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[Solved] Communication with schools

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othen
(@othen)
Reputable Member Registered

My son (aged 11) will move from primary to secondary school in September. He is the subject of a (hard won) SRO and spends alternate weeks with me and with his mother. This has worked quite well for him for the past 3 years, although it has been a constant struggle to communicate with his primary school throughout. The primary school insisted on changing my son's home address to that of his mother when she left (in spite of the SRO saying he had two addresses), as a result there have been many lapses in communication due to the primary school using that address (it is apologetic every time I point this out, but it soon occurs again).

My son finishes year 6 next month, but the primary school's insistence on using his mother's address is now leading to problems with the secondary academy he has been allocated by the county council. The primary school's recorded address was passed to the CC as my son's official address, and so the secondary academy has sent joining information only to his mother's address. I have written to the principal with a copy of the SRO and asking for whatever has been sent to my ex-wife to be copied to me, and for the school's records to show both addresses, but I have had no response.

It would seem that the secondary academy is simply ignoring me, at this point I'm not sure what to do. I don't know whether the SRO entitles me to be treated as an equal parent by the school, and if so how I would enforce that if it continues to ignore me. I suppose I could write to the board of governors, but I don't want to fall out with the academy before my son even starts school there.

I don't think what I am asking the academy to do (use both addresses, treat both parents equally and let me know what is going on) is unreasonable, and it seems to be the point of a court granting a SRO in the first place, but it is just not happening. I'm a bit stumped for ideas, does anyone out there have any experience I might lean on?

Best wishes,

O

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Topic starter Posted : 24/06/2016 3:47 am
Yoda
 Yoda
(@yoda)
Famed Member

Morning othen

this link might be of help.

http://www.thecustodyminefield.com/flapp/preducation.html

You do have rights here but unfortunately, from experience, I think it is something you may have to constantly enforce directly with the school. Make sure they have a copy of the court order and unfortunately, keep chipping away.

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Posted : 24/06/2016 1:46 pm
MotherofaFather
(@motherofafather)
Honorable Member Registered

Hello othen,

I think the school is totally out of order!

I personally would make an appointment to see the Principal and have a polite talk, face to face. It is his / her responsibility to deal with this in preference to the governors as he is responsible for the welfare of the children and day to day running of the school. I would not be fobbed off with any other member of staff.

If after speaking with her /him I had no joy, I would then contact the local educational authority (if such bodies still exist), if not, I would then go back to the governors (who are lay people and not necessarily trained in education).

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Posted : 24/06/2016 3:51 pm
othen
(@othen)
Reputable Member Registered

Many thanks for the comments.

Yoda is right (unfortunately), the SRO isn't really enforceable, so it is a matter of trying to get the school onside and shaming it every time it makes a mistake. I have been doing this with the primary school for the past 3 years, the headmistress is friendly and sympathetic but not a strong leader so nothing ever changes (the head and all 4 deputies are female, as are all the other teachers in the school and all the administrative staff - not unusual for a primary school and sadly not unconnected with the problem).

I made some progress today: after several reminders the Associate Principal (who is the headmistress in the school's rank structure) gave me a call. She confirmed that the primary school had only passed on my ex-wife's address when my son was offered a place in March (even though I submitted the application) and therefore it had only sent information to her since then. She has arranged for copies of what was sent out to be available for me to collect on Monday, and she says both our addresses will be recorded on the school's administrative system. This sounds okay, but I've been promised that in the past by the primary school, and found that it just does not happen, so we will see.

The school has been out of order, and I think the Associate Principal probably accepts that (although of course not publicly), perhaps we will make some progress (or maybe just until the next issue).

O

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Topic starter Posted : 24/06/2016 8:17 pm
MotherofaFather
(@motherofafather)
Honorable Member Registered

Hello othen,

I was unaware that a SRO complicated your issue. I do not understand why it should particularly if you have Parental Responsibility..

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Posted : 25/06/2016 5:26 pm
othen
(@othen)
Reputable Member Registered

Well, a SRO certainly helps, without it difficult mother is able to do virtually as she wishes, these pages are full of stories like that. It is a civil order though, so very difficult to enforce. The SRO should make things very simple, but there is a huge amount of ingrained bias against dads, much of it is perhaps well meaning, but misplaced. It has been un uphill struggle with my son's primary school, I'm hoping the situation will improve with the secondary school. Perhaps one day the state will allow him to live with me so I can send him to an independent school, who knows.

As I type this my son has just come back from water skiing with his mates, we are getting ready for dinner and we have had a really good weekend away. He is happy and well adjusted, conflict with school headmistresses can wait for another day.

Best wishes,

O

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Topic starter Posted : 26/06/2016 9:33 pm
othen
(@othen)
Reputable Member Registered

Morning othen

this link might be of help.

http://www.thecustodyminefield.com/flapp/preducation.html

You do have rights here but unfortunately, from experience, I think it is something you may have to constantly enforce directly with the school. Make sure they have a copy of the court order and unfortunately, keep chipping away.

Thank you Yoda, but that document refers to PR, a SRO should be much more powerful, but unfortunately it is difficult to enforce without frequent trips to court - which would not be good for anyone.

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Topic starter Posted : 26/06/2016 9:38 pm
Mojo
 Mojo
(@Mojo)
Illustrious Member Registered

As I type this my son has just come back from water skiing with his mates, we are getting ready for dinner and we have had a really good weekend away. He is happy and well adjusted, conflict with school headmistresses can wait for another day.

Best wishes,

O

This is what it's all about really, your son is happy and well adjusted and that is in large part down to you.

The fact that the deputy principle called you and arranged to have copies of what was sent made available to you tomorrow is encouraging....let's hope she carries it through, at this moment in time there's no reason to think otherwise.

All the best

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Posted : 26/06/2016 11:59 pm
othen
(@othen)
Reputable Member Registered

The good news is that the secondary academy is far more helpful than the primary school has been. It seems to understand the situation fully, is most apologetic about not sending me information previously (and only because the primary school did not forward my address) and seems welcoming. By chance my son will be with me for the transition day in a few weeks and also for the start of the new year in September, so it will be me with him on both those important days.

I have written a firm but factual email to the headmistress on my son's primary school, but it would be a waste of time to take it any further. I'm not sure why the school has had such a bias, I can only imagine it is because all the leadership, teaching staff and administrators are female, and some may have ingrained prejudices as a result of personal experience.

O

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Topic starter Posted : 28/06/2016 7:16 pm
Yoda
 Yoda
(@yoda)
Famed Member

It would depend on the contents of the SRO in relation to educational matters if you're asking any school to comply with it, quite often orders only spell out what was included in the link posted above.

I do know that some school's administration systems are just not up to scratch and can't cope with having 2 main addresses for a child and therefore automated information often only ends up getting sent to one parent, as opposed to the school staff being biased. In those situations you are at the mercy of admin staff remembering to duplicate information for a particular pupil. Whilst it's really not ideal, it's probably not been done on purpose.

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Posted : 29/06/2016 12:46 pm
othen
(@othen)
Reputable Member Registered

i disagree Yoda.

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Topic starter Posted : 30/06/2016 12:46 am
MotherofaFather
(@motherofafather)
Honorable Member Registered

Hello othen,

I understand completely where you are coming from.
If you have Parental Responsibility and a Shared Residency Order, I am totally bewildered why it is proving so difficult to get a satisfactory result.

You are wanting to be informed as to what progress your Son is making at school, his welfare, to be included so as to be able to attend open days etc and most important of all to have the same information as his mother to enable you both to discuss and make the best decisions for him.

Rarely are matters black and white but (if you have P.R.) this issue is, there is no grey area.

I would tackle the issue in the manner I described to you in my first post. A face to face meeting with the Head Teacher (no emailing or telephone calls) with a polite, non confrontational, business like approach. No one should be offended and no ill feeling caused. If being polite and firm did not rectify the matter I would then take it to another level.

I believe having preconceived ideas of the personalities and gender of the persons with whom any of us deal with does not always help, it can blur and influence the topic under discussion and be totally unproductive. On the other hand if bias exists, then it is easier to determine who and at what level to direct your request.

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Posted : 30/06/2016 4:46 pm
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