Scottish schools ‘could do better’ in engaging with non-resident parents

Families Need Fathers Scotland, a family rights charity, has called on schools to adhere to legislation requiring them to involve both parents in the school life of a child.

FNF Scotland said: “The Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 spelled out the obligations of schools and education authorities towards all parents of Scotland’s school pupils to involve them in their own children’s progress and engage them in the life of the wider school community.

“The guidance that was published along with the act prior to its implementation in August 2007 is explicit about the family situations where parents live apart that both parents have equal status in terms of their relationship with the school “unless there is a court order limiting an individual’s exercise of parental rights and responsibilities”.

“The guidance urges schools to “work hard” in engaging with non-resident parents and requires authorities to produce a parental involvement strategy and report annually on its progress.

“Yet, seven years on, Families Need Fathers Scotland still hears regularly from non-resident fathers who are blanked by their child’s school; of correspondence never answered; of head teachers ‘checking’ with the parent with care before discussing run of the mill matters; and of head teachers receiving entirely incorrect legal advice from council lawyers.”

FNF Scotland has published a revised and updated edition of Equal Parents, its user guide to the respective obligations of schools and parents.  The guide can be downloaded at

National manager of FNF Scotland, Ian Maxwell, said: “There is no doubt that most schools are willing to engage with most non-resident parents.

“We recently conducted an in-house survey of members about the issues that have most concerned them. Of those who answered the questions about their dealings with schools almost 2/3rds reported that they had a positive or very positive experience.

“The experience of the others is that far from being welcomed and actively encouraged they are made to feel that they are a bother.

“If some schools can manage it, why not all? This guide is an aid to building a constructive relationship between non-resident parents and schools across Scotland in support of our children.”