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Should Your Inform Your Children's Teachers About a Split?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Teachers Children Split Child School

While there is currently no official guideline as to whether or not you should inform your children’s teacher about a recent separation, many teaching organisations believe that doing so is in the best interests of the child.

Help & Support

It is widely appreciated that the separation of parents has a great impact on the child, although this can certainly be managed and dealt with effectively to lessen the long term problems. With nearly half of all marriages now ending in divorce, a child with recently separated parents is very unlikely to be alone, so the school and teachers will certainly have experience in dealing with the changes they may encounter.

In order for the school and teachers to be able to offer that support and understanding, it is probably best if they are informed, although this does not need to be done in a gossipy or insensitive manner. Be aware that your child may possibly have told their teacher anyway, or other pupils, so you may prefer to do this as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, many children whose parents are going through a separation retreat into themselves, or their behaviour becomes a lot more aggressive, as a way of coping with what they are feeling. If this is the case with your child and you have not informed the school of your recent separation, they may think something else is wrong with your child, or they may be excluded from school, which can make a lasting impact on their education. It is also possible that you do not hear about your child’s changing behaviour for a while, as the school or teacher tries to deal with it before you are brought it, so your child may have a stigma that is undeserved. It would be heartbreaking for a child that is experiencing their parent’s separation to be labelled as ‘naughty’ just because the parents were trying to save face.

Letter, phone call or meeting

If you have decided that it is best to speak to your children’s school about your recent separation, you may either choose to speak to the head teacher, your child’s form teacher or another trusted member of staff. Some schools have liaison officers that deal with these sorts of matters. Either phone to make an appointment or be at the school at a time when you know you will be able to talk to the person required – many teachers have an ‘open door’ policy in their lunch break, or at the end of the school day for a short period of time. You could also send a letter to request a meeting, or simply write to inform them of your recent separation.

Whether you choose to write a letter or speak in person, remember that you do not need to go into details. This is a private matter and it will be better for your family to keep details to a minimum. Do inform the school of any changes that they need to be aware of, such as your partner or grandparents collecting your child on different days, but that is plenty of information. Let them know that you are willing to discuss any behavioural changes with your child and that you welcome their support at this difficult time. Sadly, they will have seen it all before.

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