Parental responsibility and your child’s education
If your child is approaching school age and needs to start school in September 2019 you need to complete your application for their place at a primary school soon (the deadline for admissions being 15 January 2019).
But what if there is a disagreement on aspects of a child’s education?
Choosing a child’s school
All those with Parental Responsibility (PR) for a child have the right to be involved in major decisions about that child, including in relation to the child’s education. It is important to remember that although it is often the child’s biological parents that have PR for a child in some circumstances others may share PR, like a step-parent, guardian or grandparent.
If your child usually lives with you, you may be used to making day-to-day decisions about their arrangements. Once you start thinking about school applications you may find it helpful to discuss your intentions with the other parent (or those with PR) as soon as possible. This might include you discussing your reasons for selecting a particular school, inviting them to visit the school and sharing important information about the school. Ideally you will be able to agree on the proposed school and make the relevant application together.
If agreement can’t be reached:
Of course things are not always that simple and if agreement is not reached, you may need assistance to resolve matters.
You may wish to instruct a solicitor to correspond on your behalf about the arrangements for the child. Your solicitor can also discuss with you other forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative law.
If agreement is not reached, either parent may decide to make a court application for a Specific Issue Order, for the Court to determine the specific issue about the child’s schooling. If an application is made, the Court will order what they think is in the child’s best interest; the child’s welfare being the Court’s paramount consideration. The Court’s decision will still have to take into account the school’s availability to accommodate the child.
It is important to seek legal advice in advance of issuing an application at Court as, once the Court are involved with the child, they could make other orders about the arrangements for that child, even if that wasn’t the intention in your initial application.