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Do schools have a duty to inform parents about events?

(66 Posts)
longdiling Wed 15-Jul-15 22:35:32

So two parents are divorced and have joint custody. One parent does all school pick ups while the drop offs are shared. The parent doing pick ups gets all letters etc but never informs the other parent of any upcoming events. School assure other parent they will let him know what's happening independently. They don't though. Other parent has missed a vital meeting, nearly missed sports day and now missed a leavers assembly. What duty does the school have to ensure BOTH parents are kept informed.

candlesandlight Wed 15-Jul-15 22:39:11

Schools normally advertise events on their website. It's possible for anyone to check forthcoming events this way.

Babbit Wed 15-Jul-15 22:43:48

This is an issue between 2 parents, not the school. The parents owe the duty to co-parent which includes sharing information. Perhaps the parent who missed out should be contacting the school regularly to find out what events are coming up or should be asking the other parent what is going on. If the school had to do this in all cases where parents live apart it would be an administrative nightmare.

AuntieStella Wed 15-Jul-15 22:46:06

The school cannot guess that two copies of information are required.

Yes, they have a duty to send information to anyone with PR who requests it.

Fortunately, as more is done by email these days, it's far less of a PITA for them than it used to be.

superram Wed 15-Jul-15 22:46:17

We get a newsletter by email every week to both parents and we are together.

Kewcumber Wed 15-Jul-15 22:47:25

Emails here too - to both parents if you give them both email addresses

caravanista13 Wed 15-Jul-15 22:48:08

Schools may not have a legal duty to inform both parents but as a senior leader in school I always believed that we should do our best to keep both parents informed.

longdiling Wed 15-Jul-15 22:48:31

Hm. No website to check. No way of forcing the parent who gets the info to share it. Leavers assembly was changed to a different day at late notice so unless other parent rang daily for updates I'm not sure how they can take charge of the situation.Surely dedealing with daily phone calls would be more hassle for school than just adding his mobile number onto the parent texting list?

PicInAttic Wed 15-Jul-15 22:50:49

If we know that parents 'prefer' separate info, we usually give children two copies of all letters - one for each parent. For a couple of families, we post one set. We also have child on our texting service with two variations of name (eg PicinAttic and AtticinPic) so messages go to both.
Our office people are great, we tend to share info well and we do our best but sometimes we muck up so would also agree with Candles - visit school website regularly.
Also, how old is child? Would expect them to mention some events so info could be sought.

sillysausagewithsauce Wed 15-Jul-15 22:53:45

Both parents need to get on the email list and check website for updates.
One parent can't expect a one-to-one service from the school (other than legal requirement for reports/parents Eve) in terms of events.

bloodyteenagers Wed 15-Jul-15 22:54:26

Most schools update their websites with this info.
They have key dates plastered all over the school.
Parent mail in the form of text and/or email which the other parent should make sure school have this uptodate info.
The other parent could ask school, or Other parent.
They could even share a calendar for these events. Parent puts on calendar and selects one shared with other parent.

If I was co-parenting it wouldn't occur to me to constantly verbally update the other parent when there are so many different ways for them
To be proactive.

PicInAttic Wed 15-Jul-15 22:54:33

Oops cross posted!
Suggesting our name variation trick may be helpful - took us a while to find the solution as wasn't suggested by our texting service. Would just need redoing every year when system does automatically roll up.

longdiling Wed 15-Jul-15 22:56:21

Oldest child has SEN so isn't the most reliable source of info unfortunately. Plus with the assembly their mum had actually lied and told all the kids she'd informed their Dad. So they thought he knew. It's so frustrating and unfair. I agree the school shouldn't have to deal with this nonsense but I'm gutted for my brother (the other parent) and his kids who are suffering because of it.

CtrlAltDelicious Wed 15-Jul-15 22:58:13

The school WILL have a website....

longdiling Wed 15-Jul-15 22:58:23

He is supposed to be on the text and email lists by the way but doesn't always get them. There is no website.

bloodyteenagers Wed 15-Jul-15 23:03:12

Then he needs to take this up with the school.
He needs to ensure that details are
Correct. That school email is in safe list and that the nber hasn't accidentally been blocked.

catzpyjamas Wed 15-Jul-15 23:03:42

DH had this problem when DSS was younger. No website, email or texts, just letters home in homework bags. He eventually had a meeting with headmaster, explained the situation and office staff then were instructed to contact DH by post if timescales allowed or by phone if they didn't.
I don't think the school had an obligation to inform him but they appreciated a parent who really wanted to be involved.

longdiling Wed 15-Jul-15 23:09:27

This will be the third time he's had to speak to the school about it. They are apologetic but nothing changes. I just wondered if there was any legal obligation he could remind them of. I guess not. Thanks all

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jul-15 01:05:53

Some of the advice on this thread is incorrect. The law requires schools to send certain communications to parents. In the absence of any restrictions put in place by the courts these communications must go to everyone with PR. So yes, there is a legal obligation and the school is failing to meet it.

mrz Thu 16-Jul-15 06:36:14

You need to check that the school has the correct contact details.

Galena Thu 16-Jul-15 07:17:13

There is no website? Really? There are items which are legally required to be on the school website. How does the school get round that?

Not every school has text/email communications. I would say it is the 'pick up' parent's responsibility to check that messages have got to the other parent. Could the two of you have a little diary that travels with the child where you write down meetings or things which are relevant to the child?

mrz Thu 16-Jul-15 07:31:54

It would be very unusual for a state school not to have a web site

Potcallingkettle Thu 16-Jul-15 07:37:21

Ask for the school's separated parents policy and then hold the school to account for that or follow the due process contained therein. It might need specific hoops jumping through to access information e.g. Proof of parental responsibility and a formal request for information with specific details as to why this is what needs to happen.
Also try googling for the website. As previous posters have said, there is lots of legally required information that should be displayed on there. I would be very surprised to find a UK school without a website.

Fatmanbuttsam Thu 16-Jul-15 07:42:08

I have to say that I don't and have no intention of informing my ex about school events.....I'm blowed if I ever will. I'm not their parent. I make sure I'm on the email list at school, I ask my children about up coming events and I check the website....for me...why should I continue to run around smoking things easy for ex. So cop on to yourself and take some responsibility for finding out about these things

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Thu 16-Jul-15 08:05:23

So this isn't about you, it's about your brother and his kids? I presume he is an adult and is capable of dealing with this himself. If he is doing half the drop offs, he is right there at the school, with the perfect opportunity to check on upcoming events and making sure that the school has the correct contact information for him.

To be honest, the mum shouldn't have to update him on upcoming school events. She is not his PA. He is a grown adult and is just as capable of checking the school calendar when he is there as she is. She shouldn't need to spoon feed his responsibilities to him. hmm

I think that you also need to consider the source. My ex has told all and sundry "his" version of events - and it always always paints him as the victim. His version does not resemble the truth at all. And there is no way he would take the time to do the legwork himself - he expects me and others to look up the info for him, hand it to him, so all he has to do is wait for people to do it for him. (and still finds reasons to complain) He is an adult - tell him to contact the school and sort it. That's what grown ups do.

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