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Moving schools

(10 Posts)
itwasarubythatshewore Tue 10-Sep-13 09:08:07

Not sure where to start with this or how much information to give, but basically I would like my DS (just gone into year 1) to move schools because I am really unhappy with the school he is at. I don't want to write a huge essay but the summary is that he is really struggling with reading, his first year of school has not been a happy experience for him and I am not at all confident in the school's ability, or interest, to turn this around.

There are two schools very close to each other, A & B. B (is actually closer to my house) was my first choice and A my second. B was massively over subscribed so only children who lived about 0.25 mile got in. I was actually happy with A based on an old Ofsted but realised there were problems quite soon into his reception year. The head was replaced, the received a Needing Improvement report last year and another this year.

I did raise some concerns but nothing really happened and I haven't followed them up really, which I need to do. I looked at the forms for moving schools and I know I will have to give reasons for wanting him to move. What are considered good enough reasons? What steps will I need to take with his current school before it would be considered? His current school is CofE and very religious - could I say we have changed our feelings about that, or would that be wrong/futile? WWYD? We are working very hard with him with the reading, although feel out of our depth and looking for tutors in the meantime, but I really just want him to be getting support and good teaching at school. I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice.

ReallyTired Tue 10-Sep-13 09:15:01

Its horrible when you feel worried about the standard of teaching at your child's school. Are you on the waiting list for school B?

Would you like me to suggest web sites where you can get help teaching your son to read? I don't think you need a tutor at this age if you read up on the best ways of teaching a child to read. It isn't that hard to teach your child if you know the right way to go about it. I think that mixed methods confuses children and make it a thousand times harder. I suppose the huge challenge you have is that you need your child to change schools to get away from the mixed method teaching.

The reading reform website has lots of information on teaching a child to read and you might be able to find a tutor if you want to go down that route.

titchy Tue 10-Sep-13 09:22:30

You don't have to justify your reasons one bit. You don't need your current school's permission either. You should be on the waiting list for your preferred school, if not get on it. If a place comes up and you're at the top of the waiting list you should be offered it and you move. As simple as that. The difficult bit is waiting for a vacancy..... Have you looked at other schools?

itwasarubythatshewore Tue 10-Sep-13 09:30:29

He's not on a waiting list, no. I called the school I would like him to move to and they told me they didn't have one and that it had to be handled by the council. I was directed by them and the education department at the council to complete this form and on the form it asks for detailed reasons and for you to state what you have done to resolve any issues before applying. His current school will be told as soon as I make the request.

Thanks for the link ReallyTired. I have to go to work, but will come back to that later.

titchy Tue 10-Sep-13 09:38:12

Just complete an in-year application form and send to your LEA. They are not supposed to discuss anything with your current school, it has no bearing on your eligibility for your preferred school, that is just based on how you meet the admissions criteria.

titchy Tue 10-Sep-13 09:38:44

If they do insist you use their form leave that section blank.

ReallyTired Tue 10-Sep-13 09:46:53

Local authorities have the right to use a fair access protocal to enable children who are difficult to place to get a school place. In those sort of circumstances your child would take priority over children who are higher up the waiting list for a school place. For example if your family had moved 30 miles, or your son had been permamently excluded from a different school or your child had medical reasons for changing school then you might get preferental treatment. Otherwise your name will just be added to the waiting list.

tiggytape Tue 10-Sep-13 09:53:30

Some council forms ask you to explain why you wish to leave, make you confirm you have taken the matter up with the Head and ask you to get the current school to sign that form. It can be very intimidating and is designed to put you off.

However, you do not need a good reason or any reason to apply for a new school and you can tell the council that you will not be filling in that section / asking permission to leave. Tell them you know it is not required but will happily refer it to the LGO if they insist.

All of that aside though:
- Can you try to resolve things at the current school? Sometimes you have to be quite firm and ask for updates, more intervention, more help etc. Have you spoken to the school SenCo? Is DS definitely behind with his reading or is it a confidence thing? Is there a plan in place to help him?

- It may seem a fresh start would be the obvious solution but even 'good' schools can fail with struggling pupils and need just as much nagging prompting to give extra help so don't assume better Ofsted = better help offered. That isn't always the case at all.

- school B won't be able to accept you unless they have a spare place. They cannot create places for people wishing to move so unless somebody leaves, it will not be an option. You can look at other schools that do have vacancies but these might be further away.

I know you are fed up with them, but the immediate solution would be to speak with his current school and be very clear about what concerns you and what you expect. You may have to go above the class teacher to really insist on assessment and intervention and stay in touch with them frequently. Unfortunately getting help for a child in any school often involves a lot of nagging parental input.

itwasarubythatshewore Tue 10-Sep-13 22:23:10

Thank you all. These comments have been very helpful.

I spoke to the headmistress today and have got a meeting booked with his teacher and another manager next week. It was a very frustrating and cross-making telephone call and email exchange, but needed to be done anyway because even if I applied to change schools tomorrow, it wouldn't happen for a while and he needs help now.

I downloaded the form and will have another think before completing it.

tiggytape I take your point about how one can't be guaranteed that a different school is the answer, but I speak to mums at both schools and there is marked difference between how the parents at both feel. And it's not just the issue of how well he's doing - there are lots of other small(er) things that overall add up to somewhere I would like to get him out of now.

I'm not expecting perfection, but the current situation is really not great hmm

tiggytape Tue 10-Sep-13 23:14:46

I think you've done the right thing to try and sort things out (even if only in the short term).

My thinking was that it is good to exhaust all options before making a leap to another school and also, since he is is in Year 1, a move might be difficult depending on how full local schools are.
There is no flexibility to get him into a school if the Year 1 classes have 30 children because of the class size laws. You may be in an area where this still leaves lots of options but in many areas the Year 1 classes are often full which might mean that you might have to stay put until another family moves away to create a vacancy. It is therefore worth working as much as you can with the school just in case it takes a while to be able to find an alternative.

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