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Can you help me? School refusing to hand over my child

  • bettydidabooboo
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23 Jan 23 #520496 by bettydidabooboo
Topic started by bettydidabooboo
I am a father of a 10 year old boy. I have shared custody since the separation in 2020 (typically with me Monday to Friday morning, with Friday and weekends with mum). There is no agreement or child arrangement order in place and we were playing it by ear. All was going well (or so I thought). However after spending the summer holidays continuously with mum and the child does not wish to see me anymore and I have had no meaningful contact with the child since, despite numerous attempts.

His school has confirmed in writing that there are no safeguarding issues, however they also confirm that my son remains adamant that he does not wish to meet me. As a result they have politely but firmly declined to hand him to me (even to share a hot chocolate) unless I have a court order on the grounds that "it's all such a mess. we are not going to force the child to do anything, this is all quite awkward for us, you need to speak to your ex-wife (who remains equally adamant that the child does not see me on grounds of the child's mental well being).

mediation is not an option as complete mistrust from both sides and ex-wife has declined offer to mediate on grounds that we have tried it and its a waste of time. I have removed certain details from this post in order to not out myself.

Can a school legally refuse a parent physical access on the grounds that the child does not wish to see the parent? Is there anything less than a full blown child arrangements order so that I can force encourage the school to physically hand my child to me?

  • rubytuesday
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25 Jan 23 - 25 Jan 23 #520505 by rubytuesday
Reply from rubytuesday
The short answer is yes. Schools have a duty of care towards pupils, regardless of whether there are any safeguarding issues or not.

The school is right - they have been placed in an impossible situation, and it is one for you to resolve, either by agreement with your ex, or obtaining the correct court order.

The guidance provided by the Government for schools dealing matters relating to parental responsibility state

Where a parent’s action, or proposed action, conflicts with the school’s ability to act in the child’s best interests, the school should try to resolve the problem with that parent but avoid becoming involved in conflict. However, there may be occasions when a school needs to decline requests for action from one or more parents.In cases where schools cannot resolve the conflict between separated parents, they should advise the aggrieved parent to pursue the matter through the Family Court.




There is information in our child arrangements guides on ow to apply for a Child Arrangements Order. divorce.wikivorce.com/guides-children/a-...tion-or-divorce.html

I appreciate this must be distressing for you, but the longer you leave the situation as it is, the more difficult it will be to re-establish contact and time with you child. It might be an idea to stop turning up at school, or expecting the school to hand your child to you so to alleviate the pressure from your child and the school staff - and yourself.
Last edit: 25 Jan 23 by rubytuesday.

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