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Changing schools - advice to parents

Moving your child from one school to another school because you are dissatisfied with the current school your child is attending can be very stressful, affecting your child both socially and academically.

It is important that you consider whether a transfer is really the best option for your child. Having a conversation with your child and with staff at your child’s current school may avoid the need to transfer to another school.

Wanting your child to change schools

If your request is for any of the reasons listed below, it is advised that the following steps should be taken before you complete an in-year application to transfer to another school:

Child not attending school

Discuss with your child, and the staff at the school, the reason why they don't want to attend school.

Explain to staff at the school if your child is worried about anything in particular and discuss how the situation can be resolved.

​To avoid exclusion

Discuss with staff at the school any reasons why your child's behaviour is non-compliant with the school's behaviour policy.

Discuss with the school your child's 'Pastoral Support Plan'. If a plan is not in place, ask the school if it is possible to set one up.

If your child has a plan in place, ask if it has been reviewed recently.

Special Educational Needs

Discuss the situation with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at the school. Contact the Special Educational Needs/Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan team at the council.

You can get impartial advice from the Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS).

Bullying or friendship issues

All schools have an anti-bullying policy. Talk to staff at the school about how the issue can be addressed and resolved.

A complaint about the school or unresolved issues

Discuss your complaint with staff at the school to include your child's teacher, head of year, headteacher or principal. If you feel your complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily, ask the school for their complaints procedure.

Put your complaint in writing to the Chair of Governors at the school.

Important considerations before deciding to move your child to an alternative school

Teaching and school organisation

Each school teaches the National Curriculum in different ways and at different times of the year.

It may be important to consider how your child will cope with learning new rules and doing things in different ways.

From year 9 onwards, children will have chosen their exam options (for GCSE) at their current school and you may find that:

  • your child is unable to continue to study the same subjects as the option groups are already full in the new school
  • the exam boards and course work for their chosen subjects are different, so your child may have to start course work again
  • some schools start GCSE coursework in year 9 and some schools start coursework in year 10 so your child could miss out on crucial parts of the coursework



  • your child’s emotional wellbeing may be affected
  • how does your child feel about leaving their current school and starting afresh at a new school?
  • how will your child cope being the new child in a class where friendship groups have already been formed?
  • does your child find it difficult to make new friends?



  • have you thought about the cost involved in the purchase of new uniform including full PE kit?

School travel


  • a change of school will usually be regarded as parental choice and as such you would be unlikely to be eligible for help with travel to the preferred school. Check if you would be able to get school travel assistance
  • how would your child travel to a new school?
  • what would be the cost involved?

If you still want to apply to change schools

If you still want to apply for your child to transfer to another school, you are advised to inform either your child’s head of year, headteacher or principal of your decision.

If your child already has a place at a local school, and we are unable to offer a place at any of your preferred schools, an alternative school place will not be offered.

Parents have the right to appeal a decision if a place is refused at a preferred school. Advice on how to appeal can be found on the Appeals pages.

It is expected that your child will continue to attend their current school until a school place at an alternative school is offered and a date has been arranged for admission.

Last updated 12 February 2024