What To Do if You Don’t Get Your School of Choice for Your Child

Jill Holtz

April 10, 2021

school of choice

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Didn’t get into your choice of your child’s primary or secondary school? It can feel very stressful and overwhelming to know what to do next.

Here are some suggestions for what to do if you don’t get the school of choice for your child:

What To Do if You Don’t Get Your School of Choice for Your Child

You have spent all that time carefully weighing up all the school options for your child, ,applying, going to open evenings, and now suddenly it feels like someone has punched you in the stomach when you hear that you didn’t get the school of choice for them.

Take a deep breath first of all. And know you are not alone, this happens to many families. We’ve put together a few suggestions for what you can do next should this happen to you.

#1. Don’t Panic

worried mother school of choice canva

First of all, do not panic. If you do, you may panic your child as well. Accept the offer you have received, so your child at least has a place at a school and review your options.

My daughter was on a waiting list for our first school of choice, just in case she wasn’t offered a place we researched other schools too. Luckily we did as she ended up going to a different school which offered her more of the subjects choices she wanted.

#2. Remember That You Are Not Alone

In the UK 1 in 5 children could miss out on their school of choice this year. There are no numbers available for Irish families, but knowing others are experiencing the same problem does help, you are not alone.

Remember, it’s worth checking with your child’s friends parents to see what their situation is as they may also have been offered a place at a different school too.

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#3. Do You Have Grounds to Appeal?

school of choice appeals process

Next steps are to find out if you can appeal the decision and what is required for appealing. Ask the school to provide you with details on what their appeal process is.

If you are in the UK, it is your legal right to appeal to any of the schools on your original application. There is no need for a solicitor but a number of organisations, including the Good Schools Guide, can provide assistance. Madeformums.com have some useful tips on how to appeal.

If you are in Ireland, under the Section 29 appeals process, a parent can challenge the decision of a school’s board of management to refuse their child a school place to the Department of Education.

#4. Take a Better Look at Other Choices

They might offer more than you thought initially! In the end your second or third choice may actually work better for your child. Even if you feel it’s not as good a school, you can always enrol your child in extra-curricular activities to supplement the school activities.

You should leave your child on the waiting list of your first choice school. And you can always look at reapplying next year, just because they didn’t get in this year doesn’t mean they won’t get in next year or the year after.

Sometimes places become available during the year too, although your child might not want to move mid year, so keep in touch with the school to find out if places do become available.

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#5. Consider Homeschooling

If it’s feasible for your family and your situation, and you cannot find a school for your child then you may consider homeschooling until you can get them into a school. There are some good homeschooling resources available online.

Whatever you end up doing, know that your child will be okay because they have you looking out for them and that you are doing everything you can to give them what they need.

Just hang in there, and good luck!

What to Do if You Don’t Get Your School of Choice for Your Child

Like this? Share it with your network!

Like this? Share it with your network!

Published On: April 10th, 2021 / Categories: For Parents, School / Last Updated: October 14th, 2022 / Tags: , , , /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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