If your child is not settled at school, you might be thinking of moving them.
Try to sort out the problem first
A new school might be the right path for your child. But changing schools can be hard on children, especially if they have good mates or family members at their school, or if the new school is outside your local area.
Before you decide to change schools, it’s important to know that you have the right to bring up any concerns with the school your child is at now, and to get help with sorting them out.
Make sure school understands your child’s needs
The problem might be that the school isn’t giving your child the right help. This can show up in different ways. Some children go quiet at school. They might not be learning much, but they might not get a lot of attention because they’re not mucking up. Other children who need more help might muck up, because they’re embarrassed or frustrated.
That’s how it was for Stacey’s older boy. Luckily, Stacey moved him to a school that picked up his learning disability, and sent him for assessment. When the diagnosis came back, it changed how Stacey and his teachers saw him. He wasn’t trying to muck up – he just needed a different kind of help, so he could learn.
“Since we moved school, they’ve had an evaluation done on him, and it’s come back that he’s had receptive language disorder. We always thought it was him mucking up, and being a naughty kid. And couldn’t take in what school was trying to learn him … I’m rapt. I can’t believe the change in him, now that he’s actually in a school that knows how he’s thinking, and knows what’s going on. And knows that mum’s going to back the school up. That mum’s there. ” – Stacey
Sort out where your child will get the right help
All through years eight and nine, Aunty Faye knew that her boy wasn’t getting the help he really needed. He wasn’t getting in trouble, but he wasn’t reaching his potential. She was worried he might end up dropping out.
“For two years I’ve been in and out, ringing up, saying, ‘Why is he so low in this area?’ And I’d go in there and meet with the teachers, and they’d go, ‘We’ll put this in place’ – put it on paper. But at the end of the day, it didn’t apply in the classroom.
“The last meeting I had, they said, ‘We’ve got this program here’. I said, ‘Stop right there.’ I said, ‘Can you honestly tell me there will be a change by the end of the year? Because this boy’s education is important to me. And I’d put him somewhere else to help him.’ They said that might be a good idea.
I said to them, ‘This should have come out earlier, not in year nine. Because children are like big sponges. They fill so much, if they’re shown and taught the right way.” – Aunty Faye
Sometimes you might be able to sort out a problem like this. If school can understand what help your child needs, and can really give them that help, they might be able to stay put. Aunty Faye tried very hard to sort the problem out with the school. But in the end she decided her boy needed a different school, that would help him more. She looked around, and chose an alternative program in a Catholic school, where he’s now going very well.
Help your child if they change schools
Some families change schools because their child’s needs have changed. Rodney and Suzanna’s younger boy started primary school in a specialist school. But when he started talking, they moved him to a mainstream school where there were lots of other Aboriginal students.
Whatever the reason for moving school, your child will settle in much quicker if you can help. Rodney and Suzanna took the change one step at a time. They also had a big say in the help their son got at his new school.