Publish date

21 July 2022

What to do if you can’t agree on a school?

With September not that far away, lots of parents are getting ready for children to start primary school or move on to secondary school. In Kent we are very lucky as we have a choice in good schools. This can be a minefield for parents, trying to consider whether 11 plus is right for their child, whether private or state is best or affordable? It can feel like a hard decision to take and becomes more problematic when you are no longer together.

Choosing a school as a separated couple

The opinions that you had as a couple, may have involved one of you compromising but as two separate parents you may feel less willing to put aside your views about what is best for your child or children. After a separation there may also be a school change to consider, moving out of the area you live in to start again. This involves moving the children’s school and the other parent isn’t agreeable. Whilst as a couple private school fees may have been affordable, as two separate families it might no longer be the case. In these circumstances, it is difficult to know how to resolve such a difference of opinion when both parents feel strongly that what they are doing is the right thing for their child. Both parents should have parental responsibility, which means decisions about a child/children’s education should be made jointly.

Options for divorced parents who can’t agree on schooling

As with most things in life, communication is the key. The more you can talk as parents the better, sometimes it can be difficult to do so when the topic is an emotive one and schooling for your child/children is one of those topics. In those circumstances mediation can help, it involves both parents being able to communicate directly but in the presence of an independent party, who is objective and impartial and able to assist with the law and what might happen if you can’t agree. If mediation doesn’t feel enough then collaborative law may be right for you. It allows you both to have a lawyer involved in discussions, but everything is done face to face and without the need for letters that can be misinterpreted. The lawyers work together to help you to reach an agreement that will work for your family and your children.

Sometimes you do need the more traditional approach of a solicitors letter being sent to try and resolve an issue and in the worst case if it isn’t possible to reach a compromise you may need to proceed with a court application. The court will consider what is in the best interests of the child and children. There is still the opportunity to reach an agreement during the court process but it you can’t then the court will decide, which school is best for your child/children. As with everything, resolving such matters can take time, so it’s not something to let remain unresolved for too long.

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