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With each new school term, opportunities and challenges for both you and your children are sure to unfold. This time is often more difficult for a child with co-parents in two separate homes.

 

When parents separate, it can sometimes be confusing as to which parent should be the main “contact” on the children’s school records, which parent gets the school report, which parent goes to parent’s evenings and so forth. Below are some ideas to help separated parents overcome these issues.

Complete a “”Parenting Plan”. A template is available on www.cafcass.gov.uk. The Plan is intended to help any parent whatever your situation and provides details of services that can help with developing skills, understanding your child’s needs, and getting support to make an agreement.  It can help provide a structure in terms of who the school will contact when the children are ill and who will collect the children from school.

 

Children of Junior School age or younger often have a narrow perception of the world and feel that everything happening around them is in some way related to what they have thought, felt, said or done. As a result, they often struggle with feeling responsible for their parents separating. It is important that you keep your children’s school informed as to the circumstances at home, so that they can provide the children with any support they may need. Many schools offer an “ELSA” (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) and these can prove to be a pillar of support for the children.

 

Liaise with the school in terms of what they can offer to separated parents. Many schools now have a system which allows the children to have two named addresses as their “home”, and school reports and newsletters can be emailed to both parents.

 

Try to handle issues together as parents. If your child has any learning or behavioural issues, ensure that you tackle these together as a team to make sure your child is fully supported. This can prove difficult if parents have opposing views, but in this instance try to take on board the input of your child’s teacher and other professionals.

 

If possible, attend important school events together – assemblies, school plays, sports days as well at the inductions and parent’s evenings. If this would not work under your circumstances ensure that information is shared. Many schools have a mailing list so that parents can be updated via email newsletters of events and news from the school. Making sure that letters and reports are passed on is also vital for joined up parenting.

For any further information and advice, please contact our Family Department on 01256 844888 or email julia.mcguigan@lambbrooks.com

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.