How to fast track the school enrolment process when relocating

Moving house can be an exciting, but stressful, endeavour. When a family has school-aged children, this stress can be compounded ten-fold: what if a suburb may be practically perfect for the adult members of a family, but there are no appropriate schools nearby?

Chicken and the egg

So what comes first, the new school or the new house?
In a perfect world, these could be considered hand-in-hand, but the traditional enrolment procedures of many private schools can make things tricky.
These procedures are not set up in order to make things difficult, of course. For example, some schools only tend to enrol new students in certain years, such as Year 5, Year 7 or Year 10. Other schools give preference to children from families of past and current students, or have waitlists so long that preference is given to those students who have been on the list since birth.

You can’t control the property market
No matter how well-organised you are, there are still some things out of your control.
Housing prices and availability are one of those things; what if there aren’t any houses for sale or lease close to your preferred schools, or they are all far too expensive?
While government schools have fairly well-defined catchment areas based on geographical location, independent schools don’t, so sending a child to a private school a little further away is possible – if you can get a place.

Commuting options
Every Australian school student is entitled to the use of either free or heavily discounted public transport to and from school (it’s free in NSW and the NT). The vast majority of independent schools are close to buses, trains and other public transport. If your preferred school is not near a public transport hub, many schools have shuttle services available from the nearest transport hubs to the school.
But is the child willing to spend two hours a day commuting, having to change transport modes halfway? Are the services reliable and regular, or does the timetable not match up well to the school’s schedule?
A child’s age, previous experience (or lack thereof) of commuting to school and any before- or after-school extracurricular activities also impact this decision. Parents may be able to use a mix of public transport, car-pooling with other parents and driving the children to or from school themselves on certain days.

Finding that elusive vacancy
While it is possible to find solutions to problems like distance and transport, sometimes the trickiest speed bump to navigate is enrolment itself. Some schools aren’t very forthcoming regarding the true state of their vacancies. While this is frustrating at the best of times, it’s decidedly unhelpful if your enquiry is being made purely to quickly determine if the area being considered for relocation is a viable option.
This is where School Places can help.
School Places partners with over 130 private schools across Australia who have loaded their vacancies into the backend of the School Places website. All you have to do is discuss the family’s needs with a School Places Customer Service Representative who will then present the available options that best match their requirements.
Because School Places has built direct relationships with the Registrars of these schools, if they match you to a school that doesn’t currently have a vacancy loaded in the year level you require, they’ll request one directly from the Registrar. They’ll be able to tell you within 24 hours if there’s a spot available at the school.
So next time you’re dreading the multiple phone calls to schools, the chasing up of enrolment opportunities that aren’t actually available…just make the one phone call; to School Places.

About School Places
School Places ( is a two sided marketplace that connects families who are searching for a private school enrolment with real time vacancies that meet their needs.
It’s as simple as:
• Tell us your needs – including budget, the sort of school you’re looking for, the year level required, and which intake year you’d like your child to start in.
• Compare options – We’ll provide you with options at schools who have spots available right now.
• Vacancy request – If we match you to a school that doesn’t currently have a vacancy loaded for the year level you’re after, we’ll request one through a fully automated process that links directly with the school’s Registrar
• Register your details – Just looking? Register your search criteria with School Places and we’ll keep you posted each time a school loads a vacancy that matches what you’re after. You don’t need to make a move until you’ve found the perfect spot for your child.
• Claim a vacancy – We’ll hold the vacancy while you meet with the school. When you’re ready to enrol, the school will take it from there. Or if you decide it’s not the right fit, we’ll release the vacancy and do our best to find you something else.

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