We made the move with primary aged children this year. Stay away from public schooling - we've found the curriculum to be inferior in Queensland. Private schools abound, and most seem to perform well. Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive with private schooling. As for areas, South GC is so much more busier than the central and northern areas. The beaches are beautiful, but overrun with people. If you choose something North, it will take you approx 35 mins to get south in heavy traffic in the morning (not bad compared to Sydney commutes). You'll find many suitable options of where to live - my advice, rent centrally and explore for 6-12 mths in either direction before deciding. Or settle on a school, and look for a home locally. Are we happy here?...yes and no. The seafood is fantastic (!), but after a while there's not much for kids to do. There's only so many times you can visit a theme park or beach or a shopping centre before you think, what now?... The humidity can be unbearable. We've found people quite rude, and the women are overly botoxed, fillered and implanted, which is not the examples of women I want for my daughter to constantly see and possibly emulate. So, for now, it's fine, but I can't see us staying here indefinitely. Brisbane is more cultured, and has more for kids to do.
The Gold Coast is a great place to live and raise a family. Plenty of private and public schools and lots of sports/activities to enjoy.
Check out the link here http://www.goldcoastaustralia.com/gold-coast-high-schools.html plenty of other links as well on google ultimatley Robina, Burlieigh Carrara and Varsity Lakes all have primary and secondary schools for your kids to go to.
There are also many activities you can enjoy as a family outside schools through the council's group of activities organised all acroos the coast. If you visit a local library you can grab their diary full of activities for you to book and enjoy/.
You really can't go past Robina for convenience and having everything at your finger tips. I have 2 children and it has been amazing for them, great schools, lots of sports facilities and clubs to join as well as large and small shopping centres. Amazing amount of green space, plus the beach is only a 10 minute drive away. The M1 is only minutes away and also the Varsity Train station for easy access to Brisbane. I am sue you will love it
State High Schools work different up here. Generally they all run an academic stream, split classes, designed for ATAR and university but it is quite competitive to get entrance. They run tests the previous year but if you are re-locating & the kids have good NAPLAN + grades maybe you can jump that. There are a number of excellent private schools here, and some public skills that outperform a lot of the mid-tier private (Varsity College for example, and Southport / PBC is improving).