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Family disputes and parental conduct

Family disputes and parental conduct

Academies, MATs & Schools


The school community consists of school leaders and staff, Governors/Trustees, pupils and parents, and the relationships between all of these parties works best when they all work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for the school's pupils.    

Unfortunately, like many things in life, there will inevitably be some occasions when disputes arise between the parents of a pupil about their education or the practical arrangements for their child's attendance at school, or between the parents of a pupil and the school and/or its staff.  These situations require careful and sensitive handling, as emotions will understandably by running high for the parents involved.

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Prompt action

In our experience, early engagement with parents can help to prevent matters from escalating where a dispute between the parents and the school has arisen, with care being taken to ensure that everything the school does is consistent with its published complaints policy (including the early informal stage).

In respect of disputes between parents themselves where the school is being drawn in by one or both parents, we find that it is usually helpful for the school to communicate with each parent impartially, making it clear it is down to the parents to resolve their differences, with the help of their family lawyers and/or the family courts if necessary.

Academies and maintained schools can contact us at an early stage for advice and support with preparing correspondence in these situations, before they escalate and become more complicated. 

Other ways in which we can help

We have a number of specialist lawyers who can advise on a broad range of issues including:

  • Who is a 'parent' in education law, and parental responsibility matters.
  • Parental rights to information about their child's education and other records schools hold.
  • Safeguarding matters involving parents.
  • The effect and relevance for schools of family court orders (eg child arrangement orders, prohibited steps orders, injunctions and restraining orders).
  • Providing evidence and witness statements, and/or attending as witnesses, in family court proceedings (ie private family proceedings, or public care proceedings) .
  • Managing difficult conversations and the expectations of parents.
  • Tailored communication strategies for managing unreasonable levels and/or content of communications from parents.
  • In extreme circumstances, barring aggressive parents (and others) from the school site in order to protect pupils and staff.

For specialist legal advice, please contact Yvonne Spencer on 0207 665 0870 or Joanna Goddard on 0207 665 0805 or complete the below form.

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Meet the Team

We provide academies with experienced education lawyers who are always on hand to give practical solutions to problems and the confidence to react positively to opportunities.

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Yvonne Spencer - Partner & Education Lawyer in London - VWV Law Firm
Alice Reeve - Education Employment Lawyer in Bristol - VWV Law Firm
Matthew Wolton -Partner in Bristol

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