A New Term in a New World:
Sending children back to school during a pandemic

 

For separated parents, co-parenting has been tough throughout the pandemic with the additional stress of home-schooling.

The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has confirmed that from September all schools in England will reopen with full capacity and that parents could face financial penalties if their children do not attend “without good reason”.

However, with a degree of uncertainty coming from some Head Teachers and Teaching Unions about how safe a full re-opening of schools might be, some parents may be wondering what their options are if they cannot agree on whether to send their children back to school in the current climate.

Parents may find it difficult having to balance their concerns and anxieties about the virus still being in general circulation across the country (and the potential risks and repercussions that could come with that), with their child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.

Given the recent drive of the UK Government to commit to the full reopening of schools, any dispute concerning a child’s return is likely to be centred around whether there is a “good reason” for that child to not attend. Likely considerations will include any pre-existing health conditions or acute risks to the child or their household. This may be particularly relevant where the child or anyone in the child’s household is asked to shield.

At such an anxious and unsettling time, the most important thing to consider is the overall welfare of the child. Parents should carefully consider the options available to them in order to resolve any dispute concerning their child’s safe return to school or nursery.

Communication is vital. Communicating with your children’s school may prove to be very effective so they can explain what measures they have in place to keep your children and those around them safe. However, communication between parents can be difficult when agreement seems unlikely.

To aid communication between parents, there are a range of professionals who can assist including lawyers, mediators and therapists.

At Consilia Mediation we can help you and your former partner agree arrangements for your children. Through the process of family mediation we can help you to reach mutually agreeable proposals regarding your children. Mediation can also help you to improve/maintain a healthy dialogue as parents so that you can parent together more effectively in a post-COVID world.

One of the major benefits of the mediation process is that we recognise that as parents you are best placed to make decisions around the care of your children. Our role is to facilitate those discussions so that you are able to make decisions for the benefit of your family going forward.

Check out our dedicated Consilia Mediation website for more information about mediation and our two experienced accredited solicitor mediators, Laura Clapton and Sarah Manning. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 0113 322 9222 or email us at mediation@consilialegal.co.uk.

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