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New School denying access
#1
To provide a little history first:
Been seperated for over 4 years (divorced now). I used to see my girls every tuesday, thursday and weekends fortnightly.  I picked them up and dropped them at school and I attended every school event they had.
Their mother met someone and moved them about an hour away to where her new boyfriend lives earlier this year and they have been there now for 6 months+.  I now see them practically every weekend whereby I drive to get them and drop them off at home (4 hrs every weekend).  I am hoping to move closer to them in January to alleviate the time and hopefully get back to a similar routine.

They had a sports day come up and I only found out when one of them mentioned it in passing and looked sheepish afterwards as if she was supposed to keep it a secret.  I was surprised no one had told me about it and when I confronted their mother she gave me this "they have a life up here and a life down there" spiel and telling me I can't go. She then took me to one side and said that the school was under the impression her new partner was their dad and it would embarrass the girls if I showed up and they had to explain to their friends etc.  Obviously I was angry no one had attempted to dispel the assumption (although knowing her well I believe this was intended or specified and not necessarily assumed by the school).  I was angry as well that she had put a burden on the girls by asking them to keep secrets from me that they didn't want to.

I contacted the school to ensure they had my details and they literally had no details for me not even as an emergency contact. They had her mother down who lives even further away than me and would have been useless by comparison in an emergency.  After I have given them my details and I ask about sports day date etc I then go and make sure I have time off work to attend.  A few days later I get a call from the Head Mistress who tells me she has spoken to one of my daughters and feels it would be best if I was not to come 'this time' but that she would help her talk to her friends and talk to the teachers etc to help so that any future events shouldn't be an issue.  Obviously I do not want to upset my daughter so I reluctantly agree and miss the first ever school event of their lives and this upsets me greatly.  It also upset my younger daughter that I didn't come.  I later found out that the Head Mistress actually phoned their mother first to ask her what SHE wanted her to do about the situation so it became a very biased situation which was a shame as she had sounded really negotiating on the phone.

Now christmas is here and I already know christmas plays are coming so I talk to my girls about this dad assumption thing and it turns out no one has done anything about it at the school and their mother clearly wants to save face and no intentions of doing so anyway. I tell them that I will sort it myself and that I will be attending their school plays and they should tell me if they don't want me to.  Both are in agreement and are quick to tell me they want me to come and since me doing that talk alot more about the play.  As a side note on dropping them off one time the older one brought up the plays asking about tickets etc for me when their mother shouted at her saying "I DON'T KNOW" which was really out of order and clearly trying to dissuade her from asking about it so I have already guessed her intentions towards it.

I email the school asking about tickets, get a response saying "Sure, which performance, how many tickets etc".  I state which ones and who for. No response.
I email the next day confirming the tickets and time. No response.  
After a few hours have passed I get a nagging suspicion the same scenario is about to happen all over again so I call the school.
I ask about ticket prices and times etc which is all fine and then I ask if I confirm my tickets are booked/set aside. I am put on hold and eventually whoever answered comes back to say that I will get a response to my email and that she can't confirm the tickets as they are still allocating seats etc. 

Obviously my concern is that the 'seat allocation' will be used as an excuse to stop me coming (to which I will reply that I will simply stand at the back).  Hopefully I don't seem insane and this is an unusual situation but I don't really know what my rights are as far as school events go.  Does the school have the right to deny anyone, even a parent, from attending events?  
I know I have a right to information about them at the school but this is slightly different and I can't find any information about it.  I would understand if I was not a very active father or abused them physically/emotionally etc but I have always been a very active part of their lives and I don't see why I should back down again especially as my daughters themselves don't want me to.

It frustrates me as before they moved I was very active with their school stuff and even now I buy school shoes, bags, lunch boxes, help them with homework etc. I don't have an issue with this guy he seems like a nice chap but obviously it feels like I've had my identity stolen and losing out as a result.
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#2
The Department for Education advice states that schools are legally obliged to treat all parents equally unless there is a court order limiting parental responsibility. You can read their advice at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...y_2016.pdf.

The school might try and argue that events such as sports days or plays are non-statutory and you turning up is not in your kids’ best interests. They can’t keep on using this an excuse indefinitely though as you have regular contact with your kids, so they should tell you how and when any concerns are going to be resolved.

I’d make an appointment with the head to get this sorted: quote her the relevant parts in the Department for Education advice (it’s amazing how often schools don’t actually know the law), and if you’re not satisfied with her response take the matter to the school governors. Also, make sure the school is sending you all the information that gets sent to her mother so that you get to know about everything when she does.
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#3
(11-30-2017, 02:56 PM)TwoWheels Wrote: The Department for Education advice states that schools are legally obliged to treat all parents equally unless there is a court order limiting parental responsibility. You can read their advice at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...y_2016.pdf.

The school might try and argue that events such as sports days or plays are non-statutory and you turning up is not in your kids’ best interests. They can’t keep on using this an excuse indefinitely though as you have regular contact with your kids, so they should tell you how and when any concerns are going to be resolved.

I’d make an appointment with the head to get this sorted: quote her the relevant parts in the Department for Education advice (it’s amazing how often schools don’t actually know the law), and if you’re not satisfied with her response take the matter to the school governors. Also, make sure the school is sending you all the information that gets sent to her mother so that you get to know about everything when she does.

This is a great response thank you. I actually think I missed a parents evening recently as well which I was not informed about despite them having my details.
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#4
As a follow up to my post I was sadly correct and rather than getting back to me the school contacted their mother instead who is trying to tell me I can't have tickets.
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#5
I’d give the Head a call straight away and ask her why she thinks it’s appropriate to deal with your request for tickets by asking your ex for her view on whether you should go. It’s not the school’s job to seek the permission of one parent before allowing another to be involved, particularly when it is clear that your ex wants to exclude you as much as possible. If the school thinks for some reason that you not going is not in the best interests of your kids then they should explain to you why that is – your ex just not liking the idea is not sufficient. You’re legally entitled to full involvement in your daughters’ schooling unless there is a specific court restricting it - wanting to be in the audience for a school play is a pretty normal thing to ask for, and they should be very clear why they think this is a problem.

Also, have a look at the school’s website and see if the school has any policies on separated parents – quite a lot of schools do now (try googling  ‘Separated Parents Policy’ for examples). In the list of things parents are entitled to, “invitations to school events” is usually there along with standard rights such as attendance at parent meetings and receiving school reports. If your daughters’ school hasn’t got such a policy, you might want to print one of these out and hand it to the Head when you see her to show that what you are asking for is commonplace in many schools.
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#6
You need one person in the school who is on your side... (given that all the mothers and teachers will have been told 'the story'... so you are not liked ... standard :-) )

The schools job is to remain neutral and do what is best for the kid... stopping one parent... either parent from attending the school performance is NOT in best interests

A school is a place of education... guess what your new role is... educator... get going and educate them !
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
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#7
I spoke to the Head Mistress (after putting in a complaint) and she claims to have contacted their mother as a 'duty of care' because she knows very little about me etc.  
Eventually she spoke to their mother after our conversation and later emailed to confirm I had tickets.

I only partly feel like I accomplished something as I got to attend their play as I would have done any other year as normal but I expect the school see me as a 'problem' now as a result.
Its such a shame that it had to come down to me complaining to get there.
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#8
You are doing what is right by your daughters, which is making sure you’re there, as other parents are, at their school activities. If the school has a problem, that’s for them to address. Would they really prefer non-resident parents to take no real interest in what their children do?

I’d still try for a face to face meeting with the Head if you can so you can show her what a reasonable, committed parent you are,  who just wants to play an active role in his daughters' schooling.
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#9
(12-02-2017, 07:19 PM)breath2k Wrote: I spoke to the Head Mistress (after putting in a complaint) and she claims to have contacted their mother as a 'duty of care' because she knows very little about me etc.  
Eventually she spoke to their mother after our conversation and later emailed to confirm I had tickets.

I only partly feel like I accomplished something as I got to attend their play as I would have done any other year as normal but I expect the school see me as a 'problem' now as a result.
Its such a shame that it had to come down to me complaining to get there.

Small steps mate... at least the headmistresses can't use the duty of care excuse again... she met you now.

Think of it as feedback rather than a complaint... how they respond will dictate how much more feedback you have to give (i give my kids school A LOT of feedback coz i dont want the next dad to go through this cr*p)
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
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