It’s that time of year again. Many parents and carers will have applied for their child to go to a particular school and it is now a case of wishing and hoping that their child gets in to the school of their choice.
Now is a good time to reflect on who should be involved in the process of choosing. Specifically, what right does someone with parental responsibility for your child have in selecting their school? People who have parental responsibility have the power to make important decisions that affects their child’s upbringing, including their education. It is important to remember that parental responsibility is something that may well be shared with other people, usually the other parent.
How much of a say do those other people with parental responsibility have in deciding your child’s school?
They have a right to be informed on your plans. They have a right to visit the proposed school and express their views on your choice of school. If they really do not agree with your proposed choice of school, then they will have to apply for a court order, called a specific issue order. This will mean that it will be a court who has to decide on what school your child should go to.
A change of school, let alone the thought of going to school, can be quite nerve wrecking for some children. So it is better to try and be amicable with the other parent/carer when deciding a child’s school.
Some tips to make a choice of school as smooth as possible include:-
- letting the other person know well in advance about your plans.
- try to explain your choice of school. Maybe it’s a good school, maybe its because a lot children from your child’s nursery will be going there, maybe because its very close to where you live. Whatever the reason, being upfront about your reasons will help the other person to understand.
- allow the other parent to participate in the process. For example, let them know when open evenings are.
If you do not feel comfortable discussing your child’s education with the other person face to face, then may be a third party can help. Alternatively mediation can be an excellent way of allowing both of you to share your views with someone who is independent. The idea being that by talking, the mediator can help you both reach a decision that is best for your child. After all, it is what is best for your child that matters.
The last resort is to apply for the specific issue order which I mentioned before. However, you will normally have to have tried mediation before you can apply to court.
If you have any questions about anything in this article, please call me, Imran Khodabocus of The Family Law Co on 01392 284 851. Sometimes problems choosing your child’s school, may be part of general problems you are experiencing in connection with your children. Therefore you may well need expert legal advice.
Providing that you qualify financially, you can still get legal aid for issues involving domestic violence. Even if you don’t qualify, your initial appointment is always free. Please don’t forget I can see you in Exeter or in our office in Taunton.