Co-parenting, education & school

Originally published on 24th September 2019 at 4:54 PM
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School is a major part of your children’s lives and a central pillar providing structure and social support, as well as academic opportunity. When you and their other parent separate, school may become particularly essential as a source of continuity and stability for your children.

Single parenting and education for your children

Your child(ren) may wish to keep your separation a secret from school, but it’s actually very important that their head teachers and class teachers know what’s going on so they can keep an eye on your children’s welfare and spot any worrying changes in their behaviour or performance.

Because school is such a major part of your children’s lives, it’s vital that you both show a keen and curious interest in what they do there, how they feel about it and ensure that you’re planning together for your children’s future academics.

Avoid only one parent “dealing” with the school (the legal bit)

All parents with parental responsibility are entitled to make decisions about their child’s education and receive information from the school even if, for day-to-day purposes, the school’s main contact is with the parent whom the children live with on school days.

Separated parents school policy and the law

Anyone with parental responsibility has the right to:

  • Receive information – such as pupil reports
  • Participate in statutory activities – such as voting in elections for parent governors
  • Be asked to give consent - such as to the child taking part in school trips (the school does not however need the consent of both parents and where a residence or child arrangement order is in place, will abide by the decision of the resident parent)
  • Be informed about meetings involving the child - such as a governors’ meeting on the child’s exclusion. As parents, you should agree moving to a different school together. If agreement cannot be reached, then amicable offers negotiation sessions to help resolve specific issues. Government guidance says that a school can refuse a place to a child if there is a dispute between parents and wait until the dispute has been settled by the court.

Here are some questions and considerations to work through:

  1. How do you propose communicating your separation to teachers (and any parents) at school?
  2. Have you arranged for duplicate information to be sent to each of you – does the school have all your up-to-date contact information?
  3. How will you organise attendance at school functions, such as parent’s evenings, school plays, sports day, etc?
  4. If options arise over which schools your children might attend, how would you hope to arrive at an agreed choice of school with the other parent?
  5. Who will pay for school activities or school meals?

For more help with co-parenting amicably, read our other blogs or a book a session with one of our co-parenting experts here.


Is there help with school fees for single parents UK?

ISC, or Independent Schools Council schools can potentially help with providing greater bursaries and funding for you children, even if you’re in co-parenting or parenting apart family model. You can find an ISC school here.

Are school admissions for separated parents different from married parents?

The school admissions processes don’t typically differentiate between separated or divorced parents, co-parents, and married parents. Schools generally focus on the legal guardianship and child arrangements outlined in official documentation, such as parenting plans, parenting contracts and court orders (e.g. a child arrangement order).

Which parent decides where a child goes to school?

The decision about where a child goes to school can vary depending on the circumstances and agreements between the parents. In many cases, it's a joint decision made by both parents, taking into consideration factors such as the child's needs, the quality of education available, proximity to home, and any special considerations like religious or cultural preferences.

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Co-parenting advice

Speak to an amicable Coach for help transitioning from parents to co-parents.

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