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Staying Involved in a Child's School Activities

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 14 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Single Dads Fathers Parent Parenting

As a separated or divorced parent, it’s not always easy to keep up on what’s happening with your children at school. At the best of times kids don’t communicate much about school with their parents, no matter how good you are at parenting. Asking how school was often elicits something like “Good” as a response, which isn’t especially helpful and getting more information can be like pulling teeth.

As a single dad it’s even harder, since you want to make the most of the time with your kids rather than pestering them for information about school – although, of course, you want to know if there’s a problem there, so you can do something about it.

But even as a single dad you can be more involved if you choose to be, and as a good father, you will certainly want to be. In many ways it becomes a parenting issue, as school is the main component of childhood these days.

The Responsibilities of Schools

If you have Parental Responsibility for your children as defined under the Children Act 1989, you have a Right To Be Kept Informed About Your Child, and this includes taking part in all the decisions regarding their education. That’s not just good parenting, it’s the law.

You have the right as a parent to receive information from the school, including attendance and performance reports on your children, to give permission as the father for trips and other activities, to participate in school activities and to be told about any meetings at school that involve your children.

If your ex hasn’t given information about you to the school, you can contact them directly, after which they have to provide you with information. In the case of school trips, permission has to come from both parents, and if only one gives permission, to stop possible conflicts, the child won’t be allowed to go. The school is also obliged to inform both parents when the child is ill or has medical issues.

How To Be More Involved As a Single Dad

If you’re on good terms with your ex, you could attend school meetings or parent’s evenings in her place, to talk to the teachers and get a good assessment of how your children are doing. You could also attend things like sports day or pick up the kids from school sometimes, which will be a perfect chance to talk to them about what’s been happening while it’s still fresh in their minds.

However, if you and your ex are not on good terms, it becomes a little more difficult. Talking to your kids about school is good when you’re a single dad, but even if they expand their answers, you’re only going to get one side of the story.

Talk to the school and see if you can arrange meetings with the teachers to discuss the progress of your kids. It shows that you’re involved as a parent – as you undoubtedly are. But although fathers have traditionally been less involved in the education of children, leaving it to the wives and partners, a single father has to be more pro-active.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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[Add a Comment]
@brett.next time your ex’s boyfriend threatens to rip your jaw .tell him you have (iron jaw )and that you are going to shatter his glass jaw .if he gets in the way of you seeing your children .tell him you send him a sex tape of your ex in action in her younger days (prime )and ask how it feels to paying for the older shaggy version ps stand up for your brother .
Chris-laurie - 14-Oct-18 @ 11:46 PM
@brett.you need a (solicitor).and in my opinion going to the school to see your daughter in school play or sports is ok .i don’t no about going there everyday and walking your daughter to your x car but hey that’s just me.
Chris laurie - 13-Oct-18 @ 2:53 AM
@brett. Rip your jaw off what a classic line that is .i bet most likely hey even my last pound .he couldn’t rip the toilet paper from his old ass let alone a jaw .i think someone watching to much Netflix get job you bum.
Suzi j xxxx - 12-Oct-18 @ 10:04 AM
Hi, I have a court order in place to see and communicate with my children but my ex wife has breached the order and I have to go back to court to enforce the order. In the mean time she has cut all contact with my children I cannot see or contact them. I have always been involved in their education and quite often I would meet them from school and walk them to their mothers car. Recently I went to the school to see my kids to be met by my exes new partner who got aggressive and threatened to rip my jaw off if I didn't leave. The school also received a call off him saying the same. Now they have asked me not to show up at the school to avoid any trouble and I now have no way of maintaining a presence in my children's lives. I don't want them to think I've given up on them and I know the courts will eventually sort this out but I'm close to my children and they're so sensitive. Any advice or knowledge of law?
Brett - 12-Oct-18 @ 8:33 AM
Hi, I'm enquiring on behalf of my boyfriend. He has 3 kids who have all been taken out of school by his ex. The youngest is 5 and this week just been removed by their mum with the reason being she can't get him to school because of the other 2 and he needs nurturing at home. Is there any advice out there I can give him please. I really don't know what to say that will help.
Jane - 28-Sep-18 @ 2:58 PM
My ex who I have a 7 yr old with and PR is refusing to tell me where/when meetings are happening with school. He has recently had a Qb test for ADHD and I have been going to every meeting until now. A very important meeting is coming up to discuss the results and my ex is refusing to tell me when and is saying only she will be going
AG86 - 12-Jan-18 @ 5:15 PM
J - Your Question:
Hi, I am a single dad. My 4 year old son resides with his mother who does not want to share the information about the school. In fact she has been refusing to tell me where his preschool was. After 4 months I managed to get the details and I contact the headteacher with the letter from your website (I attached a birth certificate)I have been refused to be given any information. What can I do?

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility, the school are obliged to keep you up to date on your child's welfare and progress (unless a court order states otherwise). A solicitor's letter outlining the your PR rights and the obligation of the school to keep to the law may work.
SeparatedDads - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:06 PM
Hi, I am a single dad. My 4 year old son resides with his mother who does not want to share the information about the school. In fact she has been refusing to tell me where his preschool was. After 4 months I managed to get the details and I contact the headteacher with the letter from your website (I attached a birth certificate) I have been refused to be given any information. What can I do?
J - 8-Oct-17 @ 2:16 PM
charlie - Your Question:
Hello,I am separated from my partner and have PR for my daughter. Can her school stop me from attending school functions/meet my daughter at school?

Our Response:
The Government's guidance on Parental Responsibility states that both school and local authority staff must treat all parents equally, unless there is a court order limiting an individual's exercise of parental responsibility. You can see the gov.uk information here regarding the stance your daughter's school should take.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jun-17 @ 1:40 PM
Hello, I am separated from my partner and have PR for my daughter. Can her school stop me from attending school functions/meet my daughter at school?
charlie - 19-Jun-17 @ 12:31 PM
I think the parent should come but not bring new partner and her kid
Jo - 18-Jan-17 @ 8:09 AM
hi im a seperated father of 2 kids, i was only put on the birth certificate for 1 my kids, ive managed to get the school to send me reports n so on but for my son who im not on the birth certificute the school wont let me i have proof with dna that im father to both should this be enough to get reports? ive got aspergers which causes me trouble and as unemployed i cant take to court, what should i do, im a father crying for help
ballbags - 2-Sep-14 @ 5:56 PM
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