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How to Apply to Change Schools | Moving Your Child Out of Area

If you are looking to change schools mid-year or even at the end of the year, you are going to want to know how to apply to change schools.

There are a multitude of considerations around whether or not this if the right move for you and your kids.

We help you when it comes to figuring out which catchment you’re in or giving you the low-down on how to get a private school scholarship.

But what are your options for state school education if you don’t like the catchment area you live in? Are there any schools in Brisbane has that will let you go there instead?

What’s the deal with catchments?

As you’d probably be aware, school catchments are divided along lines that dictate which schools children will automatically have a place in. If you live in a particular catchment, you should be guaranteed enrolment there upon application. We say should because there are some areas down south where selective schools means that catchment area children are being pushed out. That’s not really relevant in Brisbane at the time of writing this article and hopefully doesn’t become an issue.

Some Brisbane catchment areas, by nature of their geographic position and socio-economic factors, are more blessed than others. This means that there are a number of state schools that will seem like less attractive options by nature of comparison to others. That’s not to say that they’re bad schools – but they just might not seem like the right fit for your kids.

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Choosing schools in Brisbane outside of catchment

If you have a particular state school in mind, you can still apply there even if you are not in the catchment. There are provisos, though.

How to apply to change schools

When changing schools:

  • consider the timing of the move and if the move can coincide with the change of term
  • involve your children in discussions and decisions about moving—this may help allay any fears or concerns they have
  • if you are moving from another state, be aware that Year 6 is the final year of primary school in Queensland
  • discuss the forthcoming move with your current school and collect documentation outlining student achievement levels and education history—this will help with appropriate placement at the new school
  • prepare a list of your children’s particular needs e.g. preferred subjects, sporting and other interests, transport needs, extracurricular activities
  • consider subject choices, special education provisions, transport to and from school, vocational education programs, and cultural and sporting opportunities
  • consider behaviour management, discipline and uniform policies.

If your child is enrolling from a non-state school to a state school (or vice versa) in Queensland, the new school can request a transfer note (PDF, 209KB)  from the previous school. There is no need for parents or carers to complete any additional forms.

If your child has moved to Queensland from interstate, the new school can request consent from you to obtain your child’s information from the previous school using the interstate student data transfer note. This system enables the new school to support the educational placements of new students.

A transfer note is not required for students transferring their enrolment from one Queensland state school to another (including primary to secondary).

Help your child transfer to another school

  1. Meet with the school before the child starts.
  2. Talk to your child about what to expect.
  3. Get kids involved in school activities.
  4. Make time for old friends and new friends.
  5. Stay in touch and engaged with the new school.

You might secure enrolment if:

  • You apply early
  • All students who live in that catchment area are catered for
  • All classes at the school have an even spread of students
  • Non-catchment students won’t negatively impact the educational outcomes of the catchment students

You can phone 13QGOV for more information as it pertains to your school of choice.

Are there alternatives?

Another option for changing schools in Brisbane is your local catholic primary or high school. Brisbane Catholic Education fees are not as high as you might assume and it’s an option well worth investigating.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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