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Court threats over private schooling

  • missguided
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30 Jul 12 #346071 by missguided
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So, before separating my son (almost 5) was attending a nursery of a private school with the view (and agreement of stbx) that he would be continuing on throughout this school.
When we separated I asked stbx if he would be willing to split the cost of the first year of his school (he starts compulsory school in September). After this school year we will have worked out financially whats what and if we could afford to continue his education here.
However, in April (whilst I was on holiday with our son) he went behind my back, got details of a (state) school (the first one he found, not one he researched and chose accordingly), filled out paperwork, and then even signed an acceptance form for him to start there in September.
Naturally, as his mother and primary carer I was absolutely furious when I found out (he didn’t tell me, I happened to pick up a message on our home phone about it). I wouldn’t even have enrolled our son into a school without running it past his father as he has a say in it too.
Anyway, now his solicitor is involved he has changed his story that there was never any intention for our son to continue private education blah blah blah and wants our son to start this other school come Sept.
I have given the following reasons as to why I want him (for at least the next year) to remain at his current school.
1.Whilst absolutely everything else in his life is changing (mummy and daddy not talking/ no longer together as a couple, selling our FMH, moving into a new house when FMH sells, Daddy then having a new house too, new arrangements etc) his school is the one and only thing I can keep consistent in his life right now. If I can offer some stability somewhere I want to do that, he has been at this nursery for almost 2 years and knows it inside out.
2. Until we have done financial arrangement I don’t know how much money I will have and where I will live (even which town as may need to move closer to my family). I don’t want to change him into a new school now and then in 6 months time when (hopefully FMH sold and buy new house) end up having to change schools yet again as we live no where near the school he’s at.
3. If for now we can afford to (which we both can) from an educational point of view I believe he would benefit as his class size is 8. This is with a teacher and assistant. I think the one to one attention he will receive in the year he is learning to read and write can only be a good thing?
4. It is all going to be very rushed if we change now, son never been to this other school
5. Our county is currently swapping from a 3 tier school system to a 2 tier system. I would like to understand what school they are planning to combine with. Would his primary be expanding to have upper years (doubt it as in middle of town and no room) so therefore in next year or so they would swap to a bigger school which has extended for younger children. I also would want to understand more about which schools these were too. Currently i havent looked into this as at his school this wasnt an issue.

At the moment I plan to fund this with my money, as stbx paying all house bills (still living in FMH together) so I will pay school fees. After financial agreement if stbx refuses to contribute my plan was to fund this mainly through CM and SM payments from him, but as the school fees rise each year I would probably only be able to do this for 3-5 years max (assuming SM would be payable for this period). I have said I will drop SM if he instead agrees to paying % of school fees direct to school

His solicitor is now suggesting we have mediation as a matter of urgency before September.

I need to know if the reason for this urgency is perhaps his solicitor has advised that whilst he has refused to sign the acceptance form for the private school for this year, that once he starts here stbx will find it more difficult to get out of contributing come financial arrangements?
Also if it goes to court (his solicitor threatening court if I wont do mediation) how they will view this?

I am trying to do what I think is best for my child emotionally, mentally and educationally. I am very very sad that my stbx cant think beyond his wallet (which btw he earns 5x my salary).

Any suggestions of how to handle this very greatfully received!
Miss x

PS can I also point out that i have absolutely nothing against state schools (i was educated this way) and our local schools are mainly quite good, but naturally i just want whats best for my son.

  • jslgb
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30 Jul 12 #346116 by jslgb
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Wow!

Well, your stbx cant enrol your child in a school without your permission.

If you can continue to pay for your child to attend his private school until the financial side of the divorce goes through i would do this. I assume you had to pay for the nursery your son attended? This in itself suggested that you and stbxh had a discussion about your sons schools and came to a mutual agreement on which path his education would take. Although where a child goes to nursery doesnt necessarily secure a spot in the school according to the state, people generally choose to send their children to the nursery of the school they have selected for the future. I''m guessing this is exactly what you and your stbxh have done. This is something you can argue when it comes to the financials. Did he have to sign for your son to attend nursery? Did you discuss with the private school your son continuing his education within the school together? Maybe if push comes to shove the school could provide a statement to that effect.

  • happyagain
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30 Jul 12 #346135 by happyagain
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Hi misguided,
My daughter was also attending privat nursey and had been enrolled at th infant section when her dad left, we had already paid the enrolment fees. However it was made clear to me by both solicitors that running 2 households would not now stretch to include private fees as well, plus my x had no obligation to pay half.
My daughter now attends the local primary and is doing really well, in fact far better than m neighbour who sends her daughter to he private school:)

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30 Jul 12 #346142 by missguided
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Hi Happy Again

Very interesting to read that your daughter is getting on well.

My main concern is changing his school whilst absolutely everything else in his life is changing.

May i ask if your daughter was also having to move to a new house etc at the same time as starting a new school?

Did she start this new school at the beginning of the school year (that she turned 5) or part way through the year?

Its also difficult as i have no idea where i will end up living so the state school he would go to now (if i agreed) isnt necessarily the one he''d end up in after we move.

Thanks

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30 Jul 12 #346175 by jslgb
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Children always adapt quite quickly to social surroundings. To go from nursery to school is a big step and one that children often change schools during. In addition to that you have children who went to private nurseries joining school so they are generally all in the same position together. I would suggest if you could to change schools now so when friendships and classes begin to form your child will be a part of this rather than trying to build these connections when the class has already spent a year together. Also, it may be easier for your son to accept a big change like this now whilst everything else is changing. If you leave it till next year he could be settled and go through yet another transition period that may affect him.

However, if you think you may need to change school again in a year or so i would keep your son where he is, which is what i suggested in my first reply. Too many changes could affect his school work and the first couple of years of full time school are really important as they are beginning to learn an awful lot which they will need to form a solid foundation for future learning.

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30 Jul 12 #346181 by missguided
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Thanks JS

I really am torn. For me it has absolutely nothing to do with the money and everything about getting it right for my son and lessening any impact on him.
I have come very close a couple of times to thinking about going with state school in September (if that is even now possible?) but the thing stopping me is knowing that the school stbx has enrolled him in isnt the school he would end up in even if we stayed in the same town.
As i mentioned we may even move to my home town to make life easier, which would result in 2 school changes in next couple of years.

I feel my head might explode anytime soon,what with contending with this and all the general divorce issues/arguements!

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30 Jul 12 #346186 by jslgb
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Ultimately the decision is up to you.

You may have difficulties getting a school place for september now as the local education authority or its equivalent will have allocated school places out already so it would mean phoning around the schools. This may also be problematic as most schools will be shut for holidays now.

I would be reluctant to move schools twice in a year or two and due to the late nature of the school year it may be best to keep him where he is for now. The small class sizes you discussed could work in his favour for the next year as he is beginning to be introduced to phonics and reading and the extra attention could build a solid foundation here.

Theres arguments for both sides. My friend moved her two sons around 3 weeks before the end of the school year and they thrived. Your best bet might be ringing around and seeing what schools are available at this stage so you can make a more informed decision.

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