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Can ex stop me from sending DD to certain school ?

(34 Posts)
NancyPiecrust Tue 14-Nov-17 10:41:33

Currently in the process of DD's Dad taking me to court for shared care with a child arrangements order - he has historically had periods of not having her overnight or unsupervised due to concerns involving his temper, drug use, mental health & ability to cope appropriately with DD's tantrums & sleepless nights etc. He does have her on a Weds day time and Alternate weekends but not overnights.

She is at nursery 2 days a week which she loves, but he has been controlling using the nursery staff to try and stop me changing her nursery day to suit my work hours - stating she should be with him and not at nursery, even when it doesn't fall on his contact time or affect him or her at all.

He keeps saying we have to decide together which school she will go to next Sept but I currently have no contact with him due to him being abusive to me in the relationship (I left him when DD was 1 due to DV), and more recently hostile, harassing me and controlling, psychologically abusive still. Including in front of DD which is why we don't even see each other for handovers anymore as I didn't want her to have to see that.

He wants her to go to school 2 minutes from his house at his village's school - it is an "Outstanding" Ofsted school and very lovely - small class sizes and forest school, lots of outdoor space etc.
But it is 30 min drive from where she lives with me and I think this is too long of a school run and will affect me being able to work or my parent who live close to us, being able to help me with school pickups.
And not necessary as there is a similar style of school - small class sizes, lovely little village school, forest school & loads of outdoor areas including a heated outdoor swimming pool which parents can take their kids to in the summer holidays too.
It is connected to her nursery as it's 2 min drive from her nursery and 7 min drive from our house. She already will have been to visit it with her nursery, she knows the children in Reception there already as they visit her nursery sometimes, and some of her friends from nursery will go to that school.

That makes sense as her primary school in my eyes for many different reasons & I think the main reason he wants her to go to the one in his village is that he wants to have her more often and be the one to pick her up from school, take her to school etc.
He is asking to have her 5 nights a week on alternate weeks. Which I definitely do not think in any way is in her best interest at all.
Hoping he won't have a chance of getting this in court.

Anyway I have to apply for her school place soon, I have been to see many different schools, including schools near his house & I do think this is the best option. He hasn't been to see any schools except the one in his village & has made up his mind.

Can he really dictate which school she goes to and if I just sign her up for a place at the local school here which has links to her nursery, then will she be "allowed" to go there?

Thanks in advance for any advice !

MirandaWest Tue 14-Nov-17 10:53:11

Which one of you is the resident parent?

LIZS Tue 14-Nov-17 10:56:00

If her residence is with you she is unlikely to get a place at his village school unless undersubscribed.

Collaborate Tue 14-Nov-17 13:32:27

To answer the question posed by the title to this thread is straight forward. Neither of you can change the child's school without agreement of the other. In the event of disagreement the court will sort it out.

prh47bridge Tue 14-Nov-17 13:36:16

He cannot dictate which school she goes to but if he has PR he does have the right to a say in the decision. What follows assumes he has PR.

As your daughter currently spends most of her time with you any application for a primary school place will have to use your address. As LIZS says, that means she is unlikely to get a place at the school he wants unless there are fewer applicants than places. If you put his school as first preference and yours as second preference she would end up at your choice unless the school is undersubscribed.

Of course, there is a risk that she could end up at his choice if you name it as first preference. If you don't want to take that risk and you can't reach agreement with your ex you will need to go to court for a specific issue order so that the courts can decide which school should be first preference.

thegirlupnorth Tue 14-Nov-17 14:12:31

Can you add the choice of school to the court proceedings then the decision is part of any order made?

BlueA4Paper Tue 14-Nov-17 17:54:41

Can OP not just make school application alone? Does it need two signatures? Surely with the deadline only 2 months away there isn't time to go to court about it? Unless there's already court proceedings in progress.

prh47bridge Tue 14-Nov-17 18:24:00

If she makes the application knowing her ex objects it gives him evidence he can use to show that she is unreasonable. The courts can move quickly if necessary and there is clearly reason to do so with the deadline for primary school applications approaching.

lookatyourwatchnow Tue 14-Nov-17 18:31:39

Add this issue to the court proceedings. It will prevent further issues/the matter being restored to court for this issue in the future. I would expect that the decision will be made alongside the decision about who will have the greater portion of time with your DC.

MrsBertBibby Tue 14-Nov-17 19:01:21

I'd kind of agree with prh47, but if the deadline arrives, the application should go in regardless, you can't abdicate responsibility for that because the non resident parent is being uncooperative.

But yes, bring this up with the court right away.

prh47bridge Tue 14-Nov-17 19:21:20

Absolutely agree with that. Try to get this resolved before the deadline but whatever you do don't miss the deadline. You don't want to be a late applicant, at the back of the queue for school places. That would probably mean your daughter would end up at a school neither of you want.

NancyPiecrust Tue 14-Nov-17 23:08:00

Thanks for all responses so far.. very good points raised about the deadline .. def don't want to miss that becaue ex is being difficult.
Yes I am the resident parent. She's not changing schools she's starting school Sept 2018 and the deadline is Mid January dkeschool choices. I've looked at a few schools including ones near him but the one that's linked with her nursery is the best option I think for her & not too far to drive to. There is a closer one which is a 3 min walk from my house & she'll def know a few kids from our street who'll go there, but it's nowhere near as nice - double the class sizes & the Reception class was really dark and they were using iPads when I went in there.. exP wouldn't approve of that either ..but even though it's easier for me in terms of school run I'm not advocating for her to go to "my local" school for that reason.
The main reason he wants her to go there is because it's in the village he lives in and easier for him & he thinks it'd mean he could have her more ie. after school or be in a better position for shared care whether in this court case or in the future.

Yes I will tell my solicitor we need to address the school issue but I don't want to make that a battle ground either as what if the court tell me I can't apply for her school place until we've agreed ? We won't agree because his motivation for his choice is purely selfish & tied up with wanting to get shared care. He's unlikely to give up that idea unless the court tell him he def can't have shared care. Which is likely. But it could take CAFCASS up to 3 months to make their report I've heard if Section 7 is ordered... which big possibility it could be.

MrsBertBibby Wed 15-Nov-17 07:54:27

The court won't stop you putting the form in, that would be madness.

I suspect the court would go with your choice, as you are the RP, and anything else would be effectively prejudging his case.

The fact that many of her friends will be going to your choice is strongly in its favour.

PatriciaHolm Wed 15-Nov-17 16:39:59

As a side issue, have you checked admissions criteria and distances from previous years and are you sure you will get into the school you want? Attendance at nursery is very unlikely to have any relevance. The last thing you need is to get into a fight when you don’t stand a chance of getting in....

BlackeyedSusan Thu 16-Nov-17 00:04:00

if her main address is with you then you need to put schools on your list that she will have a chance of getting into. check the admissions policies to see what criteria are used for ordering admissions. (looked after children, siblings, catchment etc) also check the last distance that the school admitted children last year. It should be on the authorities website. It is only worth listing schools that she will have a chance of getting into.

how far away is a 30 minute drive?

prh47bridge Thu 16-Nov-17 00:22:40

It is only worth listing schools that she will have a chance of getting into

From an admissions point of view I would agree. However, if the father has PR and does not agree this needs to be resolved. I agree with MrsBertBibby that it is unlikely the courts would side with the OP's ex over this but, if they do, the OP will have to follow the court's decision, even if that means listing a school where the OP has no realistic chance of getting a place.

MrsBertBibby Thu 16-Nov-17 08:51:17

Of course, evidence that there's not a cat in hell's chance of getting a place would itself be important evidence to help the court decide.

NancyPiecrust Thu 16-Nov-17 15:21:12

Well the school he would want her to go to in his village is 13 miles away. And it's very popular / oversubscribed so no there wouldn't be a chance she'd get in with my postcode and yes she does live with me. Currently she doesn't even have overnights with him. But he's hoping in court if he gets shared care, that she'll be with him 5 nights a week alternate weeks. But by the time that decision is made... the school deadline will have long passed. And yes I have checked with admissions she will almost definitely get into the one closer to us & linked to her nursery.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Nov-17 17:56:42

If you are certain there is no chance at all of her getting a place at his choice of school you could see if he would agree to putting his school as first preference and yours as second preference. If he agrees to that you would not need to go to court over this issue and your daughter would end up at your chosen school. Note that putting your chances of getting your daughter into your chosen school are not affected by whether you name it as first preference or second preference.

MrsBertBibby Fri 17-Nov-17 07:31:29

That's a very high risk strategy!

MsJolly Fri 17-Nov-17 07:48:26

I wouldn't put his choice first in case you get it!
Put the form in with your choices and put his choice last-that way you can tell him his choice is on the list. As you are currently the RP with no shared care/overnights then the courts cannot say that you did the wrong thing.

I'd get the application in-you can always go back and edit before the deadline if you did actually manage to get to court before then

TuckMyWin Fri 17-Nov-17 07:50:12

Even if she's with him 5 nights a week alternate weeks, that still leaves her with you more. As far as I know the school application has to be made from the address that the child lives at the most time- so yours, even if he does get 5 nights. So if I were you I'd get that confirmed by the LEA (ie. send them an email asking the question, get them to confirm so you have it in writing), then write to him and tell him the same, pointing out that she has no chance of getting in to the school that he wants, listing the benefits of the school you want, and then go ahead and do it. If he tries to bring it up in court as evidence you've been unreasonable, that way you have proof that no, you just applied for a good school that she could actually get in to.

AdalindSchade Fri 17-Nov-17 07:59:40

Don't panic
Get a hearing for the school issue scheduled ASAP even if there is no hearing scheduled before the due date.
Contact his choice of school and ask for their admissions policy, check whether she would be prioritised under any category (I assume not?)
Get their stats for numbers of applications and waiting lists etc for the last couple years if you can
Make a very reasonable application to apply for schools local to you which your daughter has a chance of getting in to and the judge will 99.9% rubber stamp it.

AdalindSchade Fri 17-Nov-17 08:00:25

Don't put his choice at all - she lives with you, you don't want to subject her to an unnecessary 60 minute daily commute to school. Don't pander to him.

prh47bridge Fri 17-Nov-17 08:45:39

That's a very high risk strategy!

The risk is that she might get a place at the ex's preferred school. It does not affect her chances of getting a place at the OP's preferred school. I would only advocate it if the OP is really sure that there is no chance of a place at the ex's preferred school.

You don't get any priority in school admissions for naming a school as first preference. Naming the OP's preferred school as second preference does not put her behind those naming it as first preference in the queue. That isn't how school admissions work.

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