At this time of year if your child is in their last year of primary schooling or due to start next September, the choice about which primary of secondary school your child should attend needs to be considered so that the application to that school can be made.
What happens if you can’t agree which school your child should attend or believe that your child’s school is going to be chosen by the other parent without you both having 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:
- Which school is best for your child – visit the school on open days with your child and the other parent, if possible. Which school do you think your child be happiest in to enable them to reach their full potential? Which school offers better facilities or opportunities? Which school are your child’s friends going to?
- Will the change of school affect the existing arrangements for contact with both parents i.e. are you still both able to collect/drop off your child at the same time or does the distance prevent this?
- Share all of the information you obtain with the other parent and try to agree the school choice. 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 or involve your child within the decision, if they are of an appropriate age.
- Seek specialist legal advice early – if it looks like you can’t agree which school is best for your child, time is of the essence, especially with the application needing to be submitted before a required day.
What is the resolution?
If you cannot agree which school your child should attend, or an application for the school choice has already been submitted, 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 your child when making their decision so doing the groundwork set out above will put you in the best position.
We’ve also produced an article for those who believe that their child’s school is going to be changed by the other parent without both parents agreeing to it.