Parental Responsibility and a School's role
Schools can often feel stuck in the middle when it comes to estranged parents. The Courts have been very clear about a school's role when it comes to dealing with parents. It is not a school's job to mediate between parents. The law is very clear on Parental Responsibility (PR) and a school's role is to ensure that this is explained to both parents and that its responsibility remains with the child. We are frequently asked about the rights of parents with PR and whilst personal circumstances can add to the complexity of PR, the principles remain very simple. If a person has PR (and there is no court order in place) they are entitled to information about their child. They also have a right to attend parents evening, express a preference when it comes to choosing a school for their child, be notified of their right to appeal against their child's exclusion, be involved in obtaining a statement of SEN and stand for parent governor elections.
If there is a court order in place, it is important that the school has a copy of this. It is important that the school follows the court order carefully and is not following the advice of one parent within what can be a very hostile situation. In complex situations, schools can agree specific arrangements with the parents around contact and information sharing but it is important that this doesn't go against the terms of any court order; it is agreed by both parents and is reviewed regularly.
If you would like more information please contact Bethan Jones.