Advice Column, Education, Mainstream Education


  • Abbotts Colleges
  • Category Advice Column, Education, Mainstream Education

Much like starting a job and staying with the company until retirement age is a thing of the past, so too is the idea that one must attend only one primary school and one high school during the entirety of one’s schooling journey, no matter what.

Yes, it is the ideal and stability and the ability to form and build lasting friendships during one’s schooling journey is important. However, the reality is that the need for some children to change schools during their primary school and high school years is becoming more and more common place.

Parents change schools for a myriad of reasons, including:

  • Emigration and semigration,
  • Convenience (closer to parent’s new job or on a transport route),
  • Quality of education,
  • Class sizes,
  • School environment (sense of safety, issues of bullying) and
  • A child’s request for a change.

What is important to note is that changing schools is a big decision and one not to be taken lightly. It is important that parents carefully consider and evaluate reasons for wanting to change schools before doing so.

Reasons that are unwise and often lead to disappointment and ANOTHER move include:

  • Blaming the teacher if your child performed poorly in an assessment,
  • Not getting your way when wanting to change your child’s teacher or class,
  • A disagreement with your child’s teacher,
  • The school not offering the subject choices in a way that your child prefers,
  • Your child not getting into the first team of his or her sporting discipline and
  • Your child being “in the wrong crowd”.

In such cases, rational communication is key. A useful tip is to focus on facts and try to eliminate emotions from the equation. Where applicable, meet with your child’s teacher to discuss your concerns and receive feedback from the teacher. See the teacher as your partner and know that he/she wants your child to succeed.

Consider your reasons for wanting to change classes. Is it because your child wants to be in a friend’s class? Is it because this teacher seems strict and places high academic demands on students? Is it because you feel the teacher is useless and a different teacher will teach your child better? Once again, meet with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress. If you are still concerned about the standard of teaching, discuss this with the person’s line manager. Most good schools will investigate allegations of poor teaching practice and will be able to provide parents with feedback and, where need be, take steps if the allegations prove to be true.

When it comes to subject choices, these are carefully considered by high schools, bearing in mind what is required for tertiary studies for the various faculties and courses. Even at tertiary level, students will have to take subjects they do not necessarily want to, and they will not get to mix and match as they like.

Moving a child because you are concerned about their friendship choices is also not a good idea. Likeminded people seek each other out and your child will find the same “crowd” within minutes of starting at a new school.

There are however good and valid reasons for wanting to change schools, including:

  • The school not dealing with issues of bullying and turning a blind eye to discipline issues,
  • Your child feeling unsafe at school,
  • Unapproachable teachers,
  • Little to no communication regarding your child’s poor performance in assessments, including the surprise factor when reports are issued,
  • Non-alignment with the school’s values and policies and
  • Lack of academic focus.

If you realise a school is not the right fit for your child and family, it is best to make the change to a new school as soon as possible. At Abbotts College, we enrol students all year round. Support your child to catch up on work they did not cover at the previous school.

When finding a new school for your child, you must ensure you do your homework. Visit prospective schools’ websites, arrange a tour of the schools you are interested in and arrive armed with questions to ensure that you make the right choice and that there will be no need for another move.

And finally, do not remove your child from their current school until they have been accepted at another school. You do not want to be in a position where you cannot secure a space for your child at a school.

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