Providing legal services to the people and businesses of Brentwood since 1850

Separated parents and choosing schools

17th March 2021 | Alisha Francis

For separated parents, deciding on a school choice can cause serious complications if they are not in agreement.

As with any family matter, the first step is always to discuss concerns with the other parent or anyone else who has parental responsibility.

Sometimes, it is simply not possible for parents to reach an agreement between themselves and they may require the assistance of a mediator or lawyer to help them talk thorough their issues or opinions.

If an agreement still cannot be reached with the help of a third party, then the parents are able to refer the matter to the court by making an application for a Specific Issue Order. The court will consider both parent’s positions and make a final decision as to where the child should attend school.

Anyone with parental responsibility for a child, may apply for a Specific Issue Order as they have the right, duty and obligation to decide how the child is educated.

When making decisions regarding children, the courts are guided by the welfare checklist as set out in the Children Act 1989. The court will always consider what is in the child’s best interests as their primary concern is the welfare of the child.

The courts may also consider the wishes and feelings of the child, depending on their age and understanding as well as their physical, emotional, and educational needs.

Aside from the practicalities of choosing a school e.g. how the child will get to school, the academic credentials and any necessary access to learning support, it is important to remember that the primary focus of any application regarding children should be to act in their best interests with full consideration of their welfare.

Our family team at Landons are active members of Resolution and would be happy to discuss any enquires surrounding child arrangements or specific issues with you. We are currently offering our free 30 minute consultations by pre-arranged appointment in our “COVID secure” office, by telephone or by Zoom video call. Please contact us on [email protected] or 01277 210021 to schedule an appointment.