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Author Topic: Schools approach to seperated parents  (Read 2224 times)

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Offline bobbleyTopic starter

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Schools approach to seperated parents
« on: May 11, 2010, 09:00:17 PM »
Thought I would share an issue a friend has had - as i wonder how many schools are confused by single or shared parenting arrangements.

Her ex walked into the school and completed a removal from school for holiday form - had it signed and then shoved it in her face to notify her he was taking child on holiday and had schools okay - even thought this was first she knew about the plans.
Not once did they check with resident parent - despite knowing of the situation.

She challenged the schools policy and has now successfully got a change to ensure both parents sign to allow a child to be removed from school in case of separation/divorce. However his permission could not be withdrawn.

I find it bewildering that the school was not more clued up - especially as so many of us are in the same boat.

Offline Run DM&C

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2010, 09:48:16 PM »
A policy of needing both signatures would actually cause me problems as my ex would probably refuse to sign if it was something I wanted just to be awkward

In the 7 years since we divorced he has never set foot in the school grounds, refuses to attend parents evenings, doesn't ask how kids are doing.
He has moved house 5 times, mobile number changed several times and has never informed school of change of details.
I now refuse to change details on his behalf so his details are not included on the kids data sheet

Both school and after school club will not let him take kids without me saying so first and giving him a password.

Not worried about him taking kids out for a holiday though as he hasn't taken them on holiday for the last 7 years so doubt he will start now!!

I think each case needs to be viewed individually depending on the circumstances and relevant staff need to be informed of protocol for each child
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Offline LAK

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2010, 10:21:40 PM »
At my children's school holiday forms can only be completed by the resident parent so if my ex wants to take them away I do the form.

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Offline Pheonix

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2010, 10:49:26 PM »
I would hate having to get my exs permission to take my son on holiday in school time

so I dont think a sweeping rule like that would work, some absent parents have little or nothing to do with their children

I dont think a resident parent should need the other parents signature but if a non resident parent is asking for it then the school should seek approval from the resident parent.

In the case of joint custody, then both signatures should be required

Complicated isnt it?  ???

Offline Run DM&C

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 11:10:34 PM »
I think you've summed that up pretty well Phoenix  ;D
'Life should  NOT  be a journey to the grave with the intention of  arriving  safely in an attractive and well preserved  body, but rather  to skid in sideways -   Chardonnay   in one  hand - chocolate in  the other - body thoroughly used up,  totally worn out and   screaming 'WOO  HOO, What a  Ride

Offline Pheonix

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 11:25:09 PM »
Funny...... because I read it back and it made no sense ....but it is late ;D

Offline skittle

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2010, 12:24:02 AM »

Quote
She challenged the schools policy and has now successfully got a change to ensure both parents sign to allow a child to be removed from school in case of separation/divorce.

That sounds ridiculous and totally unworkable in many cases.

School and LEA staff must treat all parents equally, unless there is a court order limiting an individual's exercise of parental responsibility.


So surely the father had as much right to ask permission as the mother. 

Having said that if the holiday is during time the child usually spends with their mother, she doesn't have to agree just because the school gives permission.  However, would hope that she would not then think it was ok for her to take the child out of school on holiday.


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Offline Aly

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2010, 07:11:01 AM »
That would have to be something which would need to be assessed on each individual case, otherwise it would cause me immeasurable problems, and the consequences don't bear thinking about. My youngest's 'father' was so abusive to all 3 of my children that social services were going to place them on the 'at risk' register. Had to get an injunction against him, and he was eventually charged with offences against me and another woman (the children's abuse wasn't used because of their ages) and went to trial. However the trial collapsed because the other victim went to pieces and refused to testify and he walked free.
So if this was a blanket policy he would be free to take her out of school, and carry on his abuse with the blessing of the school?

Offline Pheonix

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2010, 10:04:12 AM »
As has been said permission to take child out of school and the resident parent actually complying with it are 2 different things, just because the Dad has gained permission from the school doesnt mean the resident parent has to comply surely, unless that was time the child was spending with the Dad anyway.


Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2010, 10:21:27 AM »
I would have thought that schools need to mindful of the individual child's circumstances. My daughter's circumstances are radically different from most people's so I am unlikely to come up against this kind of issue, but I can see this is not an easy area....
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Offline Mia

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2010, 08:26:33 PM »
Devil's advocate comment coming up...  surely the school staff can't be expected to know the individual circumstances of each child at all times?  That just doesn't seem workable at all. Surely there needs to be a standard policy which then has some degree of flexibility for exceptional circumstances to be discussed with the Head?
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Offline Sharon J

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2010, 08:29:01 PM »
Devil's advocate comment coming up...  surely the school staff can't be expected to know the individual circumstances of each child at all times?  That just doesn't seem workable at all. Surely there needs to be a standard policy which then has some degree of flexibility for exceptional circumstances to be discussed with the Head?

I agree with you Mia - IF there are "special" circumstances relating to particular children then I wouldhave thought that its the parents responsibility to inform the school - then they can make a note on the childs file.
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Offline elliefreya

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2010, 09:27:28 PM »
Devil's advocate comment coming up...  surely the school staff can't be expected to know the individual circumstances of each child at all times?  That just doesn't seem workable at all. Surely there needs to be a standard policy which then has some degree of flexibility for exceptional circumstances to be discussed with the Head?


Surely each child IS an individual, and actually, I think it IS the school's responsibility to know the individual circumstances about each child. That is the whole basis of ensuring a child's safety, that the staff are aware of any issues and able to act accordingly. If staff are unaware of individual circumstances then that is exactly when problems arise and children can be put in danger.

Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2010, 08:15:43 AM »
Good point, Elliefreya, re staff knowing each child individually. Of course, staff need to be informed, but what kind of education are our kids getting if the staff don't actually know them, apart from anything else?

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Offline Aly

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 08:16:43 AM »
I agree that if the school don't know the circumstances then they can't act accordingly. I also agree that the school should know each individual child's circumstances BUT...how are they going to know if the parents don;t tell them? It has to be a collaboration between school and parent; I have a meeting with my youngest daughter's head this morning for exactly this reason; I had hoped I could put the past behind us when we moved and started a fresh life, but I am not happy that the school isn't aware of what's gone before so I am going in to give her an outline of my ex's past, his abuse, trial etc and to let them know that under no circumstances is he allowed to collect my daughter. Ther's very little chance he can, as he has no idea where we are but even a million to one chance is too high for me.

Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 01:47:50 PM »
Yes, Aly, best to do that for your own peace of mind.
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Offline Aly

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2010, 03:27:27 PM »
It's fortunate that I did make the decision to see the head and give her an outline of past events, as my daughter's old school, despite numerous calls from new school, has still failed to send my daughter's files or information on, so the new school had absolutely no idea that there was (or could be) an issue regarding her father. It's dreadful that there is such a lack of communication between schools/agencies etc. I did think long and hard about seeing the head as I didn't want to resurrect the story yet again (it opens up old wounds) but I'm glad I did or they wouldn't have known a thing.

Offline bobbleyTopic starter

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 07:50:57 PM »
Wow - what a lot of different experiences - i must get my friend to read them.

So many different rules - so it goes to show that if it doesn't work at your school the way you want it to - it is possible to get it changed to be more flexible. Still a lot of schools are restricting hols in school time now - not that a week sick isn't used by some ( can be a way out if ex doesn't agree to sign form).

Well worth checking with after school clubs as to collection arrangements as I have heard of cases where the father collected when the mother is supposed to collect. Parental responsibility is not clearly understood by all settings.

Offline K72

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2010, 09:06:07 AM »
I am a teacher and so have some idea from the other side.

In a school with 360+ pupils it is very difficult to know all the circumstances of everyone and unfortunately, parentas dont always explain situations to us, either because of privacy or they think it isnt relevant! Class teachers are usually aware of specific situaions if we have been informed but we certainly couldnt expect the office staff to know about everyone.

Sadly, if both paerents have parental responsibilty, there is very little we can do with regards to picking the child up from school etc. If an absent parent turned up at the end of the day, we would not be physically allowed to stop them. I can completely empathise that this is a difficult situation but we just don't have those powers. If there was some sort of order in place then obviously the situation is different. Also, if a parent turned up during the middle of the day, I am sure common sense would prevail and some sort of question would be raised as you aren't allowed to take children out of school without warning!

With regard to holidays ( sorry to be boring but I dont condone them in school time anyway as the children miss so much and it is disruptive but I completely understand the cost issue as I always have to pay the school hols premium!!) yes the school can give permission but that's for the absence from school at their discretion its not necessarily permission for the parent to take the child from the resident parent, does that make sense?!  The father still needs permission from the other parent surely!? I googled about permission from absent parents about goign on holiday and techincally, if he doesnt have your permission, he could be accused of abduction if he just took the child!?

And this too shall pass...

Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2010, 12:21:48 PM »
I googled about permission from absent parents about goign on holiday and techincally, if he doesnt have your permission, he could be accused of abduction if he just took the child!?



It is abduction if there is a residence order in place (even more so if there is a prohibited steps order). I don't know enough about other situations.

K72, I am a bit scared, especially after reading your post, that even if I take my orders in there could be a mistake and my daughter could be snatched :-\
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Offline Pheonix

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2010, 01:04:49 PM »
Your childs teacher should always be aware who is allowed to take your child from school and who is not

When my oldest was in primary school for the first 2 years they line up and teacher lets them go one by one when they can see who has arrived to collect the child, hence able to see if that person is a person with permission

once the children were in the third year they were just let out to run to whoever they recognised in the school playground , very worrying

It is impossible for teachers to know at all times each childs situation in detail , what is the case on a friday may have changed by monday, it is the parents responsibility to make sure they let the school know of a particular situation that may cause the child harm, e.g a disgruntled ex partner who may possibly adduct child

Helen if you are particularly worried ask for an appointment with the head, your childs teacher and any other person e.g. classroom assistant that might be charged with letting your child go at the end of the day and make it clear who and who is not allowed to take your child from school.


Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2010, 02:24:38 PM »
Thanks, Phoenix :) My child is actually at nursery and they are brilliant. They have got all the relevant documents and have been very, very supportive all the way through the ordeal of us both being with my ex and its aftermath.(They have a very strict policy relating to pick-ups, in any case, which would make an abduction almost impossible.)

I was merely thinking that I feel more and more uncomfortable about her going to school (e.g. already not pleased that she'll have to go to after school club, might not even be able to get into a school with one etc etc)
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Offline Aly

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2010, 02:25:41 PM »
When I eventually found the courage to leave my exh, I took the kids and fled to a women's refuge. That was on the Friday...on the Tuesday he realised we weren't there and reported me to the police for abducting my own daughter. I then had the police on my back, leaving messages on my mobile phone which I couldn't pick up because I had no credit. When I did finally top up my phone the police had been looking for me for a week...they had even paid my elderly mother a visit at 11.30 at night, hammering on the door and searching the property for me as they didn't believe I wasn't there. Scared the crap put of her. It was only when I hsterically told them I was in a refuge having fled from DV that they backed off. So even though I am her mother, and we were in a refuge, the fact that I had fled without his permission led to an investigation into abduction. Slightly off topic I know but just illustrating the abduction thing.

Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2010, 09:00:15 PM »
Like so much of family law, there seems to be so little consistence! When I did a runner with my child, I phoned up a helpline and was told that it was perfectly okay to do what I had done, as I had parental responsibility (mind you, he didn't complain to the police, possibly at least in part because it was Christmas and he knew the arrangement had been to go to my parents')
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Offline K72

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2010, 03:05:58 PM »
Helen

Your child cant be snatched if there is specific order in place- the school should be made aware of these and would act accordingly.

I really didnt mean to scare you!! Im sorry if I did. Children cant just be removed from school during the school day- you would be expeceted to put in writing that they need to leave and this should state a vaild reason eg dental appointment and in our school, we always let the office know if we have notificationso that they are aware too and teh child has to be collected from the office. At the end of the school day- if you are due to pick your child up then you need to ensure that you are there in plenty of time and wait near where they leave so that there is no possibilty of anyone else collecting your child. I fyou have serious concerns, I would speak to the school.

K xx
And this too shall pass...

Offline helencitauk

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2010, 06:32:38 PM »
Thanks, K. Do you reckon what you said re the end of the school day holds true if my daugther goes to after school club as well? x
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Offline K72

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Re: Schools approach to seperated parents
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2010, 03:01:43 PM »
At my son's after school club when you enrol your child you fill in a form of people permitted to collect your child from the club, you also have a passsword so that even if it was just my Mum collecting my son, she has to use it.

I would enquire about the security and safeguarding (thats the real buzz word with OFSTED at the mo) at the club and ask them about who they allow to collect from the club.

Hope that helps
K xx
And this too shall pass...

 

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