Moving school if you are being bullied

Estimated read: 6 minutes 

Moving schools is not always the answer. You might think that it would be a good idea to move to a new school if you're child is being bullied but the reality is that there is bullying in all schools, although some deal with it better than others.

Key points: 

  • There are often long waiting lists for good schools and although you can appeal to the local council for a place, there's no guarantee you would get one
  • if the new school is full, you may need to speak to the Local Authority and see if you can put an appeal in place
  • If your child is transferring from a previous school and you're worried that he/she may have issues, contact the head of year at the school before the end of the summer term so they are aware
moving school because of bullying

All the best schools are already full and it is not always the case that you will get preferential treatment to get into a good school because you're being bullied, or because you're staying at home due to bullying.

You may end up being allocated to a less popular school and less popular often means poorer exam results and discipline problems.

There are often long waiting lists for the best schools and although your parents can appeal to the local council for a place, there's no guarantee you would get one.

Other things to consider are:

  • the new school may be further away and inconvenient and expensive to get to
  • the cost of the new uniform
  • it may be difficult to settle into a class where everyone already has friends
  • the school may use a different exam board so the coursework could be different
  • could the problem be resolved with the input of the governors and LA?
  • missing current friends
  • do the bullies also have friends at the new school?

If you still want to change school then you simply contact the new one, arrange to have a look around, and if you like it then you agree a start date between you. Things are more complicated if the new school is full. In that case you will need to get an appeal form from the Local Authority. Church schools and schools that are not goverened by the Local Authority have their own appeal arrangements. Sometimes, if your reason for moving is good enough, and the school is not over-full, the LA will simply agree to the transfer without an appeal.

Making an appeal

To give the best chance, it's helpful to have copies of letters to the head teacher, governors and LEA and from your doctor to show that you really have done all you can to try to sort the problem out. The more the parents can describe the reality of life for their child and the consequences they foresee should he or she be condemned to go to another school, the more persuasive the case is. Filling in the appeals form is your opportunity to make a strong case. Once you have got the date for your appeal, take someone with you for moral support. Our advice on making appeals has lots of helpful information. 

Further resources 

It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker. 

This page was updated on September 2021

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