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TOPIC: School not observing SRO

School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98227

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My son (now aged 14) is the subject of a Shared Residency Order (SRO) and spends alternate weeks living with me and with his mother. The SRO is very clear that he has two legal homes but his school repeatedly fails to observe the order (although it claims it shows no discrimination). There have been a number of instances of clear bias (and maybe more I don't know of), my patience is exhausted so what should I do?

Here is the record showing there have been 5 times in 2 ½ years I have not been treated fairly as a parent by the school:

1. On 20 June 2017 I discovered that I had not been included on the school's SMS parents’ messaging since my son began school in September 2016 (9 months). The school admitted it had made a conscious choice to include my son's mother but to exclude me, but offered no explanation (recorded by email dated 21 June 2017).
2. On 25 November 2017 I discovered (from my son) that the school had omitted me from the calling notice for the parents’ evening to be held on 28 Nov 17, instead sending the calling notice only to his mother – no explanation was offered by the school (recorded in my email to the Associate Principal dated 25 Nov 2017).
3. On 25 November 2017 I discovered by chance that the school had not included me on the distribution list for a letter to parents regarding on-line homework, sending the letter only to my son's mother. The immediate issue was resolved by one of the vice principals, but no explanation as to why it had occurred was offered by the school.
4. On 14 July 2018 I discovered (from my son) that I had not been included in the distribution for the ‘Triple Science’ letter from the Director of Science which had been sent only to my son’s mother on 9 July 2018. The director resolved the immediate matter, but the school was unable to offer any explanation as to why the mistake had occurred (my email dated 20 July 2018 is the record).
5. On 18 March 2019 the school telephoned me to discuss my son's attendance and in doing so told me it had previously written to my son’s mother only on this matter (that day was the first I had heard of the issue - the problem only occurred during the weeks my son was with his mother). The school later tried to justify not sending me the two letters regarding my son’s absence claiming it had claimed it never received ‘any court order instructions, to indicate that you are to identified as joint priority 1 on our parental communication systems’ (sic). The school now concedes that it had been provided with a copy of the SRO in a letter to the Executive Principal dated 21 June 2016 and again in an email to the Associate Principal on 27 June 2016. The school has offered no explanation for the errors.

I have threatened to refer the issue to a tribunal as an equality matter if there is another incident - is that too heavy handed?

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Last Edit: by othen. Reason: Poor grammar.

School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98238

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I'm not expert in this, but my inclination is that you complain to the Local Education Authority.
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School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98246

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I think it’s fair comment to complain as it has happened multiple times. It’s usual for a complainant to follow the individual schools procedure for dealing with complaints, before escalating up to the LEA, here’s a link

www.gov.uk/complain-about-school/state-schools

If you get no satisfaction here’s some basic info about what to do next

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/depa...complaints-procedure

Best of luck
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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98264

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Thank you both.
Best wishes,.

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School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98268

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Hope you can get it sorted out.

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98271

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Mojo wrote: Hope you can get it sorted out.


Thank you Mojo,

I'm trying really hard not to fall out with the school, but that is proving difficult. I think the problem is institutional bias that pervades through much of our society: it seems not really wrong to show bias against fathers, in the same way that racism was sort of not wrong (in a sort of funny Alf Garnet way) in the 1970s (which was wrong then, but was tolerated in a way we find very embarrassing now). The school keeps making the same mistake over and over (and may have done more times than I know about) - and I suspect will do so again in the future.

As you may see from the above, I have complained at school principal level several times, I'm sure there is some embarrassment each time, but never any admission. The next level would be to demand that the board of governors convene a complaints panel (something it is loath to do - I suspect OFSTED gets to see the results, which might harm the school more than it can afford).

If bias like this happened in any other part of or society (for example in employment) it would result in a tribunal, and the case would be indefensible. In family matters nearly everyone agrees there is huge bias against fathers, but it is tacitly accepted.

Thank you for the technical advice above (although I knew that bit already of course), but what I was really asking for was an opinion on whether following the complaints procedure was a sensible thing to do, or whether I should just put up and shut up like everyone else?

Best wishes,

O

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School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98272

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... knowing you as I do, I was confident that you would already have looked up the procedural info, so it’s more for anyone else that is hunting for info on this subject and lands on your thread.

You know I would always say, choose your battles wisely, but in this instance, if we don’t stand up for our rights, the status quo remains. I think the rules are on your side and as long as you remain civil in all of your dealings (which I know you will) then I would follow the procedures set in place.

Perhaps let the principal know what steps you are considering and the fact that you would rather settle this as informally as possible. Make him aware of your rights to be treated equally as far as they are concerned and ask what steps he will put in place to prevent your exclusion in the future.

I would also make the point that they are quick enough to contact you, as in the last instance, concerning your child’s attendance, when they weren’t getting anywhere with the mother, and further point out that including you at the beginning would have seen more effective action in dealing with it much earlier. If that isn’t in your sons best interests, I don’t know what is!

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Last Edit: by Mojo.

School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98275

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Thank you Mojo,

What you say makes sense (as always). I think I'll drop the principal a note after Easter to follow up on the absence issue - ask him to confirm there have been no more instances since I sorted the problem (I know the answer to that: of course there have not been, but it will put the principal on the spot and I'll make the point that if he had asked me in the first place the problem would not have occurred).

There will be a recurrence of course (there always is - in about 6 months I should think). So next time I'll make a formal complaint to the board of governors and insist they convene a review panel under the complaints procedure (that will hurt). Unfortunately I have a feeling this issue will not be solved without causing a bit of pain, so that is the way it will have to be.

Many thanks for your counsel.

O

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School not observing SRO 6 months 1 week ago #98281

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You’re welcome Othen... please do let us know how you get on.

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

School not observing SRO 6 months 4 days ago #98354

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you could say something to the effect that you would like to work constructively with the school, rather than having to escalate the issue. There's an implied threat to take it further, but shows a willingness to work to a solution to avoid that. If the school chooses not to compromise, then there's no point in you trying not to fall out with the school as they aren't offering you the same courtesy.

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School not observing SRO 6 months 3 days ago #98382

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actd wrote: you could say something to the effect that you would like to work constructively with the school, rather than having to escalate the issue. There's an implied threat to take it further, but shows a willingness to work to a solution to avoid that. If the school chooses not to compromise, then there's no point in you trying not to fall out with the school as they aren't offering you the same courtesy.


Many thanks for that comment - so you think I'm being too aggressive, that was the question.

I'm having trouble seeing what compromise there might be: either the school takes heed of the SRO or it continues to flout it. I can't help living in a black and white world, that is why I asked the question of (perhaps some more reasonable) people in the first place.

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School not observing SRO 5 months 3 weeks ago #98473

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No, I don't think you are being too aggressive - it was my suggestion that you imply that you'll escalate it if they don't cooperate with you and comply.

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