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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My daughter has been offered a place at a very good school

Customer Question

My daughter has been offered a place at a very good school but it means she will have to attend on Saturday mornings. Her Dad has contact every other weekend from Friday night and is now refusing to sign the papers to accept the place even though he knew I was applying for new schools. I have offered additional weekends, to do additional travelling to get her to his house on a Saturday after school (he lives an hours travelling or so away......not 100% sure as he has refused to supply his address since he moved in Jan 2013). school holidays are much longer so I have offered all extra time. He has refused all suggestions and insists that her seeing him is more important than schooling. If I have to apply for a variation of contact order would I have any chance of it being granted. The school offers far superior opportunities than she can get at her current school and much higher potential to receive better quality education.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 years ago.

Why does she have to attend Saturday mornings?

If asked by the court, how would you prove that the opportunities were

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, It is a requirement of the school that she attends on Saturday mornings - it is primarily a boarding school but takes in local children as day pupils. If asked in court I can provide information such as Ofsted reports for current school 9graded Satisfactory) and this school (graded Good.........just off of Outstanding.....2 points they have to address to get that grade). Attached are details I was going to submit to the court which includes all of the reasons why I believe this is a great opportunity for her. Also, what I have not mentioned is that at senior school level the schools are struggling and the school I am asking for her to attend takes children up to age 18.

I readd last night that this might be a case which would allow me to apply for an emergency hearing (I have to accept of decline the case by next Thursday)

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Apologies, I can not attach the dcument for some reason. Here is a summary of key items:

The school is a fee paying school but I have told Mr Spary that I will pay the fees myself.

Royal Alexandra and Albert School is an exceptional school with amazing facilities and opportunities for the children who attend. It boasts a swimming pool, horse riding stables, extensive sporting facilities, state of the art equipment and top of their class teachers. Educationally Jasmine will benefit from being able to take French during Junior school, extending to other languages once at Senior level, Music and Design and Technology – all of which she does not have the opportunity to take at her current school. Royal Alexandra and Albert School also offers superior Science, computing and Drama facilities than Jasmine could receive at her current school.


There are also numerous opportunities for children to attend music, sporting and theatre events, as well as annual skiing trips and PGL activity weekends / weeks. The school provides extensive after school activities, for example it has its own Scouts group and Army Cadet Corp,.


No other state school in the area can provide this level of opportunities for the children.



In order to attend Jasmine will be required to attend school every Saturday until 11.10 am. The children are schooled alongside full time boarders and are classed as ‘Flexi Boarders’. This gives Jasmine the opportunity to be part of a school community which extends beyond school hours if the child / parent wishes to take part in it. Children can not only have lunch at school but may stay for Tea too. The school provide assistance with homework after classes finish and provide extensive activities which the children can take part in after school. They are also allocated to a ‘House’ in Jasmine’s case this would be Rank Weston, which they can go back to at lunchtimes and after school. Each house is fully staffed with people who are available to help and support the children at all times. As part of the Flexi Boarding facility, each child can stay at the school between 7 and 10 nights a year which is exciting and fun. Often they can choose a night where there may be a movie or other activity taking part in the house.


Jasmine’s father has been aware that I have applied to change her school, and Jasmine has been offered a place to enter the school in school year 3 (aged 7 – 8) in September 2013.


Jasmine’s brother Toby attends the school and is currently in year 8, moving to year 9 in September 2013.


Here is an example of the routine for junior boarders after the end of the school day at 3.30pm;


Return to Rank Weston House for refreshment (drink and snack)


Depart for activities or go to a quiet room to do prep


Return from activities


Tea in the Dining Hall


Depart to go to evening activity e.g. swimming, dance, Scouts, sports or stay and play in the house or go to a quiet room to do prep


Activities and Field Trips

The Junior Department offers a wide range of trips and activities within and outside normal school hours. These activities are a key part of the all round education of children at the School.

There are activities between 4-5pm each day and junior pupils are encouraged to participate in these at least times 3 a week.

Examples of Junior Department Activities:

  • Cookery

  • ICT

  • Rugby

  • Chess

  • Choir

  • Gatton Performers

  • Football

  • Gatton Park Rangers

  • Netball

  • Art and craft

  • 'Screen' Club

  • Table tennis

  • Cross country

  • Young journalists

  • Lace making

  • Trampolining

  • Swimming

  • Unihoc

  • Cricket

  • Karate

  • Writing Club

  • First Aid

  • Games Club

  • Street dance

Examples of School Trips:

  • Hever Castle

  • Fishbourne Roman Villa

  • Harlequin Theatre in Redhill

  • The coast at Cuckmere, East Sussex

  • Natural History Museum

  • Bough Beech Water Treatment Works

  • PGL Adventure Camp

  • Year 6 trip to Paris

Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 years ago.

It is unlikely this would be dealt with as an emergency application and you
would be faced with making the application to court and accepting the school place
and dealing with any possible fallout if you do not get the order you want.

Emergency applications are generally to deal with something on a temporary
basis pending a hearing.

The fact that Jasmine's brother (I assume he has a different father) attends
the same school assists your application to vary a contact order.

It would be worthwhile mentioning not what the school does so much as what
the school does differently and what is not offered at comparable schools.

Whilst the court will review parent to contact as important and essential,
it will not do so to the exclusion of long-term welfare benefit such as

For this reason, children are not allowed out of school during term time,
to go on family holiday.

To be frank,
there is no reason why this should end up in a court hearing because it appears
that he is simply being inflexible. You
should try to resolve matters using family mediation

it is quicker and less confrontational than court it isnt necessarily cheaper

if it ends in a court application you will find this site

hopefully, he will agree to mediation which will talk some sense into him
about putting the child's welfare first without having to get intervention of
the court.


Can I help further?

Please bear with me today because I am online and off-line. Please don't
forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not what you want
to hear). If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and
I get 0 for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive
rating. It doesn't give me "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is
my livelihood!

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your quick responses. To accept the place I have to either have the parent with responsibility sign the form, or lie and say that I am the only parent with parental responsibility. That is why I think I need an emergency order as I have to accept the place by next Thursday (2nd May) and I believe it will be detrimental to her if I can not send the acceptance in next week.


With regards XXXXX XXXXX about being inflexible, in the summarisation of the Contact order made, the judge actually said that the father was inflexible and failed to consider best benefits for my daughter! Therefore mediation will not work - it never has in the past. I can offer the world and he will still say no!


I am also a little unsure on what form to complete. I have done a C100 (seems to be the one for emergency) and an A54 for variation of order.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 years ago.

You are going to have to speak to the school about this and tell the school
that this is likely to end up in a court application to see whether they will
hold of the place pending resolution of the contact issue

If the father remains obstructive, it will require a hearing which could be
half a day or a full day and court will not deal with that on an emergency
basis simply because it does not have the time. It would only grant an interim
remedy pending a full hearing.

If you want to go ahead with an emergency application is Form A54 with a
covering Certificate (there is no standard form of certificate) which explains
why it is urgent.

To be frank, this is one that would be better submitted by a solicitor and
you may want to consider biting the bullet and paying the solicitor's bill

Can I help further?

Please bear with me today because I am online and off-line. Please don't
forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not what you want
to hear). If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and
I get 0 for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive
rating. It doesn't give me "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is
my livelihood!

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, what is a 'Covering Certificate'?


Also I called the school and it does not look likely that a place can be held longer


Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 years ago.
I don't know how that happened. I must have dropped something on the keyboard! It is Certificate of Urgency.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Any idea where I would find information on what should be contained in the certificate - you said there was not a standard form?


Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 years ago.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide documents on the site.

It is simply a document, usually sent by the solicitor, referring to the
case and entitled Certificate Urgency.

and contains a few bulleted points as to what is being asked for and why
and why it is urgent