The parenting decision of where a child is to attend school is an important one to parents and children alike. Often separated parents have different schooling ideas as different options may be less practical or less desirable to one parent. If parents cannot agree on change to a child’s schooling, an application can be made to the Court to decide the matter.
There are a number of factors the Court will take into consideration when deciding which school a child should attend:
(a) where and with whom the child usually lives;
(b) the distance the child is required to travel and from school each day;
(c) the practical burden placed on each parent in transporting the child to and from school including travel time and impact on work commitments;
(d) the investigations by either parent into the schooling opportunities available to the child at the proposed school, and whether the proposed school is better able to meets the child’s particular needs;
(e) the views of the child;
(f) the child’s ability to cope with the change in schooling;
(f) any other factor the Court considers appropriate ,e.g., siblings attending proposed school.
When weighing up all of the schooling factors the Court must consider the overall best interests of the child as the primary consideration, but it is not the only consideration. The emotional wellbeing of the parent with whom the child resides plays a huge role in their ability to parent well and the Court will take this into account.
Prior to asking a Court to decide which school a child should attend, it is important that parents communicate and attempt to decide together what will be best for their child.