Changing schools

The transfer process

The transfer process involves relevant information about the student being exchanged between schools. Students remain enrolled at the original school until a transfer is received from their new school.

Starting the transfer process

Speak to your child's school about transferring to a new school. The principal can help you and your child through the process and make sure the new school receives reports and other information to help them make the best arrangements for your child.

Materials and services charge

Students who paid the materials and services charge but leave the government system during the course of the school year may be eligible for a refund. The amount refunded depends on the materials and services provided.

Confidential transfer

The transfer process can be done confidentially to help parents and carers who are:

  • escaping an unsafe environment
  • reluctant to enrol their children in a new school if the previous school will know their child's whereabouts.

The process enables public schools to support the families request for confidentiality and:

  • fulfil obligations of compulsory attendance and enrolment in a school
  • maintain higher security about the whereabouts of the student for care and protection purposes
  • maintain obligations for information transfer and enrolment of the child.

The confidential student transfer process has been designed by the education department in collaboration with the Office for Women's Domestic Violence Services and SAPOL.

For more information about confidential transfer to another school contact Engagement and Wellbeing on 8226 1989.

Adjusting to the new school

The principal has processes in place to help your child adjust to the new environment. For example, some schools have buddy systems with other students so that new students have a welcoming experience from the beginning.

Even for students who are looking forward to it, a change in school may cause feelings of distress about:

  • the loss of friends and familiar surroundings
  • finding their way around new buildings
  • not knowing where to find the toilets
  • dealing with new groups of children
  • getting used to different rules
  • adjusting to different teachers and classrooms
  • being lonely or unhappy until new friends are made
  • fitting into a group.

Signs of stress include:

  • being irritable, grumpy, short tempered, disagreeable
  • not wanting to talk
  • sleep disturbance
  • stomach aches, head aches, not wanting to go to school.

The teacher or principal can provide support and advice if your child is having difficulty settling in - contact the school and make a time to discuss the issues.

Ways to support your child with starting at a new school

  • Involve your child as much as possible when you are choosing the new school.
  • Visit the school with your child and show them around before their first day.
  • Meet the new teachers.
  • Find out about the school rules.
  • Find opportunities to meet other parents and children from the new school.
  • Remind your child that making friends takes time.
  • Encourage them to invite new friends home.
  • Be a good listener without asking too many questions.
  • Take your child's feelings seriously even if they seem trivial.
  • Be supportive but try not to give advice too quickly.
  • Make allowances for tiredness and irritability.
  • Be on time if you are picking up your child from school.
  • Show that you believe in your child's ability to cope.
  • Keep in contact with important friends from their previous school.

Related information

On this site



Department for Education

Was this page useful?

Take a moment to tell us why.

If you need a response, send an enquiry instead.

Page last updated 20 March 2019

Provided by:
Department for Education
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2020