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My Child Did Not Get a School Place. What Can I Do?
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My Child Did Not Get a School Place. What Can I Do?

by Lyn SoppelsaApril 11, 2017

After all the research and preparation, culminating in the application and, perhaps, assessment, hopefully, you will receive an offer from your preferred school. It can be enormously disappointing for both you and your child, after all this effort, if you do not then receive the anticipated Acceptance letter.  If you are among the disappointed parents, there are still some proactive steps you can take, which will at least enable you and your child to understand why s/he was not successful.

Firstly, you are entitled to ask on what grounds no offer was made. Often there will have been siblings or other priority groups who have been offered places ahead of your child. Sometimes, it is a question of over-subscription and application timing. It can be that you have just been unlucky due to the final selection process related to class composition. For older students, who have sat a competitive entrance exam, they may well just not have done well enough on the day.

Do contact or visit the Admissions team to find out why your child was not selected this time. Speak to them about your child remaining on the waiting list. Children do drop out and not all families accept the places offered. If you can show how keen you are – without becoming a nuisance – your child will hopefully be top of mind if a place does become available. A gentle follow up is always more effective than an aggressive approach.

It may be that an offer was not made on specific grounds. Perhaps your child was nervous during the assessment and was not able to respond as the teachers had expected. Perhaps the teachers identified some form of additional learning requirement that they felt unable to support. Although this is a worrying time, do ask for as much feedback as possible and recommendations as to how best to address any concerns. Often Admissions staff and Early Years teachers will be able to suggest other schools or external specialists where you will receive the right support if this is needed.

Once you have applied to a school, you may also have the option to request that your child’s application is “rolled over” to the next academic year. You may feel that starting school a year later is the better option, either in the next year/grade or in the one applied for. If you, and the school, feel that delaying your child’s start at school or placing him/her in a lower year/grade is the appropriate step, it is possible for the school to seek approval from the Regulator for “demotion”. Bear in mind, though, that once demoted, a child cannot skip a year/grade to catch up.

Do also remember that not receiving an offer from your first choice school is likely to be a much bigger disappointment to you than it is to your child. A positive approach to the school that does offer a place is the best way forward for you and your child.

For older students aiming to transfer school, usually in order to change curriculum or to join a school you have short-listed academically, there may well be several reasons why the application has been unsuccessful this time. , The chances are that academic grounds (if there has been an entrance exam or based on public exam results), a lack of extra-curricular activities (to illustrate a well-rounded approach and non-academic skills), evidence of what you child can contribute to the school or the all-important interview will be among the reasons behind a lack of offer. Again, do follow up with the school to find out the reasons why. It may well be that these can be addressed and a new application made for the following academic year.

Whatever the outcome, a positive attitude towards the school that has offered a place (or if you decide to leave your child at his/her current school) is vitally important for your child – s/he needs to see that you are confident in the choice you have made. This should not prevent you, though, from considering other options for the longer term.

However, do take some time to be able to take into consideration how your child is getting on at your “second choice”. If s/he has settled well, is performing well academically and is happy socially, it may well be better to leave him or her where s/he is, rather than putting him/her through the upheaval of transfer – especially if there is no clear evidence that this will provide your child with a better academic outcome.

 

In this series:

MY CHILD DID NOT GET A SCHOOL PLACE. WHAT CAN I DO?
APPLICATION AND ASSESSMENT – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
CHOOSING A SCHOOL – WHAT MAKES A SCHOOL THE RIGHT ONE FOR MY CHILD?
MOVING TO THE UAE WITH CHILDREN: RULES AND REGULATIONS YOU SHOULD KNOW
THE SCHOOL VISIT CHECKLIST – WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR… 
THE CHOICE BETWEEN NEW AND ESTABLISHED SCHOOLS 
UAE SCHOOL ACCREDITATION: WHAT TO LOOK FOR, AND WHY? 
WHEN DO I START TO LOOK FOR A SCHOOL?
WHICH SCHOOL CURRICULUM SHOULD I CHOOSE? 

About The Author
Lyn Soppelsa