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Frequently Asked Questions

If you can't find an answer to your questions here please send an email to: .

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School Life

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Does the DSM offer an extra-curricular program?

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On three afternoons the school offers an extra-curricular program parents have to enrol their children for. The program is designed to be held for 60 minutes for pick-up at 5pm. The program varies during the school year and usually there is at least one musical and one sports activity on offer.

Please contact the school office to obtain more details.

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What does the school’s music program include?

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Music education is part of the DSM curriculum. At the moment the DSM does not offer any instrumental lessons after school. However, we are working on options and will certainly keep you up to date.

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How does the physical education program look like?

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Physical Education is part of the DSM curriculum. At the moment, the sports lessons are held in the school yard (weather permitting) or inside the school building. The PE teachers use the school’s sport equipment for their lessons. The school is currently working on having a proper sports ground at the rear of the school building. Plans have been designed already, any update will be announced on our website.

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Does the DSM teach religious education?

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Students can take part in the school’s religious education class which is taught once per week in cooperation with the German speaking churches in Melbourne (with a focus on General Christian education). Alternatively, they can take part in an Ethics class. Parents will be asked to let the school know of their decision at the school start.

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Does the DSM have a kindergarten program?

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The leading Bilingual Early Learning Centre FROEBEL is located on our school premises. Many children join DSM after completing kindergarten. We work closely with FROEBEL to prepare the children for the transition from kindergarten to school.

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Does the DSM have Before/After School Care program?

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The DSM does not run an own Before / After School program. We do, however, cooperate with EXTEND, a before and after school care provider running a program at the nearby Our Lady Help of Christians school on 26 Miller Street, Brunswick East. DSM students attending this program will be picked up in the morning and dropped off after school by DSM staff members. For more details in regards to enrolment and fees, please contact Extend directly under www.extend.com.au.

Please always inform the DSM should your child attend the program on a regular or casual basis.

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Will there be composite classes in the future?

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Although we do see benefits from composite classes we are mainly looking at separate classes for the future as our school is constantly growing and we are getting full classes.

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How can I as a parent get involved in the DSM school life?

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There are many different ways to get involved and we always appreciate parents taking the time to support our school. We are very proud of our energetic and committed school community. Potential tasks might be the school’s reading program, being part of one of the committee (Events, Newsletter etc.). Please talk to us should you be interested in getting involved.

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School Concept

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How does the early immersion concept differ from other bilingual schools? ?

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The school concept of the DSM is based on the successful Canadian early immersion concept. It foresees students to be “immersed” in the new language from the very beginning. This means that children starting in the Preparatory Class at the DSM have most of their timetable taught in German (up to 90%). German is thus not taught as a foreign language but used as a language of instruction. Teachers use various methods such as gestures, pictures etc. to help students without prior German skills understand. From school year to school year the amount of German as a language of instruction decreases and reaches 50% by grade 5. The DSM is currently the only primary school in Melbourne offering the full immersion concept which stands for the high amount of German at the beginning.

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What does the “one teacher – one language” concept mean?

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This concept is a very important part of our school concept. Our teachers come from German and English speaking countries and are all bilingual. According to the “one teacher – one language” concept they will only address the students in their first language and regardless the language the children choose, the teachers will always answer in their first language. This enables the students not only to connect the language to one specific teacher, but also to pick up a native speaker accent and expressions.

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When do the children without prior German skills start speaking German?

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This clearly depends on each individual child. The children will hear only German from the German teachers and especially in the Preparatory Year and Year 1 and 2 more than 80% of all lessons will be held in German. At the beginning the students who don’t feel comfortable yet don’t have to answer in German when addressed by their teacher. From our experience, all children without prior German language skills start speaking the new language in Year 1 at the latest. From Year 1, they are also encouraged by their teacher to answer in German when being asked in German.

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Will my child’s English skills be equally supported?

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Although the DSM students start with a very high amount of German they learn reading and writing in both languages at the same time. For instance, in the Prep year, the German lessons have a stronger focus on the correct writing of the alphabet (which is almost identical to the English alphabet) whereas the English lessons emphasize on specific characteristics of the English language, such as pronunciation. The DSM fulfils all requirements set on Victorian Primary Schools and certainly participates in nationwide tests such as NAPLAN.

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How can I support my child if I don’t speak any German?

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Roughly one third of the DSM families don’t speak any German at home, many of those do not have any connection to a German speaking country. There are certainly ways of how to support and take part in your child’s school life without speaking German. If you wish to hear from a parent’s perspective we are happy to put you in touch with someone in a similar situation.

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What is the long-term vision for the school?

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The DSM started operating as a primary school in 2008. Since then the school has grown successfully and reached various milestones. One of the most recent milestones is the prolongation of the lease and the addition of a new classroom upstairs. The school has an agreement with the landlord to rent out other parts of the school to enable the school’s expansion.

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Enrolment

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When is the best time to enrol my child?

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We recommend starting the enrolment process rather sooner than later as interest in our school is steadily growing and we can no longer guarantee a place for every applicant. If your child’s school start is still 3 or more years away, we recommend visiting the school at one of the Open Days. If you are considering enrolling your child, please take the first steps of the enrolment process soon to avoid any disappointments. If your child’s school start is closer, please send us the application documents right away.

The first step in our enrolment process is the application for enrolment form. Please send in the form and requested documents and we will be in touch once we start inviting families for an enrolment interview with the school’s head teacher. Usually the interviews are scheduled to be held 18 months prior to your child’s school start. The purpose of the meeting is to get to know your child, to answer your questions and to ensure that all expectations are in line with one another. For students who would like to start earlier the enrolment interview might be scheduled straight after receipt of the application forms, should there be a spot available in the corresponding class.

For students from overseas the interview might be held over the phone.

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Does my child have to speak German before joining the school?

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Children who start in the Preparatory Year at the DSM do not have to have any prior German skills. Approximately one third of our families don’t speak any German at home. We are, however, aiming at having a good mix of bilingual and monolingual children in one class. Students joining higher class levels need to have good German skills to be able to follow the lessons.

Students without any English skills are welcome to join the DSM in any class level, should there be spots available and should the application process be successful.. However, some private tutoring may be required as in the higher class levels up to 50% of the lessons are taught in English.

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What age do children need to be to join the Preparatory Class at the DSM?

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According to our enrolment policy, children need to be 5 years of age on the 1st of January in their Preparatory Year. This cut-off date has been set to reflect the academic demands that are required of children in a bilingual school with an early immersion programme. Please understand that we cannot make any exceptions.

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Do you take in students during the school year?

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The school year at the DSM commences in late January, however, it is possible to join during the school year should there be spots available in the corresponding class and should the application process be successful. Due to the difference to the European school year we usually recommend that children coming from overseas first join the lower level to have sufficient time to settle in.

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Do you have a waiting list?

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The ideal class size at the DSM is 20 students per class to ensure an optimal learning environment. As interest in our school is steadily growing we are looking at mainly full classes in the years to come. Therefore it is important to start the enrolment process rather sooner than later as we will start inviting families to the enrolment interviews in a chronological order. Students who don’t get a spot in the corresponding class will be put on the Waiting List if their parents wish. We will be in touch should a place become available.

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Do you accept short-term enrolments?

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The DSM cannot offer enrolments for less than one term in order to ensure continuity in the class. Enrolments of one term are only accepted should a place in the class be available and all other requirements be met. Please note that special conditions apply for short-term enrolments. Please refer to our current fee schedule for more details.

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Does the DSM take in secondary students?

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UOur school is constantly growing through the addition of one Preparatory class per school year. From 2014, the DSM will offer primary education from Prep Year to Grade 6. The School Board is currently working on the concept for a secondary school. However, due to the number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, we are not able to give any details or a concrete timeline yet.

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What are your enrolment criteria?

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Apart from the right age (for Preparatory students) and adequate German skills (for upper class entries) we do not have specific enrolment criteria. It is important to us, however, that all expectations from the families and the school are in line with one another and the students have attended a 4year-Kindergarten program before joining the school. We certainly aim at having a good mix of bilingual and monolingual students and the same number of girls and boys in one class. Our ideal class size is 20 students per class to ensure an optimal learning environment. The DSM does not have a school zone and accepts applications from families all over Melbourne.

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What is the enrolment process if my child is gifted?

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DSM recognises that if gifted children’s exceptional needs are to be met, early identification and support are essential. Early enrolment in school can provide challenges and extension to meet a gifted child’s unique intellectual, social and emotional needs. It is important to recognise that early enrolment is just one of the possible strategies for meeting the needs of young gifted students.

If parents make the school aware, that they suspect their child to be gifted, and hence seek an exemption to the policy, the school would require the following:

  1. Parents need to provide proof (in form of an assessment report) of giftedness (if already at existing, need to provide us with a copy)
  2. The school requires parents that have not yet assessed their child to seek an assessment of giftedness (not that they are developmentally advanced) from one of the following providers:
    • Listen & Learn Centre
    • Carlton Guy
  3. to consider the application of enrolment for the student.

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Can I apply for a scholarship for my child?

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Deutsche Schule Melbourne facilitates the provision of fee scholarships provided by sponsoring organisations. The scholarships are aimed at families that wish to enrol their children at DSM, but are unable to afford the full school fee.

The scholarship entitles the successful applicant to a reduced school fee for a period of one year. An extension of the scholarship after conclusion of the year is possible, by reapplication. Applications for Scholarships are due by 30 September the year preceding the school year.

If you wish to apply for a scholarship, please complete the application form and send it together with a completed enrolment form to Barbara Walsh at .

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Career

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What pre-requisites do I need to fulfill to apply for a position as a (Casual Relief) Teacher (m/f) at the Deutsche Schule Melbourne?

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We seek fully qualified primary school teachers (m/f) who are bilingual. Experience and specialist training in bilingual education are of advantage. Additional qualifications in education for students with special needs, music, arts or physical education may be of advantage depending on the open position. Candidates are required to speak both school langugages fluently. One of both languages has to be spoken at least on one of the following levels:

In addition to your professional education, the following skills are important:

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Where do you advertise vacant positions?

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The Deutsche Schule Melbourne advertises vacant positions primarily on its website (www.dsm.org.au) and on selected job sites. Furthermore, we are in close contact with the Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen (Central Agency for German Schools Abroad) which also operates a job board for teaching roles at international schools.

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Can I apply if there is no vacant position advertised?

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The Deutsche Schule Melbourne welcomes applications by qualified candidates as Casual Relief Teachers (m/f). Please complete our candidate survey.

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Which visa do I need to work at the Deutsche Schule Melbourne?

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All DSM employees need a valid working visa for Australia. A working holiday visa unfortunately is not sufficient. DSM may be able to sponsor a visa for a candidate filling a full-time position. Depending on the personal situation of the candidate various visa types may apply. We can provide you with more details during the recruitment process.

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Which kind of registration do I need in order to work as a teacher in Australia?

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Apart from the valid working visa, every teacher needs a teacher registration from the Victorian Institute of Teaching. To apply for a registration you will need to provide comprehensive documentation on your qualifications and the results of an IELTS Test which confirms the effective proficiency level of your English language skills.

We have experienced that the registration process can take between 4-6 months. Any documents submitted need to be translated into English and certified. It is thus recommended to become familiar with the VIT page and the application process. Please note that it is the candidate’s responsibility to arrange for an IELTS Test and to apply for a VIT registration.

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Do you also accept applications by secondary school teachers (m/f)?

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The DSM is currently offering primary school education. Only applications from qualified primary school teachers (m/f) can be considered.

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How many weekly hours will a casual relief teacher (m/f) be appointed for?

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Casual Relief Teachers (m/f) will be contracted on a needs basis. This means that there is no guaranteed amount of working hours per month. All candidates need to have a valid VIT registration and must be German-English bilingual. One of both languages has to be spoken at least on one of the following levels:

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Does the DSM offer placement options for students / interns?

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Yes, the DSM offers placements for English and German speaking student teachers. Please refer to Careers>Internship.

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What happens in my first days as a teacher (m/f) at the DSM?

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The school year begins in January, usually with an induction week for all teachers. This is a perfect opportunity to meet the DSM team, enlist in mandatory training courses and become familiar with the school and materials. Each teacher will receive an induction manual upon commencement as well as an onboarding plan.

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What does the DSM offer as an employer?

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Working at the DSM means working at a bilingual school with an international atmosphere, a recognized school concept and a committed school community. Employees will have the opportunity to actively contribute to the future development of this school and its teaching methods. The DSM nurtures the professional development and continuous learning of its employees and encourages individual talents. The successful candidate will benefit from a salary package in line with market rates, an uncomplicated team atmosphere and a flat organisational structure. The Deutsche Schule Melbourne is easily accessible by public transport, and provides parking facilities for staff members.

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What can I do to accelerate the application process?

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If you plan to teach in an English-speaking country (and English is not your first language), it is of advantage to complete the IELTS test first and include your test results in your application. If we request your full CV, please ensure that it contains the following details:

Support our School!

DSM is a not-for-profit association based on a strong membership. Members support our school by electing or being elected to the school board and participating in various school working groups. Members can also use the German/English library of DSM. Annual membership fees are $27.50 for one person or $55 for the whole family. You can find the application form here.

Sponsorship

Organisations can support the school directly by entering a sponsorship agreement.

For further details please contact our Business Manager Barbara Walsh ().

Donations

Deutsche Schule Melbourne operates the following gift funds that can accept your kind donations:

All donations over $2 are tax- deductible.