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Your Right to Be Kept Informed About Your Child: A Guide

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 12 Sep 2021 |
 
Fathers Parental Responsibility Schools

As a committed father, you want to know all about the important things in your child’s life, particularly their medical and educational information. If you don’t have main custody of your son or daughter, you might not be the initial point of contact for doctors and schools, and you may find yourself missing out on crucial information. This is a quick guide to the rights of fathers and the ways to make sure you are kept informed.

Approach Your Ex-Partner

First, however difficult it may be, you should approach the resident parent. Explain that you are interested in your child’s progress and wellbeing and that you would like to have the same information from school and doctors as they have. It will often be the easiest way to get access to documents, as your child’s mother will have all the information provided for them, and can simply forward copies on to you.

Medical Information

In an ideal world, sharing your concerns with the resident parent should solve the situation. If, however, they are unhelpful with your request, you need to know where you stand as a parent. In terms of your child’s health, you should contact the doctor’s practice directly, explaining that you are a parent who has the right to your child’s health information. The surgery may ask you to provide proof of your Parental Responsibility. Do not be offended by this, it is routine for doctors to ensure that patient records are confidential, but they must also make sure that information is provided to those who are entitled to it. (See Writing to Your Child's School or GP for Information: A Template on this site.)

If They Refuse

If you are refused the information, ask the practitioner for information on how to make a complaint, or speak to the General Practice Manager. You can go one step further and speak to the Health Authority or the Information Commissioner, if you need access to your child’s medical records.

In some cases, your child may be moved from one doctor’s practice to another, and if this is the case, and you are unaware of the location of the new practice, you can write to the Area Health Authority, with proof of your Parental Responsibility, and they will inform you as to the new practice details. At this point, you must contact the new practice yourself as described above.

Schools and Education

The Department for Education and Employment has clarified that the parent with whom the child does not normally live is entitled (unless restricted by the Court) to the same rights as the parent with whom the child lives under issues relating to the Education Act. This means that as a parent, you have the same rights to information that the resident parent has.

Under education legislation, if you are the natural parent or have been granted parental responsibility, you are within your rights to receive information regarding your child’s schooling. It is essential that you make sure that the school has your address and knows that you want the same information sent to both parents.

Letting them Know

To ensure the school knows that you want information and that you are entitled to it, contact your child’s school in a pleasant but firm manner. Explain that you, as a parent, are entitled to the same information to be sent home to you as well as the child’s mother. Put this request in writing, with enclosed proof that you are the child’s father. Be prepared for more questions, as schools and doctors have a duty of care to protect the child. If you have no court ruling denying you access to the child, you are legally entitled to the information.

If the School is Unwilling

In some cases, schools will be less willing to allow information to be sent to the non-resident parent. If this is the case, contact the Local Education Authority (your local council will give you the details), citing the guidance from the Department of Education and Employment. Explain the fact that you have no Court Judgment against you but you are not being afforded your parental rights. They should help you to receive the school information in the same way that the resident parent does.

School Selection

School selection is not as straightforward as the resident parent ‘choosing’ their preferred school. It all depends on the catchment area of where the child resides. If speaking with the resident parent has not made a difference and you believe that your child’s wellbeing will be affected by attending a certain school, then you can apply for a Specific Order Issue.

Specific Issue Order

If you find that, with the school or general practitioner, you are meeting obstacles which deny your parental rights, you can apply for a Specific Issue Order if:

  • You want an Order relating to specific issues of how your child is being looked after by the other parent
  • You cannot reach an agreement with the other parent
  • You fear for the general wellbeing of your child

This is a last resort, as legal battles can be lengthy, stressful and put further strain on the whole family, including your child.

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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My son is 9 (just started yr 5) He is starting to walk to and from school on his own with friends and has a phone. He's only allowed to walk in the spring and summer months when it is light and I collect him after football at 4.20 as there is no lollipop lady there at that time- it's 0.5 miles and takes 10 minutes.he's done his road safety certificate, stranger danger certificate and in gradual stages. There is a lollipop lady outside of the school which mans the busy road in the morning and afternoon, He has my written consent and I am his residential parent (ex sees him 1 weekend every 3 weeks and 50/50 in holidays. My ex has now gone mental about him walking independently (although he was happy to leave him unattended in a locked Van all day whilst he went to work at 7 years old) he's phoning the school and applying to the court for a specific steps order and I just wondered whether the court will intervene with this or will this be seen as day to day parenting issue?
Sm1234 - 12-Sep-21 @ 10:55 PM
I'm a single men but don't have(custody or want it) .I don t care about her affairs nothing to do with me .its ancient history thats back in my( early twentys)Lifetime ago that .I was loose in my twentys I was putting my peaker in a few randoms myself .then go home play happy family's like the Brady Bunch or Sullivan's been a wholesome daddy .now im older i realise It was very dysfunctional and a recipe disaster .when around people back then we had a( little act) so everyone thought we where a loving family. (But the truth was we hated each other) .this is not mean gossip i caught her putting (rat sack in my mash potato gods truth my own uncle told her to do it because he wanted to marry her)i had to stay on my toes have my wits about me back in those days .they wanted me out the picture. Little did they know I wanted out .
Chris - 9-Aug-21 @ 11:21 PM
Very lucky in as much that I have custody of my 16 year old son. Due to her 3 year affair he wants nothing to do with her - he gets his GCSE results on Wed and does not wish her to know them. I'm guessing we arent able to stop this? any advice welcomed...
SingleDad - 9-Aug-21 @ 10:26 AM
Look I’m going to die and never get to meet my daughter that’s my reality.and have everybody in my family make fun off me because the mother was sleeping with themso walk in my shoes .
Wes - 5-Aug-21 @ 8:15 AM
@rich.can’t you just contact your daughter yourself she is 19 and with today’s young ones they all have phones and social media.even my granny has a phone and Facebook Instagram .???so maybe she doesn’t like you and wants nothing to do with you ??just a thought.
Wes - 5-Aug-21 @ 2:24 AM
@rich.it’s because off her age mate .I know with the police and I’m guessing education would be the same .once someone is legal age .they won’t and can’t give out that information privacy laws .
Wes - 5-Aug-21 @ 2:17 AM
Hi, Do these rights to knowing your child's education for a non-resident parent apply to further education, too? I've been trying to find out what exact course and level my 19-year old daughter is doing and all I've come across so far is brick walls. The College that I 100% knew she was at until late June 2021 have ignored all my letters and emails so far....
Rich R - 4-Aug-21 @ 11:55 PM
My daughter’s mum and I have split, we don’t see eye to eye, making contact very difficult. I have parental responsibility and am in contact with her school. My question is this: Can the school notify my daughters mum I’ve done this? Or is it in breach of privacy laws?
Dodge - 6-Jun-21 @ 4:30 PM
Help. Father 8 year old son Mum is now Home Scooping but I’m not convinced he is getting a good education from her and I’m really worried And Hopeless
Huntet - 20-May-21 @ 9:31 PM
In the part that's titled Letting them know. It states that if there is NO court order in place obstructing contact with your children then you have a right to all schooling info. Can someone please tell me what applies if the courts have ruled NO contact either direct or indirect please. Thank you.
Sam1 - 6-May-21 @ 2:08 PM
If I don't want my ex-partner down as emergency contact at my childs school, because he lives too far away and cant drive. Is that allowed as ive got my Parents down as emergency contack as they live a 5 minute walk from the school
Kevcov - 3-May-21 @ 10:00 AM
@jaz.for myself I have( distanced myself )from the situation. Because everytime I tried to see this child im put on orders .now with the child age and the time frame its up to the teenager to make the decision if she wants to meet me .I highly doupt she would its been to (long in reality she wouldn't even remember me) .but on brighter note atleast I'm not dealing with lieing cheating women or having police on my door guys hanging around .to old for that stuff now .I dont care who the mother is with i have officially given up .I wipe my hands clean off this situation because in reality it is beneath me.and if totally honest I never wanted the mother or the child I was a kid myself back then and was repeatedly told to the right thing and stay with the mother .when in reality I wanted to run far away from the whole situation I foolishly got myself into as 20 year old kid.
C laurie - 6-Mar-21 @ 11:04 PM
Hi guys hope you can give me some male prospective on this please. My ex and I share a 9 year old son he has him every other weekend and one day every week. He can call and chat with our son whenever he wishes. He sees him for birthday Christmas etc.. The issue is communication he will take our son for over night visits to other people's houses which our son was told to not tell mom. Our son suffers from seizures under the hospital for this due to a disability that is causing it. I have explained I am worried I do not know where he is when he has him and I worry if something should happen I won't know. He has told me he will tell me if this happens, but he has kept me in the dark over many other things? Any advice would be helpful I just want to know that our son is OK?
Jaz - 2-Mar-21 @ 6:42 AM
Hi Dave, Do you happen to have a template of the letter you sent to all the schools with in the catchment area requesting to find out wether your children are attending there school or not as if honest I need as much help as possible and want to make sure I put everything I need to in the letter? Any help would be much appreciated
Sam - 22-Dec-20 @ 12:35 AM
Sam, this happened to me but for primary school. My son's mother lied about his placement, giving a different school. It wasn't until I contacted the school did I find out that he wasn't going to be attending. I then had to contact all the schools within the catchment area, providing the court order that showed I had parental responsibility, to establish which school he was attending. I finally found out a week or so later. As embarrassing as it is I would suggest you email all the likely schools or the local council to find out which school your child is attending. They, by law, have to tell you which school they are placed in. It will be highly embarrassing for you ex when they realise she is lying or denying you information you are entitled to.
Dave - 2-Nov-20 @ 1:28 PM
What happens if you don't know what school your child goes to? My little lad has just moved up to secondary school, and my ex' wife is ignoring my requests for an update on which school he goes to - this means that I don't even know which school to approach.Any help will be greatly appreciated.Thank you.Sam
Sam - 27-Oct-20 @ 6:24 PM
Do I have a right to know who lives in the same home as my child? I have parental responsibility and a court order and I have contact with my son every other weekend.He is 5yrs old. For quite some time now my son has been mentioning another person/partner living with them. He speaks freely around us and is never questioned or 'shushed'. Sometimes he suddenly stops talking like he's been told not to say anything. I have asked my ex if there is another person living with them or of our son is regularly left with another person. She told me no but even if there was it is not my business. Is she right? Do I have a right to know who our child is left with while she is at work and who is living at their address and around our child?
JellyBean - 22-Oct-20 @ 10:10 AM
My daughters mother has a new partner for the past six months. My daughter who is almost 5 has expressed that he provides care to her (including personal care like showers her and helps her to sleep). However my daughters also expressed recently that he shouts at her and at times her mum's at work and she's alone with him. To date, I've only know his first name and no other information. Do I have the right to ask my daughters mum for more details about her new partner? What information can I ask? I need to have facts and proof put together to take matters further about her partner shouting at my daughter. Is there any advice you give me on that please? Kind regards, Singh.
Singh - 4-Oct-20 @ 8:42 AM
@scoobie.the guys in my family and a few mates of mine all see there children on the weekends sum have them full time and go on holidays together.and they all ask me if i see my daughter and I say no I haven’t seen her sense the day she left with her mother 11 years ago because I had orders on me and wasn’t allowed to see her .and they say does it bother you .and I say yeah there is a part that does put this was the hand I was dealt and there are two ways to deal with it either curl up in a ball and feel sorry for yourself or you pick yourself up and get on with your own life .and i said to them I know I will die and never get to meet her 100 percent.it is what is .the older I get and the more I think about the situation I am not even sure anymore If i am the (bio father) I mean that .i don’t no want to say to these people who ask these bloody questions i just wish I never meet her (mother) and then I would never get ask these (awkward questions) .all I say to them is that you guys are good dads and better men then me .now please don’t ever mention this topic again to me please .i know I am disliked over it but its the only way I can deal with the situation.Other wise i f ing lose it big time and there will be a massive brawl and things will swirl out of control and I will be in handcuffs.the girl is 16 now if she wants to meet me she would contact me but she doesn’t that speaks volumes to me and g8 es me all the answers i need .
Chriso - 6-Jul-20 @ 6:50 PM
@scoobie.the guys in my family and a few mates of mine all see there children on the weekends sum have them full time and go on holidays together.and they all ask me if i see my daughter and I say no I haven’t seen her sense the day she left with her mother 11 years ago because I had orders on me and wasn’t allowed to see her .and they say does it bother you .and I say yeah there is a part that does put this was the hand I was dealt and there are two ways to deal with it either curl up in a ball and feel sorry for yourself or you pick yourself up and get on with your own life .and i said to them I know I will die and never get to meet her 100 percent.it is what is .the older I get and the more I think about the situation I am not even sure anymore If i am the (bio father) I mean that .i don’t no want to say to these people who ask these bloody questions i just wish I never meet her (mother) and then I would never get ask these (awkward questions) .all I say to them is that you guys are good dads and better men then me .now please don’t ever mention this topic again to me please .i know I am disliked over it but its the only way I can deal with the situation.Other wise i f ing lose it big time and there will be a massive brawl and things will swirl out of control and I will be in handcuffs.the girl is 16 now if she wants to meet me she would contact me but she doesn’t that speaks volumes to me and g8 es me all the answers i need .
Chriso - 6-Jul-20 @ 6:36 PM
@scoobie.the guys in my family and a few mates of mine all see there children on the weekends sum have them full time and go on holidays together.and they all ask me if i see my daughter and I say no I haven’t seen her sense the day she left with her mother 11 years ago because I had orders on me and wasn’t allowed to see her .and they say does it bother you .and I say yeah there is a part that does put this was the hand I was dealt and there are two ways to deal with it either curl up in a ball and feel sorry for yourself or you pick yourself up and get on with your own life .and i said to them I know I will die and never get to meet her 100 percent.it is what is .the older I get and the more I think about the situation I am not even sure anymore If i am the (bio father) I mean that .i don’t no want to say to these people who ask these bloody questions i just wish I never meet her (mother) and then I would never get ask these (awkward questions) .all I say to them is that you guys are good dads and better men then me .now please don’t ever mention this topic again to me please .i know I am disliked over it but its the only way I can deal with the situation.Other wise i f ing lose it big time and there will be a massive brawl and things will swirl out of control and I will be in handcuffs.the girl is 16 now if she wants to meet me she would contact me but she doesn’t that speaks volumes to me and g8 es me all the answers i need .
Chriso - 6-Jul-20 @ 6:31 PM
My ex partner has previously taken my son and half siblings away on 2 long weekends and a weeks holiday and continually refuses to provide details of them or ask for my permission. In fact, once i managed to get her to tell me, gave my permission and then she changed the destination at the last minute so it was to late to agree/disagree. She repeatedly states that as she is primary carer she doesn't have to tell me anything. There are no court orders, no parenting plans that she will agree to and on two occasions she has said she is going to take them on holiday abroad and i can't do anything about it and that if i want to try and stop it i would be upsetting the children and that is my test. The problem i have is because she wont ask me or provide details, i don't know whether she is staying somewhere in the uk or going abroad. She has disrupted my parenting time with the holidays without regard for make up time and even if she does offer make up time, it has to suit her, its never my choice or agreement. She dictates. where do i stand legally with this situation and holidays in uk and abroad? thank you
scoobie - 6-Jul-20 @ 12:07 PM
I've been told by my ex that our son had surgery on a tumour, and has self-harmed. Do i have a right to know details about this. Help please.
tez - 20-Apr-20 @ 4:13 PM
Can please some put me in the right direction of contacts..my son mother will not tellme what school my son attends.i need to know how he progress is etc Thankyou
NEN - 28-Mar-20 @ 4:27 PM
My ex refuses to tell me were she and my daughter are living my daughter who's 10 has told me not to contact my ex partner but my daughter wont speak to me I only hear from her wen it's her birthday or xmas I get no photos used to get skype but thts gone now wats my standings advice on wat to do
Silly - 4-Mar-20 @ 10:05 PM
My ex wife won't share informationabout my daughters education, tried contactingthe school they said " I cannothave any information " I am so frustratedwhere do I stand.
Sooty - 2-Mar-20 @ 7:04 AM
Just some advice my husband is in court proceedings for custody of his son. We have recently got the cafcass report that his ex has not engaged with, however we have learnt that last year his son was on a child in need plan which we were not informed about. He has 50/50 parenting. Do social services have to inform my husband about this or not.
Chant - 29-Feb-20 @ 2:42 PM
I need advice, I have parental responsibility of all my children but have recently discovered my son is having an operation and I haven't been informed of it. Their mother has failed to keep me informed of schooling or health issues. Do I need to go down the legal route to enforce my rights and how would the court do this? And IV also been told her husband who doesn't have parental responsibility is signing hospital documents
Negg - 24-Jan-20 @ 10:44 AM
Hi I just wanted advice, myself and my daughters mum seperated over a year ago and the only way I can see my daughter is if I go to my exs house for an hour 1 or 2 times a week. My daughter is 3 and loves the idea of foing to nursery but the mum wont allow it, can I have any say in this? I'm on the birth certificate and I'm hoping to mediate very soon, potentially court if it goes that far.
Pl83 - 7-Jan-20 @ 5:05 PM
Pls i need an advice on this issue, I married a wife but she die during child bearing, so i desided to take care of the baby, and since then her parents hv been giving me problem pls advice did i hv the right to take care of her.
Atike - 2-Jan-20 @ 5:15 PM
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