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As we enter the final week of the school holidays it is time to start getting the children back into a routine, finish shopping for school supplies and iron on all the name tags!

   

For separated parents a new school term, particularly for children starting their first year at school, can be a challenging time but now is a good opportunity for parents to ensure they are co-parenting in their separate homes and ensuring their children are prepared for the school year ahead.

   

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”. Other templates and further guidance 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 further advice on children, separation, divorce or any other family legal matters please contact our Associate Solicitors Laura Bell or Rob Parker on  01256 844888 or email enquiries@lambbrooks.com

   

Planning ahead: Have you organised Christmas arrangements with your children and ex-partner for this year? See our article.

 

 

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.