What Reasons Would You Need to Justify Changing Your Child’s School?


What are the top reasons for changing a child’s school?

If you are thinking about changing your child’s school, then the hardest part will be knowing if you are doing the right thing or not. Will it affect your child’s self-esteem or school progress? What if the new school doesn’t live up to your expectations? What information will be shared between the old and the new school? All these questions will be going through your mind and it’s perfectly natural to worry.

But don’t think you are alone in all this. Through my job, parents tell me that they are unhappy with their child’s school and below is a list (and some anecdotes) of some of the reasons for changing schools. For confidentiality, I have used initials of the parents and children.

1. Your child is unhappy.

This was the reason why I changed my son’s school. During his reception year he cried every single day and hated it. It wasn’t one thing that I could pin-point, it was a combination of horrible dinner ladies, teachers shouting, large classes and unruly children. School was a nightmare for him and he preferred to forget about it once he was out the school gate. The day I picked him up from his new school he had a big smile on his face and talked about school all the way home.

2. Your child’s needs are not being met.

This happened with A’s daughter K. K was going to one of the top schools in Luton, which boasted top place in the OFSTED league tables and scored “outstanding” in all reports. But K’s needs were not being met. K suffered from epilepsy and missed many days of school due to this. Also when she was in school she would have mild seizures called “absences” During an absence seizure, the child appears to be daydreaming or switching off. Because most children tend to daydream at times, absences can be very hard to spot. These children are missing out on tiny pieces of information. For example, they might hear the first part of a sentence but not the end. But unfortunately, however many times K’s mother tried to explain this to her teachers, they would not listen. She was falling behind at school and also being bullied because she had a slight speech defect due to her epilepsy. Every time her mother had a meeting with the teachers, she was made to feel as if she was asking too much. They would not listen to her, when she approached them about the bullying, again it was brushed under the carpet. She suffered at the hands of this school until K was in year 4. Then she changed to a smaller school, which felt right for K. And that is where K is right now and I am glad to say, very happy.

3. Your child has been treated inappropriately/unfairly.

A is a bright little 3-year-old and goes to nursery happily. He enjoys the school environment and his teachers say that he has an aptitude for numbers. But yesterday, when his mother went to pick him up from school she was told he got sent to the head. She asked what he did and the teacher said she asked him to put his coat on several times and he didn’t. He wasn’t rude or answering back and was giggling because he thought it was a game. Anyway, A’s mother replied that she did think that he deserved a punishment of some kind, but thought it was a naughty chair level offence and save the head for if it happens again. Then today, another boy who has a past record of aggressive behaviour hit another child on the head deliberately and the boy was crying but he only got a telling off. It’s not the first time this has happened either. A’s mother has decided to change schools now because she didn’t want him to be labelled as a naughty child. She was not happy about the way he was handled.

These are all true stories, and I have heard variations of these from many worried parents. Sometimes it could be that the school has not recognised a learning difficulty in a child. Or it could be that the child is not getting the help they need if they do have special needs. The most extreme case was of a year 6 boy who I tested and found that he had a reading age 5 years below his actual age. And yet the school had failed to give him the necessary support. But by then, it was too late to move school because the boy would be leaving for high school anyway.

I am not against teachers and schools because I think that they do have a tough job. The point I am trying to make in this blog is that changing schools, for any of the above reasons is fully justified. I would love to hear about your experiences, if you have done something similar.

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22 comments on “What Reasons Would You Need to Justify Changing Your Child’s School?

  1. I really do love this blog.i am currently experiencing the same problem in my son’s school.my son has communication problems and has been diagnosed with autism he was at nusery for a yr and has made a good progress and just recenctly got into reception in a big school.though to me he seems to be making alot of progress but the teachers dont seem to want to give him a chance.since he does’nt has the language he tends to use his hands during play time and i expect its left for the teachers to take in consideration his needs and explain things to him carefully and clearly but instead i was called in and told he would be excluded which sounded totally outragoues to me.how can a child be home whe does’nt even know what he has done.i felt really angry

    • Hi really useful website. going through these issues with my son at the moment. He has dyspraxia and his secondary school does not allow him a motor skills course and now allocates him 8 different TAs which does not allow any consistency of support ( this also affects delivery of speech and language stragegies). But he likes the school and is achieving quite well ( around average from below average when he started).

      I feel a small school with small classes might be much better and have in mind the independent school our older son ( with milder dyspraxia) went to. However he does not want to go. We are trying to get the help improved where our son is, but if this fails my feeling is to get him assessed at the small school and also another small school and see if he is won over. Any views?

      • I don’t think anyone likes change and maybe it’s the change he is fearing. Has he seen the new school? I would advise taking him there and get him to view lessons and if possible stay for a morning at the school.

  2. I today have pulled my son out of his school due to the school being placed on special measures, and has resulted in him being punished for something that another student started. This is not the first time, and the other pupil was actually the aggressor, but my son ended up retaliating. There is also a racist implication whereby my son asked whether this student was really a white Muslim as he has not heard of them before and was curious NOT racist, as he has been brought up in a multi-cultural environment and has no racist issues at all, even having a large amount of multi-racial friends. I am so upset, but my son has been unhappy for some time now. He is in all the top classes, and in his review only one week ago, his form tutor said he will no doubt be achieving high grades such as As and Bs in his GCSEs. I don’t really know how to go about changing his school, but have been key to view a local school nearby as we have since moved since he started two years ago at the present school. The local school has a much higher achievement level and its OFSTED report was excellent. Can you help please what my next steps are as he is not going back to his current school now and I don’t want him to miss out on his education at all. Upset doesn’t come close to how I feel!

    • You need to apply to the local school as soon as possible and you can do this by contacting your local authority schools and education department. Go and take a look around the school and see if you like it and take your son along as well. There may be a waiting list at the new school, and if this is the case then go and see some other schools in the area which may not have waiting lists. If you aren’t prepared to wait, then go for the next best school. In the meantime, you need to have some kind of learning going on at home. Invest in a few study books in the 3 most important subjects english, maths and science and get him into a routine of doing a bit of work every day. Good luck.

  3. Interested in your scenario 2 above. We are. In this one at the moment with a son in Y8 who’s dyspraxic. School (large mainstream) are not implementing aspects of his Statement and he has 8 TAs when school provides them.he is doing quite well educationally however and is adamant he does not want to move. We want to get him assessed by a small independent school which helped our other son who is mildly dyspraxic significantly. Should we go ahead despite sons views?

  4. Hi I would just like to say thankyou for this blog page, in having a really bad time with my 4yr old sons school, he’s in reception class and although they have a brilliant ofstead they don’t seem willing to listen to him and although he’s came home this week with several grazes and bruses this morning his head teacher said he’s lieing about being pushed over, I was struggling with should I of shouldn’t I with changing his school and you’ve given me the conferdence to contact other schools and set a ball in motion
    Thankyou

  5. I am a kid in 7th grade thinking of changing schools. I was looking for advice online and stumbled upon this website. I need advice. I currently go to a very good school. However, the homework keeps me up every night, and I have been getting stomach aches and back pains, which my mom worries are from the homework load. She also notes that I’m not as happy as I usually am. As well as that, a lot of the kids in my grade are very clique and swear to the point that I’m uncomfortable.

    But I also love my friends there, and would hate to leave them. My teachers are nice, even though the work load and pressure is threatening, I love going there. They have small classes, and it’s a very good school.

    I’m not sure whether I feel like I should leave or not. I’ve been going there for two years now.

      • I have met with my teachers, my advisor, the school counselor, the principal, and now the school physiologist. All agree that the homework is not too difficult for me, but is taking a long time. They don’t know why. If the school physiologist doesn’t help, I am fairly certain that I am switching schools.

        It takes me 3-5 hours to do homework each night, and I’ve had to drop after school activities because of it.

  6. Hi .I have a 7 year old boy whom im wamtin to change schools . A find he doesnt click with any children in his school and he is way behind in his education .the school have realized how far behind he is and have set up a meetin with the educational spychologist . Whatam findin is they are concerned for his education but not his emotional welfare . I am currently awaitin a vams referal for him as I domt know if he has a form of add or adhd he is quite demandin with me and if am not with him when some thing upsets him he gets hyseterical .please have u any advice x

  7. Hi
    My grandson is 5 he has always love to go play school and his first year at school
    September he went up to year one
    Every day he cries telling us his not well
    Couple of weeks ago he got beat up by two boys in his class
    Which I didn’t think it was handle very well
    Last week my grandson pull a little girls hair which is very unlike him
    He has change so much in the last few weeks his gone from a very kind happy little boy
    To a very unhappy boy
    Answering back
    Should we change schools
    We are going to make appointment to see the head
    Kind regards
    Shani hanley

  8. Hi,
    Hi,
    Thanks for the great topic.

    My son is 13 in a failing school and after the summer holidays we have not sent him back. He is a very bright youngster and we believe he is being wasted as the school. The school also has issues where teachers leave due to internal politics etc.

    How do I go about getting my son out of a school (as he is going back there again) as we are really struggling in finding him a school as now there are no places available in decent schools?

    Thank you.

    Basically my son who is 13 is in a failing school and after the summer holidays we have not sent him back there again. He is a very bright youngster and we believe he is being wasted as the school is not supportive or encouraging. The school also has issues where teachers come for a short term and leave due to internal politics etc.

    How do I go about getting my son out of a school (as he is going back there again) as we are really struggling in finding him a school as now there are no places available in decent schools?

    Thank you.

    How do I go about getting my son out of a school as we are realy struggling with finding him

  9. My daughter is 4 and although she’s settled in her school, its a nightmare to get to. I don’t drive and find we’re stressing every morning as we know if we miss the bus we’re late, but more often than not, the bus is always late so my daughter’s late and gets told off. We leave the house at 7:55am get a quick bus ride and then have a 20 min walk! … my first choice school is a 10 minute walk from the house. Its so frustrating and to top it off, the school she attends has just had Ofsted and came out as ‘needing improvement’. I’m sat crying as I don’t know what to do!

  10. Hi! I am considering changing my daughters school. She is a 6th grader very bright but not being challenged at all. No homework, I think she is bored but just sliding by she get s all A’s and 1 B but this is not helping her learn if it is too easy. The school is doing the best it can I think, but it has to work at a certain level so the other kids can do it. I feel she is wasting her education. She is never cracking a book and I know she could be doing better and learning more. My husband went to the award assembly for grades and he said 3 parents showed up for her grade. I know this will be a challenge because she has friends there but I don’t know how to go about seeing what is required to change if we are out of the other Middle schools zone. Debbie

    • Did you change school? I am in the same situation. My son is not being challenged either and he is a type of kid that if you do not push him he will not challenge himself but he just loves the school. He has been there since PK-3 and he is now going to 6th grade. I was wondering what your experience was if you changed her school!

  11. Hi. I am in the same situation. I decided that we need to change school for our boy. He is only 4 and goes to Reception class. My son was going to nursery from 2 years old for full time and we never had any problems. He only struggle a bit just with language as we are Lithuanian and at home we speak in our language. So he was a bit behind with English. Once he started go to school he was so happy and excited to meet new friends. I was so pleased as we got a space in very good school, best in Suffolk. But after few months from November it changed 100%. One day i been asked to see my son teacher and she told me that he have bad behaviour and not listening to her instructions. That is difficult for her to teach all class just because of him. Head teacher had a chat with me few times too and said that he is a lovely child when you are one to one and when he need to concentrate in class with other children is too difficult for him. School called me nearly every day asking to pick him up as they cant deal with him, so some days I picked my son even at 9am………I left my full time job just because of it. We agreed at school that he will go to school half day and bit by bit gets on with increasing hours to full time. So last 4 months i come to school at 1pm and picked up my son as agreed. Every time when i asked when we will start to increase his hours the teacher just waved with head, its too early, he still struggle…..I did notice that he gets more and more behind of other children in class as he goes only half day, some other thinks i was not happy about too. One day i come in and all children had a pictures with Christmas hats, there was no picture of my boy as he left half day, so many times he was missed, like with newletters as i was picking him up earlier. He was not allowed to attend a Christmas fair as head teacher was worrying about him not listening and crying around other parents, she worried more because of good school name than that my son was the only one not attending it. I was so up sad, we had video the Christmas songs he sing at nursery and no one was woring about if some of children are not singing or just looking around.
    Well i was hoping that he will get better and working together with school we will make an effort on his behaviour. I was advised that from half term they must give full time education to my son so they will start to increase his hours. Bit by bit he got better and teacher just some days was unhappy about him.
    Today is my first day at new job, and what do you think. A phone call from school office at 11:30am, please come and pick up your son, he is not listening, crying and we cant do anything…. Is this normal? They should try to find the way how to calm him down not to call every time to me to pick him up???? So I contacted my new nanny and she picked him up at 12:15pm. My son was sitting on the carpet and crying as he was starving and his stomach was in pain. All children having lunch at 12pm but my son was left without it because of crying, is this normal? Even nanny said poor boy looked terrible. Once she picked him up from school she didint have any problems. He was good and listen to her, play and read books as normal. I think its time to change a school for him? Please advise. Thank you. Vaida

  12. I’m considering changing schools, nearly everyday my 5 year old son is pulled aside for something, but in his credit it’s never for anything malicious or hurtful, more general boy behaviour. One such example is putting a sandcastle on his friends back, they were playing but the teacher thought taking a picture of this (rather than help the lad immediately) was acceptable, and sending him to the head which apparently for reception class is unheard of. This is just one example but his always being praised for being keen to learn and good manners (key to a well rounded child I believe) so do you think I’m right to want to move him ?? The school I’m considering though is a small school, only 80 in all

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