Changing schools and home education
Unresolved bullying can be a reason why families look to change schools, or home educate. Your child may feel afraid to go to school, or you might be considering whether they would be safer and happier elsewhere.
My child won’t go to school
Bullying can have a serious impact on a child’s life, so it’s important to take any fear of going to school or school refusal seriously.
In the short term, it is your parental right to keep your child off school if bullying is impacting on their physical/mental health. The school will want your child back in school as much as you do: communicate what is happening with the school and see what they can do to help your child come back.
Not Fine In School has detailed information about what to do and your rights if your child is refusing to go to school.
Talk with your child
Is moving school something that they’d like to do? Discuss the pros and cons, and consider as a family all the available options.
Applying for a new school
Applying for a new school is the same process as when you applied for their original school. Contact your Local Education Authority to find out about the process in your area. Applying can often be done through their website, although some academies, free schools and independent schools may require you to apply directly. Keep in mind that it may take some time before a place becomes available.
Build confidence before the move
Changing schools may make the bullying stop, but it’s likely that your child’s confidence will have taken a knock and they may find making new friends a frightening or difficult experience. Make sure your child is equipped with confidence and assertiveness skills before the move (see Kidscape ZAP workshops).
Elective home education
Home education can be a temporary solution as you wait for a new school place, and you may feel it is the best option for your child long term. Don’t remove your child from the school roll until you’ve have explored all options and sought advice and talked through with your child, family and support networks.
Home education is legal in the UK, although you will need to go through certain processes to ensure authorities are aware your child is being home educated. These vary by country in the UK, and some local authorities may have different processes. You will also need support in home educating your child. Education Otherwise provide information about the law and a directory of local groups.
Red Balloon provide educational and therapeutic programmes to children who have been traumatised due to bullying or other reasons. This support is available at learner centres or online.
ZAP community workshops
ZAP workshops provide young people aged 9-16 with a range of tools to increase assertiveness, build confidence and help manage bullying situations. ZAP has been running for many years and is proven to significantly reduce experiences of bullying.