Do private schools in Sydney also have an age cutoff? How much does tuition cost at a private school?

Today’s email is from a parent moving to Parramatta from India and considering sending his Kindergartener to a private primary school instead of a public school due to the age cutoff.

Today’s Email

I am finding that schools in Parramatta are not considerate of the cut-off or location putting me in a very difficult situation whether I will be able to secure a public school (Kindy) for my daughter next year (Jan 2016).

My daughter could perhaps start school next year at age 5 (she is just 22 days over the cut-off but is in the second year of formal education in India – Nursery and Lower KinderGarten).

The schools near my suburb (Parramatta) are not accepting due to age cut-off criteria not being met, but schools in other suburbs are willing if I can move closer, but it’s not a guarantee. Not sure whether to move to Parramatta as we originally planned and apply subsequent year, Jan 2017.

I did mention she could take up an assessment for consideration. I contacted schools via phone. Not sure if talking to the Principal or Director would be rather helpful.

What are your suggestions?

Also wondering about the approximate costs of private schools in Sydney?

Lauren’s Reply

It’s hard to say how much private schools are in Sydney. The range is very broad. For example, for private Catholic Schools in Sydney, the lowest is $5,000 a year, same as tuition at a public school for 457 visa holders, and the most expensive I’ve heard of so far is $33,000 a year.

Many private schools also have fees for the student application plus an entrance fee that can be as much as $5,000.

Be sure to ask about additional fees when you start inquiring as an entrance fee of $5,000 would be a big surprise.

Here’s a link to private schools in the Parramatta region. You’ll notice that it’s Parramatta plus surrounding regions.

Since you are not looking at a government-run school, you do not have to worry about the school zone but you will have to figure out a way to get your daughter to school and home. Many school children take public transport in Sydney which is something you may need to consider when looking for a place to live in Parramatta. Maybe map out her route then focus on the areas that are the easiest to commute from.

As far as age cutoff, here is a comment from someone who works in a public school in Sydney on the Schools in Sydney Post helped clarify another person’s question about kindergarten age in NSW.

“It would be extremely rare for any school to take a child into Kindergarten who had not turned 5 by July 31. The family would need to present a psychologist’s report outlining that the child is socially advance for their age. They would also need to get an IQ/psychometric test that indicates that the child is highly gifted. Remember, that many people wait until their child is nearly 6 or even 6 before sending them to kindergarten, and putting a just four-year-old into that mix is really not a good idea.”

Of course, things at a private school could be different but they usually follow the state’s guidelines as far as age cutoffs.

If you feel strongly about your child starting school at age 5, then you might want to get those test done now to have them on hand when you start contacting schools.

It sounds like you have already started contacting schools, even calling them from India. Not sure if this is the same for private schools, but government run schools that accept international students usually have an international student coordinator. When you call or email, try asking for the coordinator instead of the director or principal as they will probably have more specific info for you.

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