What should you do if you can’t agree which school your child should attend or believe that your child’s school is going to be changed by the other parent without you agreeing to it?
If you both have ‘parental responsibility’ for your child you are both responsible for making major decisions concerning them, including the choice of school. The court expects parents to work together to resolve any issues between themselves before involving the court.
I recommend you think about the following:
- How the change of school would affect your child – would the new school offer better facilities or opportunities? Would it impact on your child leaving friends or would a fresh start be beneficial?
- How the change of school may affect the existing arrangements for contact with both parents i.e. whether you are both still able to collect/drop off your child at the same time or does the distance prevent this?
- Obtain details of the proposed new school and visit it, if possible, so that you can speak to the head teacher to make sure you understand the potential benefits or drawbacks before you discount a proposed change.
- If you are the parent proposing the change, share all that information with the other parent and try to agree the move. If you struggle to talk face to face you could arrange a session with a mediator to give you a space away from your child to talk it through.
- Seek specialist legal advice early – if it looks like you can’t agree what is best for your child, time is of the essence especially if an application needs to be made to the court to request/prevent a new school placement.
If you cannot agree which school your child should attend, or an application to change the school has already been made you can apply to the court for a ‘specific issue order’ to decide which school your child should attend. The court will look at what is best for the child when making their decision so doing the groundwork set out above will put you in the best position.
An application can be made on an urgent basis and, if required and possible the court can hear the case on the same day an application is submitted to ensure your child’s welfare is not adversely affected by your disagreement as parents.