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My Ex isn't educating my daughter what can I do

(14 Posts)
yesimaman Sat 03-Jan-15 20:54:37

Hi so I posted an earlier thread several weeks ago regarding this but at the time I had more questions than answers.

Since then things have moved forward and here is the situation I find myself in.

My Ex partner has decided that the local primary school isn't doing a good enough job for my 5 year old Daughter currently in year 1, Key Stage 1.

She has legally deregistered her from education an has decided to educate at home instead.

Firstly she has not asked my opinion or thoughts on the matter I have offered them but unfortunately she has convinced herself this is happening refuses to budge on the matter.
Secondly she has raised several issues with the school but I am unaware that she has made any attempt to discus these issues with the school and resolve them prior to deregistering the child
Thirdly she has publicly and openly admitted to having insufficient qualifications and knowledge to educate our daughter and has demanded that I step in to help with "Maths, Science & Literacy"
Fourthly She has already shown her attention to "fob off" the local education authorities inspections and her past history would reiterate this possibility.

My questions are these..

1. Can she make such a crucial decision without both parents on board
2. What responsibilities does the school and Local Education Authority have to make sure my child is educated correctly
3. Is there grounds here to prove that the child's welfare is at stake or is an education just opinion? Or is the lack of a certain educational standard child cruelty?
4. If worse came to worse and I decided to keep my daughter at my home and register her with a local school to me what are the legal reactions to this? I have been through the courts to gain a contact order already would I be in breach of this or do I have grounds to negate this order and keep the child with me?

The system seems a farse if a parent fails to attend their child at school they can get prosecuted however if they simply de register their child they can effectively do as they wish and no one checks to see if they're meeting any sort of standard....

streakybacon Sun 04-Jan-15 08:04:50

If you haven't already, you might find it helpful to read the 2007 Guidelines for LAs which might help clarify the legal rights and responsibilities on both sides of elective home education. Your ex does have to demonstrate that an education is being provided, but it's true that there is a great deal of flexibility in that and there are no legal requirements for education to be delivered in a particular way, as there are in schools.

I don't know how you stand with regard to your views on how your daughter is educated, much of which will depend on whether you have equal parenting rights. However, I would recommend you look at Fiona Nicholson's EdYourself page here for more information. Fiona is the Oracle when it comes to HE and her website is an excellent hub for all aspects of HE information.

maggi Sun 04-Jan-15 08:52:17

You sound very frustrated.

It can be a real wrench to everything we have ever been taught to be told that your child doesn't need to go to school. Probably like me you have had it drummed into you as a child that you have to go to school just like every other child has to go to school. There can even be the feeling that the people who chose not to use schools are weird or social deviants or criminals.

Most home ed families do not have teaching qualifications. They are still successful and still produce fantastic adults from their children. Some families use other family members or tutors or other home ed families to cover subjects they are not confident at teaching. By the way school teachers are not experts/confident in all areas of the curriculum. For example primary school teachers may have never been learnt phonics and don't know a grapheme from a phoneme (this is true at a school I know).

Frequently family members and friends are very worried or even aggressive towards those who chose to home ed. It can take several years for these people to be convinced that home ed is working, which they can tell from the child's progress and happiness.

Regarding welfare. Yes the local authority has a duty to ensure each child is being educated. Yes the authority can step in and order children back to school. However there has to be evidence before they can do this. In other words there usually needs to be time (years) elapsed during which home educating should have been taking place. If the child has not progressed in that time, then the authority has the necessary evidence to act.

Regarding progression. Children develop in many areas. Here's one version of what these areas are called:

PSHE (personal, social, health, emotional)
Communication
Physical development
Maths
Literacy
Knowledge of the World
Creative

If a child was at the right level in all of these except literacy (they couldn't write), that would not be enough evidence on it's own. If a child were behind in all areas that too would not be enough evidence as the child might have an undiagnosed learning difficulty. However if they had not progressed (were at the same ability level in all/most areas) from one year to the next, that would be evidence that education was not being provided. Sometimes an authority will have concerns about care/safety issues as well and then they may argue that whilst there was adequate progress perhaps there could have been more progress.

Sorry I don't know where you stand with the legalities of both parents agreeing or about contact arrangements.

ProcrastIWillFinishThisLater Sun 04-Jan-15 09:08:00

You can't just keep your child because you decide the resident parent isn't doing a good job. You have a contact order, a legal document telling you what the situation has to be. If you want to change that, go back to court and argue your reasons. You will get into a lot of trouble and cause a lot of distress to your child if you just try to snatch her and not give her back - this will backfire spectacularly if what you want is more contact and more influence over your child.

As the resident parent, of course she can make this decision - split parents often don't agree, not every decision is going to be unanimous. Yes education is a lot of opinion and has a wide interpretation. Your wife has to show she's giving an education, but it doesn't have to be the same as what dd would learn at school. No it's not neglect/abuse etc to home educate, regardless of whether you think your ex is insufficiently qualified or skilled (or arsed) to do the job. If you have concerns, talk to your ex about it. If you can't agree n how to go forward then go back to court and reach a conclusion there in the legally appropriate way.

PeruvianFoodLover Sun 04-Jan-15 09:20:40

As the resident parent, of course she can make this decision - split parents often don't agree, not every decision is going to be unanimous.

I don't think it's quite as clear cut as that.

Everyone with parental responsibility, regardless of the living arrangements, has an equal responsibility in law regarding certain decisions in relation to a child - and education is one of those.

In this situation, the first step would be for the OP to make the LA aware of his role in the DCs life, and his objection to this decision. Working with them, a way forward may be agreed, depending or not on whether the LA is supportive of these particular arrangements.

The OP can apply to family court for a specific issue order/prohibited steps order and the court will decide what is in the best interests of the DC. It is likely that a parent who has reregistered a child from school with no discussion with the other parent will be robustly advised by the court.

PeruvianFoodLover Sun 04-Jan-15 09:21:37

*deregistered

Nigglenaggle Sun 04-Jan-15 09:49:43

I'm just here to give you some sympathy! Unfortunately you're on a forum where pretty much all of us (myself included - sorry!) think that there's a good chance that your wife is doing the right thing. Certainly it's too early to say that it isn't working. But I think the problem you have isn't the home education, but the fact that you feel excluded completely from the decision making process about an incredibly important part of your child's life, and that is not on. The only practical advice I can give is to contact citizens advice I'm afraid, but you have my complete sympathy. I would be in bits if my partner left with the kids and started messing with their education in ways I didn't like. I hope you get it sorted.

yesimaman Sun 04-Jan-15 20:47:15

OK thanks for your advice so far, I prob didn't make it clear that I have no issue with Home Educations in fact I think quite the opposite. My problems with this particular situation are as follows...

My ex has made it clear that she isn't deregistering my daughter because she doesn't believe in the national curriculum, feels she can do a better job than the available schools, or believes in the advantages of home schooling..

In fact quite the opposite she has openly admitted that she isn't qualified and doesn't have the necessary skills to do this and will "expect" my help.

She has in her letter to the local school put in writing that the reason she has decised to home educate is because she believes this school has failed her. However she has at no point brought any of the issues she's listed to the attention of the Teachers, Head Teacher or Governors prior to deregistering our child.

Add this to the history of poor decisions the person has made though out there life I'm questioning both her judgement and her ability.

I feel she should have made an effort to resolve the issues she had before making such a huge decision without any consultation. Also as it may have not been made clear enough in my initial post she has since showed in writing a clear intention to fob off the LEA and only provide a maximum of "an hour or two of colouring etc" each day.

To summarise i'm not questioning people who home educate their children but i am question this particular persons ability to do this and the methods by which they've gone about it...

Starlightbright1 Sun 04-Jan-15 20:58:28

I am assuming you do have PR?

I would recommend mediation if she isn't listening. There is a legal route if still not satisfied.

I would also suggest you arrange a joint meeting with the school to iron out issues. If she refuses it may be worth attending a meeting yourself at least you have a plan to resolve issues.

A question. Do you think she actually has an issue with the school or something else..Would another school be an option?

I am not surprised you are upset.. There is a big difference between relatives not agreeing with what you are doing and school.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 04-Jan-15 21:03:44

Hello OP

I can see how this is frustrating and believe you have your child's best interests at heart.
Could your x be giving your dd some time before starting more structured work and also could she be following an autonomous child led approach?

Sometimes your dd only does colouring in or playing a game but she is actually learning plenty whilst doing this.

It is strange that she has taken it upon herself to deregister your child and then asked you to support learning yourself.
I think you need to talk to her and tell her your views and if you are happy or not to support the subjects she states.

If not, and you are unhappy, then whilst I'm no expert on the subject would presume your only alternative is to go down the official route and make a complaint.

You did say that your x was unqualified to teach, well this is the position of most H.ed parents, only a few are qualified teachers and it really holds no advantage I can assure you.

Branleuse Sun 04-Jan-15 21:22:04

can you suggest flexi schooling to her?

my children go to school, but i really dont think you need to fret about your 5 year olds maths and science stuff yet. I think its reasonable that she thinks between thevtwo of you you could pick up the slack for each others weakness areas if homeeducating works out.

Or maybe suggest that youd keep her at home and home ed for an extra year if your dd is not settling in her opinion, but insist that you revisit the decision every year?

Nigglenaggle Mon 05-Jan-15 07:49:04

Maybe it's worth reposting in the legal section, might be people there who can give more practical advice?

AmantesSuntAmentes Fri 09-Jan-15 15:12:47

The decision to home ed can be made unilaterally. I.e. by either parent. She can indeed do so without your consent.

1. Can she make such a crucial decision without both parents on board

as above

2. What responsibilities does the school and Local Education Authority have to make sure my child is educated correctly

That she is educated full time and appropriately for her age and ability.

3. Is there grounds here to prove that the child's welfare is at stake or is an education just opinion? Or is the lack of a certain educational standard child cruelty?

Home education does not have to be within the criteria of the national curriculum. Education takes many forms and spans many 'subjects'. A parent may educate their parent as they see fit and in any subject, providing that education is full time and suitable for the child's age and abilities.

4. If worse came to worse and I decided to keep my daughter at my home and register her with a local school to me what are the legal reactions to this? I have been through the courts to gain a contact order already would I be in breach of this or do I have grounds to negate this order and keep the child with me?

Yes, you would be within breach of this order. You are the nrp, with contact, not a rp, so you must abude by the court order you sought. The decision to home ed can legally be made, unilaterally etc (as q1). You don't have grounds to just keep your dd on this basis of ' waaah! I don't liiiiike iiiiit!

Essentially, the LEA will ensure your dd is receiving an adequate education, via yearly or six monthly checks. These can be via writing, via email or in person. Trust them to do their job.

melonribena Thu 15-Jan-15 19:17:33

Hello. I really sympathise with you.

What are the issues with the school your ex has?

I'm a teacher and could try and help

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