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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34234
Experience:  25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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Here we go again, school decision and inset

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Here we go again, problems with school decisions and Insets:

1. xxx has had his assessment and I have rang the deputy SENCO to ask what the outcome was. Academically they don't envisage any problems as he is capable, their only area of concern was his organisational skills (PE kit, locker he would get, etc). I have asked xxx how he feels about school2 having this in mind and he was still adamant he would try school1 and he would be careful with his organisation skills. He is aware of everything and has said that he told you as well he would want to do that. I think that is good for him because it prepares him for the real world and more typical environment, to become as independent as possible for future life. Rather than having someone constantly doing things for him, this way he should become more responsible and self supportive. If academically he can achieve good results with school2 (one of the most popular schools in xxxxx) then I support him with school2. If you have nothing to add to this by the end of today, then I will ring the LEA and confirm the change to school1. 2. I have been patiently waiting a whole month for your reply on xxxx's INSET days (next Monday 3.6 and Friday 28.6) so we can agree on time and you still haven't replied. Do you want to continue being with xxxx on Monday all day as a follow on from your weekend now (most logical and least disruptive for her) and she has the next one with me or the other way round or we are going to split both in half? I think an answer is well overdue. HER REPLY: 1. Since this is the first time I've heard about this and you kept me out of loop with the communication, I need more time to consider xxxx's options, so DO NOT ring anyone without my say so. 2. we'll split both days. You can collect xxxx from me this Monday @ 10am and I will collect her back from you @ 3pm.

MY REPLY BACK: 1. I did NOT "keep you out of the loop" of anything. You have been informed and had every chance to inform yourself all along. Its not my fault that you are laid back and not interested (or you had interests from Australia). I never stopped you from ringing the schools and asking the questions. The LEA needs to know asap. I know for a fact you've spoken to xxxx about this when he had the assessment on the 24.5 and you asked him "are you sure about thisi" - he told me so and I waited a week for you to make a move and see how we as parents help his future education. Nothing, from you for a week. I will wait until Monday and if you don't cooperate, I will not hesitate to take this to court. Its our son's future at stake. I have had legal advice on this as I now have on every other issue when it comes to dealing with you, so make a decision and be quick. This is not about me and you, its about xxxx! 2. I waited a whole month for you to give me an answer on this and you cannot dictate times in this way. Who do you think you are to rise above the law and give me 5 hours in a day, 10-3pm?!Its clearly not working with your obstructive and uncooperative behaviour and I will not argue over whether you will allow mine and our children's Court given rights to have HALF OF THE INSET DAY, so since you left if for so late to reply and are being obstructive: this is how we shall do it: I have an appointment on Monday at 1pm and your dictated time slot does not suit me you keep Mia on Monday and I will collect her on the 28th. If you try to deny me the right to collect her on the 28.6, I will act in accordance with the legal advice I have. You had a whole month to let me know and you chose to ignore the request to deal with this in a practical way.

HER REPLY: You have been warned by the police to refrain from using offensive comments and harassing me with your emails, yet you don't seem to take this seriously and comply with the PIN you have been issued.Your emails should be short and non-personal, and just about the children, NOTHING else. Do not threaten me with anything. 1. I spoke to xxxx today and we both agreed that he will be better off at school1, at least until xxxx starts to go to school2. So do not ring anyone and do not change any arrangements, I will confirm with school1 on Monday that he still has a place there. 2. that is not acceptable, I also had legal advice and I want to SHARE both inset days. Any deviation from the Court order has to be mutually agreed and I don't accept your proposal. Since both inset days are during school term when you would not normally get to see xxx at all (Monday and Friday which falls on my weekend), it is very reasonable of me to offer you to spend time with her during the hours that she would normally spend in school and that she comes back to me when she would normally be home after school. It isn't my fault that you have other commitments and that the time isn't suitable for you. You can bring her back to me and I can look after her during your appointment on Monday


Claire, any thoughts? BTW, police notices is made up info.

I have never been warned about anything, I merely just reply to her emails and contact her when I absolutely HAVE to!

Also, if the school times are 9-3.30 then i would cancel my appointment with my solicitor or arrange something, but she is dictating times being 10-3, just 5 hours? thats not sharing the day really...just when we start doing something, she would come and collect my daughter..!! Sorry for a longer message ;)

Hi Nigel
Thank you for your question.
Sharing a day is always a difficult one.
Having said that I would usually argue that the change over should be at midday - with the child returning at 5 or 6 pm - so 10 til 3 is not an unreasonable offer in itself since it covers almost all of the school hours and allows the child to have a lie in.
If the child is with you the night before the next one then offer a change over at 2pm.
Sadly she is also right (although she does not practice what she preaches) - you do need to take all personal comments out of the correspondence - especially as you are planning a further application in the none too distant future
Sorry not to be more positive on this one!
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1. We've always shared the days considering when they get up to bedtime, generally between 8-9am and 8-9pm with handover around 2pm..

I think is one to add to the list for a Order variation application. Hand-overs are complicated with her and increase the chance for conflict and I will request a variation so we share the insets by taking these in turns without having to meet up half way through the day.

I thought my proposal to take turns was more practical so my daughter doesn't have to constantly look at her watch..

On another note, I genuinely have an appointment with my solicitor on that day which is a "must" due to the coming first finances hearing and I waited over 4 weeks for her to tell me 48 hours before the day! How is that for being "awkward"?


2. Also, what about the school decision issue? She is insisting on a school which is easier for her, I am insisting on a school which is simply a better school..what now!?

3. I genuinely can't see where I have been personal and have gone wrong with my email? If you could, please give me some pointers as to where I have gone wrong so I can keep an eye and stay within the rules. The last thing I want to do is play into her hands for the next application.

I agree that your suggestion is better - the less conflict between you the better but this is part of your evidence for the next application
I had missed the point on the Schools - I had thought you were in agreement on the school - is that not correct?
Um - Australia? Obstructive?
I agree that she is but it shouldn't be in the email
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Email - yes, you're right, I agree. I needed another pair of eyes to look at it to see it from a different angle. She did though have her boyfriend from Australia spending 2 weeks there and she asked me on 2 occasions to have the children overnight because "she needed to be with her dying father in hospital", yet she was then seen by my friends abroad having a good time with that same boyfriend. So, I think as delighted as I was to have the children, I defended my position when being accused of "keeping her out of the loop" - she just wasn't interested in our son's situation.

Schools - I thought we agreed as well that if the assessment is positive and our son still wants to go to the better school2, but she has just decided to be awkward and pressure our son into changing his mind so she can get taxi transport for him (with her choice of school1 he would) and he hates it, it literally make him depressed and she is turning a blind eye to it because its easier and cheaper for her not to drive him to school. Now we have a deadlock: we both have rights as parents and the residency order, but we have to agree. Where do we go from here?

If you cannot agree on a school then you will have to apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order and the Court will make the decision.
However if the child is saying he wishes to go to a particular school then there is a good chance that this is what the court will order
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

And to make sure about the inset: if i decide NOT to collect because the timeslot offered is not convenient, what are my options? Should I just wait until the next one and go turn up at the door to collect my daughter, if she says no, add it the "evidence list"?

No that would not be wise - nor good for your daughter.
Have her as long as you can - and maybe arrange a "play date" whilst you are with the solicitor
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Claire I am getting sick and tired of these "threats" and insults where in fact I'm the one who should be calling the Social Services because of her neglect..should I call them or would it just open the door to a whole load of false allegations in return which I would then have to keep fighting back? Or should I just ignore (extremely difficult) and wait for my chance at the next application?
Look, I'm sorry, you get a lot of queries from me, but I have to, this is really starting to waste my time answering her stupid baseless accusations all the the time and jumping through her loops and hoops she is putting in the way!

To: me
Sent: Saturday, 1 June 2013, 15:31
Subject: Headlice

Several times after they've spent time with you, children came back to me infected with headlice!!! I've had enough of buying shampoos for treatment and having to go through this ordeal over and over again.

I expect you to get yourself and xxxx (xxxx being my 13 yo future stepdaughter who is now living with me) treated against headlice ASAP and ALL bedding washed, as well as all hair accessories that you use on the children thoroughly cleaned. If you refuse to do so and children get infected again after they've been with you, I will be forced to notify Social Services.

My reply:

That is the biggest lie you have ever come up with!
The children come to ME from YOU with headlice and its nothing other than logical because they spend considerably more time with you and in school than they spend with me! They come from you without having showers for days and they have a shower or bath every time when they are with me. ASK THEM!

Its utter nonsense to say that it has anything to with me or you. The children mix with children at school and that's where this comes from. I keep my house and the bedding clean and neither I or xxxx have any headlice. you get yourself checked.
Just as a reminder, last summer they came to me from xxxx after being with you 3 weeks WITH HEADLICE and took my fiancée a week to get rid of them and we had to buy all sorts of shampoos and comb for treating headlice! Call Social Services and I will happily answer any questions they may have and give them even more information.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, thanks. I appreciate that.

I asked another separate question, but i see its "locked", any idea why?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The reply below was meant to be a separate question, its a different issue on which I need advice to help me ask my own solicitor the right questions when I see him on Monday, I don't know why it's appeared as a reply below and separately its locked as a separate question. If the JA support team are reading this, please allow the separate question to be answered and unlock it, the reply below shouldn't be there - its irrelevant to the issue talked about above.

Hi Nigel
It is almost worth letting her contact Social Services over the fact that the children have head lice - like almost every other primary
age child in the country
Try not to respond to this sort of nonsense in an emotional way (hard but worthwhile)
Instead aim for a neutral approach such as
" I see you have little understanding of head lice - you may find this reference useful "
Aim for calm factual and dismissive!
I hope that this is of assistance
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Oh, good. :) I've done something along those lines..I explained again that nobody else has any problems, offered to deal with it if was "too much for her" :), but asked her not to insult me any further with references to cleanliness in my home.

Great Claire, thanks again. You're a star!

(I've asked the support team for instructions to change my username and it may be better not to use names, just in case ;) You'll know when its me when I contact you with a different username)

Thats fine - and well done