Term-time child arrangements for separated parents

Many separated couples will have a parenting plan or arrangement in place which sets out the care and living arrangements for their children. But what happens to the plan when education circumstances change such as starting school or moving up to a new school? Kate Barton from our family team has some practical guidance.

Does a parenting plan need to change when children are at school?
Your arrangements for looking after your children with your ex-partner don’t need to automatically change for term-time but it’s sensible to make sure they cater for the requirements of school. Things like how far each parent lives from school and their ability to take them to school or pick them up may bring about challenges you haven’t previously needed to think about.
A consistent schedule can help keep children in a set routine, so they know where they will be each day.
It’s also helpful to agree, where possible, with your ex-partner how you will approach homework and any extra-curricular or social activities your child is involved in.

How can my ex-partner and I support our child’s education?
Where possible, the most significant support you can give is to have a united front on practical things such as homework or bedtimes on a school night. Not only will this provide consistency for your children it will also avoid potential for conflict between you and your ex-partner.
It can be a good idea for both parents to attend school events and parent-teacher evenings so that both parents can build a rapport with the school. If it is simply not possible to go together, most schools will arrange separate meetings with each parent, so both can still be involved.

Can I still take my child on holiday in school holidays?
Yes, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to take your child on holiday in the school holidays but you should get permission from the other parent first, especially as school holidays can be precious time with the children. When agreeing holidays, be sure to agree things like holiday homework in advance too.

If you’ve recently separated or your child is starting or changing school, contact Kate for advice on 01803 403403 or send Kate an email and she can call you back.

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