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Entries in Equal Parents (3)


FNF Scotland comment on Scottish Government legislative programme

The Scottish Government has presented its list of proposed bills for the coming session of the Scottish Parliament.

Ian Maxwell of Families Need Fathers Scotland said today:

"We are still looking for more information on how the Scottish Government intends to take forward the SNP manifesto commitment to a review of family law. It will be encouraging if its absence from this session's legislative programme is an indicator that it is taking a thoughtful approach to the issues rather than rushing into legislation that will be in place for a generation. Family law and the recognition of the value of both parents to their children is, as the Council of Europe asserted last year,  fundamentally an equalities issue.

We are also aware from the cases that come to us from non-resident parents - mothers as well as fathers - and grandparents that too often turning off and on contact with children has become a form of coercive control by the parent with most care. The legislation in England and Wales made it effectively impossible for a non-resident parent to invoke the protections of the coercive control domestic abuse law and we will make representations to the Scottish Government that our legislation should not contain that loophole.

But of course, our ambition for Scotland is to change the culture in family law that too often pays lip service to putting the interests of the children first while persisting with an adversarial system that does the opposite." 


National Parent Forum Conference

The National Parent Forum Scotland annual conference is taking place this Saturday, 6th October, at Bishopbriggs Academy.  There are many workshops covering both parental involvement and practical information about the curriculum for excellence. 

The  Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 explicitly identified non resident parents as a group that the school would have to make efforts to break down barriers to encourage involvement. All the research shows that children do better at school when they are supported by both parents. We have seen few examples of active encouragement. 

FNF Scotland encourages non resident parents to become involved in parent councils and other parent forums.

For further information about the conference visit: www.engageforeducation.org



Aberdeen event promotes FNF Scotland work

Despite losing one speaker through rail delays, our meeting on 7th December to promote FNF work in Aberdeen resulted in a very useful discussion on a range of issues.  It also highlighted the strong interest in collaborative law amongst Aberdeen family lawyers.

Karen Woodall from the Centre For Separated Families would have talked about their work in supporting the whole family, gender inequality and with high conflict families if her train had made it north of Edinburgh - we hope to invite her back next year, maybe to support our work in Stirling.

Instead, our audience of fathers, family lawyers, educationalists and family support staff (including two people from the newly renamed Avenue mediation, contact and counselling service) heard from Ian Maxwell about how FNFworks to support individuals and also campaigns to change the system.

John Forsyth spoke about "Equal Parents"- the new report from FNF Scotland about clearing the obstacles to involvement of non-resident parents in their children's education. 

Many fathers have contacted FNF Scotland about problems in getting hold of school information about their children, such as the wrongful refusal to release school attendance information to a father because he didn't have parental rights.

John sent a Freedom of Information Request to all Scottish local authorities in mid 2011, asking about their policies on the right of non-resident parents to information about their children, how they collect contact details for non-resident parents, how they make school information available to non-resident parents and whether they know what proportion of their school roll had parents living apart.

The results of this survey, together with an account of the relevant law and examples of good and poor practice are included in the report, which will be modified for publication following further consultation. 

Anyone who has comments on this draft or who can contribute further experience relating to contact or involvement with Scottish schools should contact  john.forsyth@fnf.org.uk.