will happen if the kids don’t re-enroll in April so that they properly finish a school year and have an easy transition to a new school year without any problems. In Australia this does not matter. You may enrol your children anytime at all. You may enrol the a month before the Australian school ends, or you may enrol then in August. They will not repeat a year because they did not finish that year at the right time.
Most importantly, you need to understand that visas are grants and not rights. We cannot plan a partner visa grant to fit in with a Filipino school year. Even if it DID matter what time of year you enrolled your children in school in Australia (which it does NOT), we can’t tell the Department or the Embassy in Manila when they must grant a visa. It will happen when it happens. It may be early, or it may be late. You must work around this, and school enrolment must also work around this.