Changing Schools – Things to Consider Before You Make the Move

Problems at School

There are many points to consider before deciding to move your child from one school to another.

If you are contemplating changing schools, the chances are that you have already spent many weeks, or even months, trying to resolve your particular problem with the school and feel that there is no alternative; but there are things to consider before making a final decision.

If your older child is having problems at school, it is safe to assume that they will be instrumental in any discussions regarding resolving these problems, including deciding whether or not to change schools. However, if your child is of primary school age, then you will have to try and make the best decision on their behalf.

There Are No Perfect Schools

This is not as depressing as it sounds. No school can be completely perfect for every child and there will always be issues that the school and the parents disagree on. These issues could include homework, punishments, uniform, at what age sex education should be introduced, religious beliefs within the school; the list is endless.

Changing school will maybe sort out some of the issues, but the probability is that a different school will have as many issues, just different ones.

It is important to remember that there will always be differences of opinion on the best way to educate children, but much of the time you have to place your trust in the teachers and respect that they are the professionals; that means allowing them to take the reins with your child during school hours while you take a step back and allow them to do their job.

Obviously there are times when, as parents, you need to step in and fight your child’s corner, particularly if the school is not doing enough to combat bullying or failing to recognize your child’s difficulties; but generally speaking, the majority of teachers will listen to your concerns and try to implement an agreed course of action.

Ultimately, schools can only address issues if they have been bought to their attention, so always give them a chance to put right what is wrong. So many aggrieved parents spend their entire drop-off and pick-up times complaining bitterly to other parents about how the school is letting their child down, but they never actually make official arrangements to meet with the class teacher or head teacher to discuss their grievances.

If these meetings have taken place but the problems remain unresolved, then it might be appropriate to consider a move, especially if your child is unhappy at school.

Try to be Objective

Sometimes it is easier to look at what is wrong with a school than what is right, and if your child is generally happy at school then perhaps the problems are not as great as they seem. Try to keep perspective. If problems at school involve bullying, low self esteem or learning difficulties, then these obviously need to be taken very seriously; but try to look objectively at your issues.

Are you trying to fight your child’s battles for them because you don’t want to see them get hurt?

Unfortunately, school can be a harsh place and your child will encounter difficult people and horrible situations, but they can’t learn how best to deal with them if they are never allowed to develop their own strategies; and the sad fact is that there will be difficult people and difficult situations in any school.

Do you feel that your child is being badly educated?

Let’s be honest, education isn’t just about school. What your child learns from you about life is equally as important as learning where your metatarsals are; school is only a part of what turns your child into a well-rounded, well-behaved and socially capable individual.

Are you disappointed with your child’s choice of friends?

It is very hard to accept friends who you consider to be a bad influence, but at times you have to cross your fingers and hope that the values you have taught your child will give them the judgment to make the right choices. In the end, the choice is theirs, not yours.

Are you putting too much pressure on your child to excel at school?

Your child will experience many pressures at school, both from teachers and from their peer groups. From the moment they start school they will be tested, pushed and tested some more. As long as you have expressed to your child that you expect them to work to the best of their ability, back off and allow them be pressure-free at home. If you have instilled self-discipline you don’t need to add to their stress.

Still Want to Change Schools?

If, after much consideration, you decide that it is still in the child’s best interests to change schools, make sure that you fully research the school they will be moving to and then follow the correct procedures laid out by your local education authority.

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