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

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 24 Sep 2019 |
 
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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[Add a Comment]
My son is in his final year of primary school. His mum is the resident parent but I speak to him daily and have him three weekends out of four. Do I have any choice over his secondary school if she just goes ahead with what she wants and doesn’t have a conversation with me about it at all?
Dannyboy.16 - 24-Sep-19 @ 9:48 PM
I've split with the wife and near the end of the divorce. I have just found out that she took my 4 year old to the Channel Islands for a visit which I was not informed of. I remember her having me sign a letter to say I agree for her to take to Oz a year ago. Did she need to do the same when travelling here?? Hope this makes sense and any advise would be greatly appreciated. Kinds regards Tim
Tim - 14-Aug-19 @ 9:45 PM
Asking on behalf of my partner who is currently trying to go through mediation with his lg's mum (she is refusing to go as doesn't see the point). How could he find out which medical practice his lg is registered at in case of emergencies whilst she is with us? Mum is refusing to share the gp practice information with my partner as she doesn't feel he needs to know any of this information. Thank for any advice.
Momov4 - 14-Aug-19 @ 5:38 PM
I need some advice on how to proceed, I have a 16 month old son with my ex and she already had a daughter who I treat as mine before we met, our relationship became toxic and basically impossible 7 months ago and we separated, I offered for her to continue living in the house we shared for a while whilst we figured things out since it was rented, like she does when we argueshe moved back to her parents, this time though things got worse, she defamed, sabotaged and even got me arrested as I am south african and had visa issues at time which is now sorted. Over the last 3 months, she has only let me seen my son once. It's breaking me and making me unable to live. he literally spent the first 11 months of his life on my chest and not been there for him or having access to him kills, I did make mistake during the relationship as she did too, but not sure why she's being extremely bitter and making it impossible for me to bond with my son, I have requested a court order as the only other option she gave me was 2 hours in contact centre a month, what can I do?
marto - 10-Aug-19 @ 5:55 PM
Can anyone help. In the past 10 months I have only seen my son once. He's 16 but my ex who had the affair has turned him against me. She is not advising me of anything and I am doing my best to write letters etc as she changed his mobile too. I fully pay CSA alsowant to take him out and a suff but he doesn't want to know. I've done my best for years working hard etc to ensure he has what he wants. Any advice would be really helpful.
Alismudge - 6-Aug-19 @ 4:22 PM
My child’s father is on her birth certificate but has made no effort to see her in the last two years. I want to move back down to where my family stay but that is also close to him. If he agrees to be consistent with her then I am more than happy to arrange regular contact but currently he is a stranger to her. Do I legally have to let him know where I move to? Or can I wait until he proves himself a bit with regular contact letting in public places etc
Boo belle - 1-Aug-19 @ 4:54 PM
My brother has been kept from his children for nearly a year with no just cause an no evidence to support allegations made by the mother, she agreed to contact but didn't keep up with it,an to save herself from getting in trouble made up unfounded allegations against him an said he was violent to her even tho she keeps running to him when she's in trouble. He's never laid a finger on her or children, just arguements over her abusing her medication an not being fit to look after the children, the children suffered neglect from her an social services have taken over, an children in care of sister. But still she gets to see the children more than my brother an they keep disregarding him to have the children back cos he tested positive for an alcohol test after going out for his brothers birthday. He has done nothing wrong and was a fantastic dad, no criminal record, no evidence to support her allegations, no one has even listened to his side of things just had his children taken away an as a result the children have suffered proven neglect at her hands I'm lost an need advice desperately just want the kids back with their dad where they belong.
C - 17-Jul-19 @ 4:46 PM
Do I have the right to be made aware if my child has been sent to childcare and not going to be staying at thier home address with my ex?
Rick - 6-Jul-19 @ 5:48 PM
My ex girlfriend wants me to sign a court order which I’m not 100 % happy with as it’s all a little one sided and not really in my son’s best interest. It’s all a little controlling on her side, I have my son every fortnight I pick up on a Friday and drop him off on a Sunday at 6pm as I know he at school the next day.my son’s mother wants time restrictions in it for the Friday pick up at 4.30 but there are sometimes I would like to pick him up from school or when on school holidays pick him up in the afternoon. I feel I wouldn’t be able to do this if the time restitution is in there and my ex is one of them people if she was having a bad day and I asked to pick him up early she would say no you are breaching your court order! Can I refuse to sign it or can I request to have the time restriction for the Friday not to be in? Regards Jason
Jay - 2-Jul-19 @ 2:27 PM
I have a serious issue going on and need the best advice possible. I'll keep it brief as possible, 3 years ago me and my "then" partner fell pregnant, 6 months in I was sent to prison for intent of supply, did my time and changed my ways, but on my journey inside, 4 months after our daughter being born I received a letter from her breaking up with me (dear john) and it was for no reason what so ever. She has bipolar and personality disorder so I left her to it even though it killed me. 5 months after that she got back with me when I moved to another jail, then broke up with me randomly after a few months again and became a lesbian. I then came out of jail after a few more months, and finally had my daughter with me for the weekend and it was amazing and it's been that way ever since,me and the mum have been on and off over the year she cheated on me through this period aswell by drinking on medication and finally after the 8th time of trying we decided to be friends and do our own things instead and make sure it was always about our baby first, we got into an arguement over the weekend over the pettyiest thing and even though were not together or live with each other she gave her phone to the police and wont let me or my family see my child, I've been told to hand myself in but I dont know what's going on at all. I'm on the birth certificate and have never harmed or been loud infront of my daughter so what can I do?
B - 15-May-19 @ 2:16 PM
Hi. I am going to apply to court order as i havent seen my kids 4 five months. I am legally married n on their birth certificate. My question is in how many days i will get court order to see my kids? also i am living in rented 1 bedroom will it effect my case? thanks in advance
Kkkk - 13-May-19 @ 11:44 AM
Iv not really had contact with my son for the first part of his life (birth -4 years) due to my ex-girlfriend keeping me at arms length and constantly moving house, I live 50 miles away from her and when I asked her family to where she had moved to they just ended up blocking me on every social media. Iv never done anything wrong to her or my child and supported her through out the pregnancy even tho we wasn’t actually together as a couple, just over a year ago my know fiancée told be I should pay someone to find her so I could arrange mediation with her through a mediation company near her so she wasn’t the one doing the traveling, Iv been seeing my child for over a year now and have him every other weekend and call him in the week I haven’t got him Iv recently (after a very rocky road) got my name on the birth certificate as I found out after he was born that she hadn’t named me on it, my question is Iv had a solicitor letter from her which a lot of demands on it to which I feel they are very unreasonable. She said she is having a court order drawn up with these demands on it.. do I have to agree to her demands as unreasonable as they are ?
J.F - 17-Apr-19 @ 1:07 PM
I have a legitimate question is it to late to apply for a c1 00 for visitation to a child who is 14 and there has been no contactfor about 10years .i have been told bye a solicitor that the legal age for me approach her is 16 without court action and the mother can’t do anything .its only a couple off years away I am not in a strong financially position so I might take this option .or any advice on the court costs .
Thinking - 22-Mar-19 @ 1:33 AM
Please can someone help I have a court order that states my ex can only have indirect contact in the form of 6 letters a year (we have received one in This time) I am changing the childrens school do I have to tell him. I have no contact with him at all and he has none with us. Please help Many thanks
Motty - 21-Mar-19 @ 10:20 PM
@cath.wow thanks quite a story I don’t think it’s irrelevant to this blog .but it was a good story maybe join Mumsnet or maybe get some help .because sorry to bust your bubble darling this blog is about father rights to there children not about the stuff you just wrote about .god bless and keep safe maybe get some counseling ?
Kim - 16-Mar-19 @ 7:37 AM
My ex abused me kid beat us up I finally got courage after 12 to years to leave him my baby’s went in to care he moved to Darlington wen it all came then now a find out he got my step daughter back home with she 17 he told Darlington social services were he was moving to they know all about us and what he did why didn’t they check were we lived cos I had 2 kids to keep he should off been told he has to move somewhere else a know they have power off help off police to stop but no a find wen a go to my local shop I’ve never ran so fast because this man tortured me and my kids am so so scared off this man he control me beat me and kids every day a need someone to help with this he’s in private house he needs removed well away from cos if they don’t do out am going to paper about South Shields social services and Darlington the man me kids ran from is now living in the same steet as us a nerds help
Cath - 16-Mar-19 @ 6:25 AM
My wife whom we separated has left our council house and iam putting down our kids live with me we come to arrangment about our chilldren on certan days of the week i pick up our eldest after school she picks eldest up after nine on time close to ten iam not happy has my eldest is 5 youngest is 2. And wen i have both here at same time and same things happen babby fast sleep on sofa has to be disturbed to wake up and eldest is criying rumning behind sofa to not want to go. Youngest starts crying as both scared as its dark out to be taken away to another house were they dont want to be as the mum works hardly see the children i was they main carrer as iam unemployed now it feels like they being snatched away my ex partner has taken it upon her self to arrange meddiatin i havent a clue what all this is about
Mark lane - 29-Jan-19 @ 9:15 PM
My partners ex wife has breached 3 court orders by stopping contact. School attendance officers have been in touch with us as his attendance is a major cause for concern. Can my partner be fined for the non-attendance when his child doesnt live with him and we have been refused contact for the past 12 months?
Annoyed step parent - 15-Jan-19 @ 9:47 PM
My children from a previous marriage have been living with me and my new wife since June 2016 and moving back to the the UK. She has now imposed with moving 3 minutes walk away and is has brainwashed the kids to be moving in with her. It has only just come to light that there has been another man in her life for the last year. whilst i am happy for her to be moving on, i was not aware that my young boys have and will have another man under the same roof. My ex also has made it a mission for me not to find out until now. Is this scenario viewed as deceit in the eyes of the law? And given my ex does not have a stable home and extended family what are my options on continuing to be the main carer of the children? Note that the divorce was simply a divorce without any other pre conditions or custudy undertaken whilst living abroad. She has never paid any alomony and has clearly made the children lie to me about this new man in her home. Please can someone advice what i should do? My new wife loves the kids and has truely mothered them in the deepest and most sincere way and is upset about the lies and deceit. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
admiralgeneral - 4-Jan-19 @ 11:49 PM
Can my ex keep back from me where he lives and where my daughter goes twice a week to stay over with him is this against the law ??
Kaz - 6-Dec-18 @ 3:06 PM
My ex transfered my daughter from one school to another without letting me know. Or speaking to me about it. She removed my name as a emergency contact and placed my son. She wont switch it to me the school wont talk to me because they were told i was dead. What can i do to be more informed on my daughter welm being
Daddy - 2-Dec-18 @ 8:47 PM
My ex partner is moving to a new house and she will not tell me where as I am concerned for my 2 young daughters and what rights have I got to know where she is moving to
Thommo - 25-Nov-18 @ 5:07 PM
Hi there my son in long team foster care I what him back before Christmas really I miss like crazy thank you for your help
Rich - 24-Nov-18 @ 12:30 AM
My partner has 2 children and there is a current court order for arranged contact. Mother of the children has moved house without informing us and we dont know where to pick them up from or drop them off to. Is it against the law for her to move house and purposely not tell us in order to make things difficult for us. Should my partner be informed? Is she breaking court order? Is it againt the law?
Stepmommy - 4-Nov-18 @ 3:09 PM
Ive been court for the right to see my daughter and parental responsibility but now my ex is keeping info from the doctors from me,it all started when we fellout over her wanting my daughter half a day early on Christmas day.ive not spent a Christmas with my daughter in 4yrs and its what I fighted for in court really dont know what to do,its now been 3 weeks since my daughters went the hospital and no matter how many time I ask she wont tell me.
Joe - 28-Oct-18 @ 3:05 PM
Please wen is this country going to treat men as fathers and give them equal rights because fathers are not getting equal rights
Wally - 28-Oct-18 @ 8:44 AM
Since February we have had a mediation agreement or mutual agreement in place, with me being the main carer and our three youngest children living at the family home me having them 9 nights out of 14, the ex has just broken the agreement and taken the kids, today I found out she has removed our youngest daughter from our doctors, can she do this ??
Glowfish - 25-Oct-18 @ 8:13 PM
I have found out today that my 2 children were taken out of school for 7 days to go on holiday abroad with their mother. As I am on the birth certificate and have parental responsibility, I am deeply upset with this as I found out the day after they returned. I am miffed that the school didn’t even ask if I was happy with this. What rights do I have, and has the law been broken?
Frjmmma - 30-Sep-18 @ 8:10 PM
Hi there I've just started working lates so when it's my turn to pick up my child from school I can not be there so I am wanting to know if I can put my girlfriends name down on the school books as someone I seem to pick him up my ex's has her new partner on list, I have parental responsibility and have him every other weekend any advice would be helpful thank you
Ad - 23-Sep-18 @ 11:37 AM
Thanks for the helpful advice. What is the source for the DfEE guidance that you quote? "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." I would like to quote this to my daughter's school.
Alex - 20-Sep-18 @ 9:37 AM
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