I enquired about this previously, and did get a bit of information, however I am now in need of some further advice, and that previous thread died quietly.
I have a directions hearing next week, via phone call, to try to prevent my ex from de-registering our daughter from school for the next academic year.
I was unable to get a solicitor, but having spoken to one over the phone, they have advised me that I will be able to manage this hearing myself, and that I just need to note down everything that I want to alert the judge to, and we will each be given a chance to state our case.
I have made some notes on all the areas I feel need covering so far with the intention of organising them into something a bit more coherent. However, I am unsure how detailed I should make it, and whether the judge will be expecting me to read off a full position statement, or just give him a few quick bullet points. Personally, I feel like there is a lot to be said for the judge to really understand my position, but I don't want go overkill on it and rub the judge up the wrong way either.
Also, there are some issues, like my ex's failure to homeschool our daughter on many occasions during lockdown and leaving me to catch our daughter up frequently, that I feel need addressing as to alert the judge to why I feel my ex won't be up to the task of homeschooling our daughter over the next year, that I am struggling to write down in a way that won't be viewed as me just 'mudslinging'. Any ideas?
Has anyone else had to prepare for a directions hearing themselves? It would be useful to know what kind of thingyou wrote, and how long you spoke for.
do you happen to have any school reports about child's performance, or any kind of letter from school where they said they recommend child to stay in school as opposed to home schooling? if so, you could raise that in court. since hearing is about one issue, hopefully it will be brief. judges tend to intervene or cut you off if they think your going on for too long. keep it brief, couple of bullet points, and address them one by one.
try argue that home schooling the child will be of sub-standard/poor quality, that you worry your child will fall behind in educational development. and it would be in best interests of child to continue to attend school.
Not sure id argue that as she had struggled to homeschool during lockdown that this means she will not be able to homeschool in future. You could end up on the back foot there.(depending on how you word it)..
During lockdown the usual support avenues available such as tutors, local authority support, schools etc have not been available to support parents homeschool. It was also thrust upon parents at short notice and with very little planning or preparation. It would be very easy for her to defend and may even strengthen her hand eg yes she has struggled like most parents up and down the country but she has learnt a lot from it and is now more confident of homeschooling.
If there are other character traits that you feel would mean your ex would struggle then these would be areas to focus on aswell.
Also you say that you had to help your daughter catch up this could be just seen as you parenting and supporting your daughter alongside your ex with your daughters education during lockdown?
Not sure on whether the legal advice you received indicated how successful you are likely to be but I'd say you defo need more depth and a well constructed argument.
Please do not think I dont agree with your position as I do and if it were my kids I would take the same steps. My approach would be to focus on the benefits of the school, being educated at school and any known negatives of children being home schooled. Not sure if there are any negative reports/studies out there or statistics on how successful or not it historically has been and highlight reasons why your ex will not be able to do it to the same standard as being at school. Add to recent school reports about how well they are doing at school together with the schools recommendations.
I've whittled everything down to one A4 page, focusing on what I believe are the main points the judge will be most interested in:
- The decision not being discussed with me and being given almost no notice.
- Our daughter expressing her desire to return to school,
- Daughter being told by her mum that she doesn't have a choice in the matter.
- Wanting to see her friends and how important the social aspect of school is to a child.
- The fact that I can't help with home-schooling due to my health conditions, so it would be left to my ex, who also has to work.
- How even I, as someone considered 'increased risk', feels it is safe for our daughter to return to school.
- My ex now saying that she doesn't plan on returning our daughter to her current school after a year of being home-schooled, but to a new school come September 2021, creating two big changes for our daughter, and how it seems that home-schooling for a year is being used as an excuse to move our daughter from one school to another.
I will see if there is anything from a recent school report that will help too. I've also tried to word it so it is all focused on putting our daughter's best interests first.
There are some other reasons my ex is trying to argue, which I feel are less critical, but for which I have responses if needed. Right now, I have them on a separate page, and was planning on keeping them to hand should my ex try and give any of those reasons and I am then asked to respond.
I welcome your thoughts - whether you think I've got to much/too little, etc.
Cool, thank you. That's just the bullet points, I have more detail written down for each part of course.
School report is on my to do list and I'll perhaps mention a bit more about why school is important for her wellbeing.
My daughter is 7. What she said about her mum telling her she had no choice I felt was relevant. That's generally how it is with her mum - she does and says what mum tells her otherwise she faces her mum's wrath. I have her tomorrow for a few days. I don't want to prod her for information as I don't want the court to think I have coaxed her to say something particular - that's her mum's territory - but I do feel that she is wanting to say more, but is afraid she will get in trouble with her mum if she does.
Depending on whether she would tell her mum that she did so or whether it would cause any issues you could always ask your daughter to write what she wants and how she feels.. sometimes writing things helps especially at that age in their own words.
One of my kids found it easier to tell me how the feel about parents separating by writing me a poem. Heart breaking but it was their way.
In my situation however I would be mindful not to rock the boat with ex too much (so I wouldn't produce childs writing) that she prevents me seeing my kids, not sure of your situation and the access you have and whether you have that to worry about,
you could ask your child some questions, but better if they are not probing ones. simple questions like do you like going to school? do you want to stay there?
after my break-up, my 5 year old was very annoyed about school change. absolutely hated the new school. she's now 7 and still complains about it lol. but due to age I don't think her wish/views will carry any real weight with cafcass/court.
Yeah, that's the thing, my ex's boat is very easily rocked too. It's like walking on eggshells with her.
I have been speaking to my daughter today, and she does want to go back to school and be with her friends, but she is also saying that she doesn't mind if she is homeschooled either - which has changed since I spoke to her about it last and she said that mum told her she had no choice. But I know that's because her mum has now had more time to get in to our daughter's head, and knowing my ex, she will have been doubling down on the manipulation on the run up to the court hearing. My daughter has unfortunately, but understandably, learnt to do and say what her mum wants her to, to avoid her mum's wrath.
I think what our daughter said about being told she has no choice is very powerful, but I am concerned about the repercussions for both me and my daughter if I mention it.
but when will this end? if she goes on to be home-schooled for few years, sooner or later child will need real qualifications e.g. A-levels and so on. will you be making court applications when there's a dispute about what the child is to study in future, or whether to pursue a degree?
Beyond GCSEs, it will be our daughter's say on what she does, I think. All I would hope is that whatever decision she makes it is one she has made herself and one she is sure of, and that it hasn't been made because her mum told her to even though it's not really what she wants.
Anyway, I missed my hearing today. I made a new post in case this thread has been buried and is missed by other people who may also have some advice: