It can sometimes take a while for children to settle into school, especially when moving up from primary to secondary schools. But if your child doesn’t like school and you’re concerned about whether they’ll ever settle properly, how easy is it to move schools?
With all the years spent in full-time education, it helps children on so many levels – personal, social and psychological, to name but a few – if they’re happy at school. Sadly, not all children do enjoy school, or find it easy to settle into some school environments.
Sometimes factors such as a lack of friends or bullying can be the root cause, but in other cases it may be due to not getting on well with the teachers or, for very bright or gifted children, not finding the lessons challenging enough.
It can be a real worry for parents to see children coming home from school unhappy, or not wanting to go and, as it could have an impact on a child’s learning and education, it’s only natural to wonder if changing schools may be a good option.
First Steps – Talk to the School
Before you make any rash decisions, in the first instance you should talk to the child’s class teacher, or the head teacher of the school, and discuss your concerns.
If bullying could be the problem, then they should be very keen to do what they can to help resolve the issue. Schools should have a bullying plan in action, for example, that has guidelines on how bullying should be dealt with.
If your child has difficulty with establishing friendships and is unhappy at school due to this, then raising the issue with their teacher will ensure they become aware of the situation, if they’re not already, and they may be able to suggest ways of helping your child make friends.
Even if neither of these issues seems to be at play, talking to the school should always be your first port of call. They are there to help and offer support with difficult situations and can often help you understand what might be causing the dislike of school. By working together you may well be able to resolve the situation without having to resort to changing schools.
Issues Involved in Moving Schools
If the situation can’t be resolved, your child is very unhappy or you’re unsure about whether the school is right for them, then there are a few issues to bear in mind about moving schools.
Even though a child may be deeply unhappy at school, moving schools doesn’t necessarily always automatically solve the problem. The move away from familiar faces and into a new school, where they have to start from scratch with making friends in an environment where everyone else already has established friendship groups can be very hard, especially if moving schools mid-year.
The move can affect children emotionally and socially, plus it may even impact on their learning and education. For children in secondary schools, moving may disrupt the courses they’ve begun to study, especially if a new school is with a different exam board or studying different set texts.
As the last thing you want is to cause even more distress, you should think about it carefully and weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision.
If you do want your child to change schools, then you’ll need to contact your local education authority and fill out a transfer form. As with obtaining school places in the first instance, they may not be able to guarantee a place at your desired school and the process can be long and laborious.