Separation can be a highly stressful event for a family, particularly when a child is involved. Decisions involving which party will move out of the family home and where your child will reside can impact on a child’s stress levels and well-being. The experience can put unwanted pressure on all aspects of a child’s life, including their time at school.

Although in many cases there is no legal obligation to inform your child’s school after separation, in some cases you may find that letting them know will benefit your family. Informing your child’s teacher or a trusted member of staff about the broad details of your separation may help to facilitate extra support for your child during school.

According to the Teacher Code of Professional Practice, teachers are obliged to treat students appropriately with regard to their individual needs. Needs such as social and emotional prosperity are considered of high importance. Most schools have the appropriate resources to provide support for students who are experiencing stress outside of school. Some types of support include regular counselling and the monitoring of behaviour by teachers and other members of staff.

What should be shared and what should be kept private?

After separation, you may want to notify your child’s teacher about the split and let them know how your child is coping at home. This will help to create a dialogue between you and your child’s teacher about your child’s emotional well-being, academic performance and behaviour in the classroom. If your child has moved into a new house after the separation, you may want to inform the school for logistical purposes.

If you have a joint custody arrangement with you and your ex-partner, there is no need to inform the school about the nature of your separation in regards to specific parental disputes. Oversharing information about personal matters may, in fact, be counterintuitive, causing extra stress on your family and your child. However, if there is a court order against one parent, and they are no longer legally permitted to pick the child up from school, it is important to inform the school as soon as possible.