Whether it’s because you’re moving house or there are problems with your child’s current school or if you want your child to go to a school that you feel will be better for them or for whatever other reasons, transferring your child to another school can be difficult. This is especially as the focus is normally getting your child into a school and so it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to transferring.
Continue reading to have your questions answered about the process of transferring your child to a different school, regardless of what your reason is for doing so. This article will tell you more about the steps involved in transferring schools as well as key information about the process.
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How do you transfer your child to another school in the UK?
Transferring your child to another school can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to start. However, by following just a few different steps, you can make the process much more straightforward and much less stressful for both you and your child. Look at the following steps to learn about the process of transferring your child to another school in the UK.
Step 1: Apply to the school you want to transfer your child to
If you’re transferring your child from one school to another, this is known as an ‘in-year’ transfer as it is outside of the normal admission round and your child should already be attending school. The normal admissions round is where parents or guardians are invited to present choose their preferences of state school in their local area for their child to attend. To learn more about what this means, check out this guide by the Bath and North East Somerset Council.
How you carry out this ‘in-year’ transfer will depend on the type of school that you want to send your child to. If the school is in charge of its own admissions, then you will need to directly contact the school in order to apply for a place for your child. Schools in this category will often include academies, foundation schools and voluntary aided schools.
However, if the local council is in charge of the school’s admissions, you will need to contact your local council in order to apply to this new school. In the case that you are changing schools due to moving to a different area, you will need to apply through the local council where this school is, even if you haven’t moved as yet.
Schools in this category include voluntary controlled schools and community schools as well as some other types of schools that have made an agreement with the council for them to handle this process.
In order to find out how you should apply to your prospective school, please refer to your local council’s website. This will give you the rest of the steps that you need to be able to transfer your child to a new school for your specific area. To learn more about the ‘in-year’ transfer process, check out this article by The Education Hub of the government website.
Step 2: Provide evidence that you meet the admissions criteria for the school you want to transfer your child to
In order to be offered a place by the school, regardless of whether your application was done through the school itself or through your local council, you will need to show that you meet the admissions requirements for this school. The main requirement that you will need to meet is based on your location as schools have catchment areas.
In order to provide evidence for this, you will often need to provide the school or local council with at least two official documents that prove your address to be within the catchment area.
Also, for certain types of schools, such as faith schools or grammar schools, your child will also need to meet additional requirements. For faith schools, your child will need to be of a certain faith in order to attend. For grammar schools, students will need to be academically high performing and may need to have done an entrance exam.
You can learn more about these types of schools and others later on in the article. To learn more about this, check out this article by The School Run.
Step 3: Finalise your child’s transfer to the new school
The final step in transferring your child to a new school is to accept the place if you’ve been offered one and then to finalise the transfer. In order to do this, you will need to arrange with the new school when your child will start.
After this, you can inform your current school that your child is leaving and give them the final date that your child will be at their current school. Later on in the article, you will be able to get more information about how you would carry this out.
All that’s left to do after this is to get you and your child prepared for this new school. This includes buying the new uniform, reading the policies, particularly the ones on phones and dress code, which often change from school to school, as well as mentally preparing your child for this new start.
To learn more about this last stage of the transferring process, check out this article by The School Run.
How long does it take to transfer schools?
How long the process takes to transfer your child to another school will depend on the school you have applied to or your local council, depending on which you applied through. However, several local councils say that they aim to take up to about 15 days for the transfer to go through. To learn more about this, look at this page by Oxfordshire County Council.
However, there may be delays that make the process take longer. To gain more information about how long the process will take for you, it will likely be best to ask the prospective school or the local council that you have applied through as they will know more about their own processes.
How do you inform your school about moving when transferring your child to another school?
To inform your child’s current school that you are moving, you may wish to tell them verbally first. This could be done in the form of arranging a meeting with the school, which could help in the transfer process, especially as everything can be made clearer.
However, it may instead be more appropriate to write a formal letter or maybe even an email to inform the school that you are transferring your child to another school and that you want to permanently withdraw them from their current school. This letter or email should give a date for when your child is leaving as well as the reason for leaving. You can learn more about this, by checking out this article by Letter Expert.
What are good reasons to transfer your child to another school?
There are so many different reasons why you might want to transfer your child to a different school. Everyone’s situation is different and there is no use in trying to apply set reasons to all scenarios. However, transferring your child to a different school is often done out of necessity or to benefit the child and so it can help to see what some of the reasons are that fall into either of these categories.
One of the main reasons that parents/guardians want to transfer their child to a different school is due to them moving. This may be to a completely different area, such as a new town, or maybe even a completely different part of the country, or it could be moving slightly further away from your current home, which would make it more inconvenient to go to the same school.
Another reason that parents/guardians may want to transfer their child to a different school is due to the child having issues at their current school. This could take many different forms, such as bullying from other students or even teachers being unfair and unkind and discrimination either by the school itself or it could be that the school’s action was inadequate.
Alternatively, parents/guardians may want to transfer their child to another school due to the child’s mental health. This could be if the child suffers from a mental health condition, such as school anxiety, where being at their current school makes that worse. If you would like to learn more about school anxiety, check out this Think Student article.
Otherwise, you may wish to transfer your child to a school that has better mental health support services than their current school. You may also want to transfer your child to another school if this new school’s general support services were better than the child’s current school.
These and many other reasons why parents and guardians may want to transfer their child to another school can be found by clicking on the following Think Student article: 21+ Good Reasons to Transfer Your Child to Another School.
How to find the correct school to transfer to
When it comes to finding the right school for your child, you have so many different things that you need to consider. From what the type of school is to the school’s suitability for your child, such as what subjects they have on offer, particularly for secondary schools, as well as the facilities they may have and the support that they can offer you and your child.
Consider the type of school
First of all, let’s address the issue of all the different types of schools. In the UK, there are many different types of schools and these can be difficult to get your head around. Despite this, knowing about the different types of schools can be important to help decide which school would be best for your child.
In terms of state schools, there are community schools, foundation schools, voluntary aided or voluntary controlled schools, academies, free schools, grammar schools, faith schools and maybe even more but these are the main ones. To get a better overview of these, check out this page on the government website.
In terms of choosing the correct school for your child to transfer to, the main types of school that you may want to focus on are grammar schools and faith schools as for the other types there are less noticeable differences, particularly in how it may affect the suitability for your child. In the UK, a grammar school is a type of secondary school that admits students based on their academic ability, usually by making applicants do an entrance exam, such as the 11 Plus exam.
Due to this, you may want to consider if this would be good fit for your child as while grammar schools can benefit their academic and career prospects it may also be more stressful on your child. To learn more about grammar schools, check out this Think Student article.
Faith schools are primary or secondary schools that have a particular religious affiliation. In order to get into the school, students will generally need to be a part of the particular religion that the school is affiliated with.
In a faith school, students would have more emphasis on the particular religion during school than they would otherwise have. If you are religious, you may want to consider this option, especially for primary schools as these are quite common. To learn more about faith schools, check out this Think Student article.
Consider the performance of the school
Another thing that you may want to consider finding the right school for your child is how the school is performing. Despite the criticism against them, the main way for parents to learn about how well a prospective school is performing is to look at its Ofsted report. To learn more about what Ofsted inspections are, check out this Think Student article.
Due to the report being very concise and not really elaborating on its marking, it is probably best not to look at this report in isolation. You can also look at the school’s prospectus if it has one as well as any more information that you can get from its website.
With all of these different elements, you would be able to see how the school is performing as well as more learn more about the school’s policies, values and how it operates. Furthermore, you could also attend an open day that the school is holding, as these often take place throughout the year. This would enable you to get a feel for the school itself, to see if it would be right for your child, as well as a first-hand look at the school’s facilities.
Consider the needs of your child
The final thing that you should consider when finding the right school for your child is what would actually be best for them. This may be in terms of their needs, such as the support they may need from the school, as well as in terms of their interests and how this school can fit into that.
If your child is going to need a bit of extra support, then the right school for your child will be one that prioritises the support they give to their students, whether this is physical or emotional.
If your child is in secondary school, then it could be a good idea to pick the school based on what they want to study for their GCSEs. This is especially as GCSE options can be so important to what your child can do in the future, particularly for future studies. Based on their resources and priorities, different schools are able to offer different subjects.
Transferring a child with special education needs
A transition from another school can be an unsettling and emotional time for any child, but for someone with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) it can be a much more difficult challenge.
Most children with SEND pursue education in ‘normal’ mainstream schools, however, you may find that a transfer to a school that specialises in teaching children with disabilities is something you’d like to do.
In any case, it is vital for every school to have a special educational needs policy that is available for parents to easily access. These policies will outline their approach to teaching SEND children, therefore having a read of them before applying is useful.
Things to think about before starting the transfer process:
- Do the school offer suitable support in class?
- Do they manage other children with similar needs?
- How will you as a parent be involved in their education and development?
- Is there a good level of communication between you and the SEND department?
For children that are possibly in need of an ‘Educational Health and Care Plan’ (EHC) cannot be refused and turned away by schools, as well as those that do have an EHC.
With an EHC, you do not go through the usual admissions process when transferring. Instead, your case will be dealt with separately, being asked to fill in a form with your school of preference.
For most cases of children with special educational needs or disabilities, your application in transferring will be prioritised. The charity “contact” have a helpful article, click here to check it out.
Should you consider going to a private school?
A private school, which may also be known as an independent school, is a type of school that charges a fee for students to attend due to not being funded by the government. Private schools also have greater flexibility in what they can teach as they are not required to follow the national curriculum.
In terms of choosing if a private school is the correct school for your child, you will still need to consider the same things as you would have for a state school. Primarily, you need to figure out if this private school is right for your child, in terms of offering the right courses as well as the right support.
Due to the additional bonuses that private school often provide, you may also want to consider clubs and new opportunities that your child could access through this private school that they wouldn’t be able to at a different school, whether that would be another private school or a state school.
However, as already mentioned, private schools, unlike state schools, require you to pay a fee to attend. As the average fee can range from almost £15,000 per school year in a day-only private school to around £35,000 per school year for a private boarding school, whether you should consider sending your child to a private school will largely depend on what you can afford. To learn more about the costs of private schools, check out this Think Student article.
All in all, in order to decide whether a private school would be a good fit for your child to transfer to, you will need to figure out if the benefits of a private school outweigh the drawbacks. For greater detail on the pros and cons of private school to help you decide if it would be worth transferring your child to one, check out this Think Student article.
How to prepare your child for moving school
One of the most important parts in the process of transferring your child from one school to another is to get them prepared for it both mentally and physically. This is important as it can help to reduce their resistance to this transfer, which may be felt if they didn’t want to change schools and reduce the negative impacts this transfer may have on them emotionally.
It can also help to make sure that they are ready to make the most of this new school when they do start. This can make the entire process of transferring your child to another school much more successful.
Prepare your child for moving school by getting the right equipment
When going to a new school, students often find that there are some very noticeable differences. One of the main parts of this is to do with the distinct differences in uniforms that often exist between different schools, especially secondary schools. Due to this, included in preparing for going to their new school, you will need to ensure that your child has the right uniform in order to attend their new school with.
Some schools will also have a very specific PE kit that they require students to wear and so, you will also need to ensure that your child has the right PE kit to avoid them getting in trouble. Moreover, even with uniforms, different schools have different dress codes and so you will also need to make sure that they have the right shoes and coats or jackets to meet this dress code as it might be different for this new school.
Mentally prepare your child for moving school
Moving to a new school can be an incredibly stressful process, especially for the child. This is due to the fact that they will probably be feeling sadness due to having to leave their friends as well having to leave the familiarity of this old school. Also, they may feel overwhelmed and possibly even scared about what awaits them at their new school due to it being unfamiliar.
Due to this, mentally preparing your child to move to another school is arguably the most important part of getting ready for it, to enable them to feel more comfortable and relaxed within this process.
What can you do if your child refuses transfer schools?
You might find that your child is completely rejecting the idea of moving schools and settling into a new environment, and this can be very difficult to deal with.
This can occur for a number of reasons, such as mental health issues, fear of not making friends, fearing that they will be behind on schoolwork or general low mood due to a change in environment. No matter the reason, it’s important to try and understand and consider your child’s feelings by communicating effectively.
If you have tried everything to encourage a return to school, and nothing is successful, you will possibly need to seek help from your child’s new school, as well as authorities. This might require research on who to contact if their attendance is a major concern, based upon the area you live in. Alternatively, be sure to check out our article on school refusals and how you can help your child.
When in contact with your child’s school, you must try to keep a positive relationship with everyone involved. Although it can be a stressful time for not only you and your child, their headteacher, education committee and their teachers are also being actively affected. With tension already high for each party, you don’t want to be causing more tension between everyone, plus they are there to help.
To access some additional tips from a professional opinion, visit the Young Minds website. If your child is refusing to attend due to an ongoing mental illness or low mood, maybe look into a referral to Young Minds Matter or any other helplines for young people.