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AIS, Avondale or Chatsworth?

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sunnydebruyn
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AIS, Avondale or Chatsworth?

Post by sunnydebruyn » Wed, 14 May 2014 8:52 pm

Hi, we're about to move to Sing from Aus and while researching schools I have found so much conflicting info - and some of it quite old (2009 etc). Can anyone give me their personal experience/comparison of AIS, Chatsworth and Avondale? I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old. Really confused! Any advice appreciated.

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Post by aster » Wed, 14 May 2014 10:00 pm

If you're looking at the Australian school system (if you're going back after Sing then this might be important to you) then Avondale is by far the best choice.

What are your priorities? Specific school system? Having your child pick up Mandarin while she's here?

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Post by sunnydebruyn » Thu, 15 May 2014 9:09 am

Hi aster, thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me!

I know AIS and Avondale are very different schools so it's kind of tricky to compare them like for like I guess. Firstly, I am sure they are completely different simply because of the size difference, which I understand is around 3000 students for AIS and around 300 for Avondale.

I guess the most important things for me are just that it is a high-quality school with good resources/facilities, a great environment, caring/nurturing teachers, great school community feel and sense of school spirit, fun/inspiring atmosphere and just a general environment of happy, well-rounded kids who are being encouraged to love learning.

I know it sounds kind of vague, but I just want them to be in a really 'nice' school! One with a good atmosphere, a good balanced curriculum and a lovely happy vibe amongst teachers and also the families at the school.

To be more specific, I guess a high quality of teachers and a high staff retention rate is a good indicator so that would be important.

Re the school system, we would ideally want the kids to be in a school that follows the Aus curriculum to make transition easier when we do move back to Sydney, and also so that our school holidays coincide with the ones back home for when we fly back to Sydney for visits.

Oh, another thing is I want all my kids on the same campus, not at different locations. I have a 6 year old, 4 year old and 1 year old.

Academic quality is obviously important, but equally important to me are the offering of and quality of the 'fun' things such as art, drama, sport, languages, etc. My kids are only little (6 years and 4 years) so I want them to be enjoying a lot of play-based learning and investigative learning as opposed to just being drilled academically and given mounds of homework etc.

I had thought perhaps that AIS might be a little overwhelming for my little ones because they are so young and it's so big? Thoughts on this anyone?

I have also heard/read that re facilities (classrooms, classroom equipment, technology, sports facilities, music/drama facilities, playgrounds etc) that Avondale is quite poor, and AIS is outstanding. Comments anyone?

Any advice warmly welcome! Rather overwhelming, and difficult as we won't be able to go over for a 'look see' or orientation visit before we make a decision. We arrive in Sing at the end of June so we obviously want to have schools confirmed for a start date of July 14 (start Term 3).

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Post by dandamakem » Sun, 18 May 2014 4:52 am

Following! Fellow Syd gal legging it to Sing for 3 yr secondment with Yr 9 girl (AIS for sure for her) but in same quandry for Yr 4 girl..... leaning towards Avondale as smaller. Ugh, getting a migraine working all this out! LOL

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Post by aster » Mon, 19 May 2014 2:08 am

Easy choice if you ask me, especially if you narrow down the selection to this particular curriculum.

If you are moving back to Australia after Singapore then it does make sense to keep your child in this school system, especially if he or she is 7+ and cannot enter the local school system at P1 level.

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Post by dandamakem » Mon, 19 May 2014 7:50 am

Thanks Aster...... Yeah the hardcore "rote" style of learning at local schools just wouldn't work for youngest. Shame coz be a HELLUVA lot cheaper!! :shock:

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Post by sunnydebruyn » Mon, 26 May 2014 6:32 pm

So as an update, we've ruled out AIS because it is just too expensive.

If we live on the east coast we'll go for OWIS or Eton House (Chatsworth no longer an option as they're full and have waiting list).

If we live west of the city (Holland perhaps??) we'll go for Nexus or Avondale.

We don't fly over until July 13 so I'm going to have to tour all 4 schools in one day when we get there and make a choice. So tough!!!!

I think first preference would be Avondale simply because it follows the Aus curriculum.

Please share anything that will help the decision...

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Post by dandamakem » Mon, 26 May 2014 6:40 pm

Mate if you work it out could you please let me know! Our car and all passports stolen so our planned allimatisation trip for mid-June now cancelled as just can't get there. Permanent move third week July and no idea if I can even commit to schools till my kids see them. Gahhhhh. Don't envy you though with 4 in one day....get that wine on ice early doors I say! Best of luck lovely and please update this thread won't you, will be watching closely. x

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Post by sunnydebruyn » Mon, 26 May 2014 6:49 pm

dandamakem wrote:Mate if you work it out could you please let me know! Our car and all passports stolen so our planned allimatisation trip for mid-June now cancelled as just can't get there. Permanent move third week July and no idea if I can even commit to schools till my kids see them. Gahhhhh. Don't envy you though with 4 in one day....get that wine on ice early doors I say! Best of luck lovely and please update this thread won't you, will be watching closely. x
Oh no that's awful dandamakem!! So sorry! Where on earth do you live that your car and passports got stolen? I am thinking Johannesburg simply because that's where I lived for years!

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Post by sunnydebruyn » Mon, 26 May 2014 6:51 pm

dandamakem wrote:Mate if you work it out could you please let me know! Our car and all passports stolen so our planned allimatisation trip for mid-June now cancelled as just can't get there. Permanent move third week July and no idea if I can even commit to schools till my kids see them. Gahhhhh. Don't envy you though with 4 in one day....get that wine on ice early doors I say! Best of luck lovely and please update this thread won't you, will be watching closely. x
... although, some parts of Sydney can feel a bit rough too - though not quite as bad as Johannesburg! One things for sure, you'll feel pretty safe once you do eventually get to Sing - and I'm sure your odds of not getting your car stolen are some of the best in the world there!

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Post by dandamakem » Mon, 26 May 2014 7:20 pm

Left in carpark in sleepy Collaroy (Northern Beaches). Only in boot as husband needed to take all to Immigration Lawyers to commence visa stuff for MOM. Plonker husband should have left briefcase in office given contents - now all gone. Gah!!! He's flying to UK this Friday to get new one (on "Emergency Travel Document") so role in Sing not jeapordised.
What.a.freaking.week! :/

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Post by Ada Glitter » Wed, 28 May 2014 12:55 am

My 7 year old son has been at Avondale since April last year. He settled in well, made good friends and has thrived in the classroom. We chose Avondale over AIS as it was similar in size and "feel" to his school back in Sydney. I suppose it was a gut feeling more than anything else. I realise that AIS has flashier facilities than Avondale, but we felt they weren't necessary at his stage of schooling.

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Post by Chantikki » Thu, 29 May 2014 9:02 am

Regarding the schools, OWIS is surrounded by major construction. My opinion would be the best picks from your choices might be Avondale.
Be prepared to see much smaller sized school grounds than you are used to in your home country.

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Post by lyndunc » Sat, 14 Jun 2014 9:42 pm

Following with interest. We are in the process of arranging to move too! Due to arrive end of Aug, start of Sept. Moving with a 5.5 & 3.5 year olds. I had thought of AIS too, but was concerned about the size.

Chantikki,thanks for the heads up and Ada, thank you too for the feedback. Danamakem & sunnydebruyn how is everything going? how did you narrow down areas for living?

Hope you don't mind me semi-hijacking the thread too, this stuff is mind boggling & slowly doing my head in :D :shock:

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Post by shannada » Sun, 15 Jun 2014 5:20 pm

Sunnydebruyn,

Assuming you decide to live on the East Coast your options include EtonHouse Primary (Broadrick Road campus), Canadian International School (East Campus in Katong), United World College (Tampines campus), Chatsworth and One World. All of these have their advantages and disadvantages - but if you want a small school feel then EtonHouse Broadrick Campus and One World are options.

Of the two I prefer EtonHouse. EtonHouse International Primary School on Broadrick Road is more established as a combined kindergarten/primary school than One World, and has children attending school there from many nationalities including Aussie. The current and last 3 principals were Australian, and the majority of teachers are from ANZ, UK, India, and US with the remainder being from Singapore. It has a cosy family atmosphere as each Year/Grade has only about 3 to 4 classes for Kindergarten up to Year 3. From Year 4 to Year 6 there are only 1 to 2 classes per grade. I have had 4 children educated at EtonHouse, and the older ones have graduated and moved on to secondary school.

What we like about EtonHouse International School:
1) It follows the IB curriculum so the kids can easily slot back into most countries curriculum (including Oz);
2) Teachers really care about the children;
3) Emphasis on the child's holistic development not just academics - E.g. choice of 2 extra curricular clubs per semester, compulsory swimming classes at Primary school level at the local swimming pool nearby, singing and drama, choice of sports with a championship winning soccer team.
4) Small school environment where your kids are known to staff and teachers (not just a number);
5) Truly international where children come from over 40 nationalities as compared with the likes of Avondale or AIS, where the students are predominantly Australian, for obvious reasons.

The cons for EtonHouse are:
1) Its facilities are pretty average compared to AIS and UWC (but these are much more expensive schools);
2) The Mandarin program for expats is pretty basic, our kids are not as conversant in Mandarin as we would like despite many years of study. But their Bi-Lingual English/Mandarin program is really good, if your kid gets selected (there is only 1 Bi-Lingual class per year);
3) Etonhouse goes from Nursery to Year 6 (equivalent to Primary 5 in the Aussie system). So you will need to change schools if your kids are still in Singapore for their Middle Years and High School Years.

UWC on the other hand is widely regarded to be one of the "top-tier" International Schools in Singapore, and their comparatively higher tuition fees reflect this. UWC's campus is huge with hundreds of children from Kindergarten all the way up to Grade 12 on the same campus. Good option if fees are not a concern.

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