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School Hallway

What happens if we cannot decide on a school? 

Today (24 January) is the UNESCO International Day of Education.  It aims to promote the importance of education all around the world.  Here in Scotland, we are privileged to have easy access to education.  We have the option to have our children attend state or private schools.

However, what happens if you as separated parents cannot agree on how your child should be educated?

On the basis that you both have parental rights and responsibilities you both have the responsibility and the right to “control, direct or guide, in a manner appropriate to the stage of development of the child, the child’s upbringing

You can each enrol your child in a school of your choosing.  However, clearly enrolling the child in two different schools is impractical and plainly absurd.  Accordingly, you will need to find a solution.

The first approach is always to try and reach agreement between you and the other parent.  You may require the assistance of a solicitor to achieve this agreement.  The decision reached does not have to be but can be, if appropriate, set out in a Minute of Agreement.

If agreement cannot be reached the only option left is to raise a an action for a specific issue order in the Sheriff Court closest to where the child resides.  A specific issue order does exactly what it says on the tin it regulates one specific issue relating to the child.

If you are asking the court to make a ruling on where your child goes to school you will have to be prepared to have cohesive, clear and reasonable arguments for why your choice of school is preferable to that of the other parent.

Any court process takes time.  If you wish to raise an action for the court to decide on a child’s school you need to raise it as early as possible, certainly before the child starts school.  We would suggest you do so at least 6 months prior to the proposed school start date.  If the child has already started school, it will be harder to convince the Sheriff to change the status quo. 

If your child is enrolled in school and you disagree with the other parent’s decision on this we recommend you contact us as soon as possible to take advice.

You should not remove a child from a school they have started and enrol them in another one without the consent of the other parent.  Not only will this be viewed in a dim light by the Sheriff in any subsequent court action it will also be disruptive and upsetting for your child.

As always, the purpose of this blog is to provide an overview of the options available in Scotland and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  You should always obtain specialist legal advice about your own circumstances.  Please call 0131 5818 652 or email to arrange an appointment. 

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