How can we support parents who are separated?
Separated parents can often feel tension around school. Ensuring they feel equally supported and understood helps to foster strong relationships between home and school.
Here are 8 tips to get you started.
- Ensure contact details for both parents are up to date.
- Establish what the contact order or parental agreements are.
- Know the pick up and drop off routines.
- Check who has parental responsibility and if there are any residency orders in place.
- Give two of everything (letters, invitations to events, praise cards, end of year reports). It might take an extra moment of photocopying, but is worth the effort to avoid confusing the child about who receives what document.
- Connect with both parents equally and fairly. Avoid having difficult conversations about ‘the other parent/step-parent’. You don’t want to be drawn into parental issues.
- Get to know any step-parents. Being a step-parent can be really isolating when it comes to schools so making sure everyone feels valued and welcome will reduce issues.
- Offer separate parent meeting times if necessary.
Why does this strategy matter?
Whether it’s parents’ evening, end of year reports, permission slips or nativities, school is the place where separated parents might be forced to connect with each other in a way they wouldn’t usually. For that reason, ensuring all parents feel equally supported and connected to the school is vital.
Refer parents who can’t seem to connect together to the family liaison officer or pastoral team, who will be able to offer services and support if needed.