Divorced parents put the pressure on hard-pushed Hove teachers

Hard-pushed teachers are under pressure to meet the demands of divorced parents, a school has said.

Hangleton Junior School in Hove has appealed for parents to appear together at meetings and parent’s evenings – even if they are separated and the situation is “delicate”.

School headteacher Glenn Livingstone said staff at the Brighton and Hove-run school do not have time to address a mother and father separately.

Delicate In a letter to parents, released ahead of a parents’ evening, he said: “Unfortunately we are also facing increasing time pressure from split families where two parents wish to make separate appointments.

“Please can I ask that wherever possible, separated parents meet the teacher at the same appointment time?

“If this is not possible, the class teacher will try to arrange a separate appointment. This may need to be on an alternative date.

“I know this is a delicate issue, but your co-operation is much appreciated as we all have your child’s best interests in mind.”

In 2008, consumer research firm Claritas said Hove had the second highest divorce rate in Britain with nearly three in ten marriages, amounting to 29%, ending in divorce.

In Brighton, Littlehampton and St Leonards, more than 21% of marriages end in divorce, while the national average is 16%.

An East Sussex father, who asked not to be named, said he did not attend his 12-year-old son’s parents’ evenings because it would have caused problems.

The divorced dad said: “When you’ve come to the stage where you cannot even live in the same house, you have to pick your battles.

“I don’t receive letters about parents’ evenings and my ex-wife does not tell me.

“I asked at his primary school to be put on his emailing list about parents’ evenings but they said no – I don’t know why.

“I would like to go, of course, but you have to pick your battles.

Fighting “It is not good for your child to be constantly fighting.

“Ten years ago I would have said, ‘of course the school is right’ but now I think that they have to be realistic – divorced parents can be like children and will not sit together at parents’ evenings.”

The school said it did not want to comment and referred The Argus to Brighton and Hove City Council.

At the timeof going to press, no one at the council was available to comment.

Comments (8)

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2:21pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Pitviper says...

Grow up people, put your differences aside it's the children that matter here not you!
Grow up people, put your differences aside it's the children that matter here not you! Pitviper

2:43pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Crystal Ball says...

I thought teachers were there to meet the needs of the pupils? Not their parents who can't sort their own lives out.
I thought teachers were there to meet the needs of the pupils? Not their parents who can't sort their own lives out. Crystal Ball

10:24pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Dave At Home says...

Memo to Glenn Livingstone, do what you are paid to do, add another name to your database and churn the letters out, you don't pay for the postage and your staff might learn a thing or two by meeting the parents. This is the most stupidest idea a school has come up with, if parents don't live together there is a reason for it and making them come to meet a teacher is not high on the list of marriage guidance hints and tips. Next we will be told that teachers are run off their feet with all the work they do, but do remind me the number of weeks or days that they actually work. I get 20 days and every other weekend off all year.
Memo to Glenn Livingstone, do what you are paid to do, add another name to your database and churn the letters out, you don't pay for the postage and your staff might learn a thing or two by meeting the parents. This is the most stupidest idea a school has come up with, if parents don't live together there is a reason for it and making them come to meet a teacher is not high on the list of marriage guidance hints and tips. Next we will be told that teachers are run off their feet with all the work they do, but do remind me the number of weeks or days that they actually work. I get 20 days and every other weekend off all year. Dave At Home

12:13am Sat 16 Feb 13

mimseycal says...

Good teachers work long hours. They have an irregular work schedule but over the course of a year they probably do as much and more then most ...

The point to my mind is less with the hours teachers work and more with the fact that the traditional structure of family life is a thing of the past.

Does this mean that letters should be sent out to all the various parties involved in a childs' life? Mum, dad, step- mum/dad, ex-step and so on and so forth.

Those who care enough about a child to want to be involved in its education, should make the effort to attend the various meetings. If this means subjugating their precious feelings regarding their ex- soon to be ex or long term ex ... get on with it.
Good teachers work long hours. They have an irregular work schedule but over the course of a year they probably do as much and more then most ... The point to my mind is less with the hours teachers work and more with the fact that the traditional structure of family life is a thing of the past. Does this mean that letters should be sent out to all the various parties involved in a childs' life? Mum, dad, step- mum/dad, ex-step and so on and so forth. Those who care enough about a child to want to be involved in its education, should make the effort to attend the various meetings. If this means subjugating their precious feelings regarding their ex- soon to be ex or long term ex ... get on with it. mimseycal

1:20pm Sat 16 Feb 13

blardeblar says...

Why is this news, this letter has been going out to parents for years. Slots for parents evening are limited, so I see this as a reasonable request. It does say parents can be accommodated at other times if necessary, so don't see the problem here.
Why is this news, this letter has been going out to parents for years. Slots for parents evening are limited, so I see this as a reasonable request. It does say parents can be accommodated at other times if necessary, so don't see the problem here. blardeblar

4:15pm Sat 16 Feb 13

davyboy says...

mountain and molehill are the first two words that come to mind. what a hoo-haa over nothing. many parents make appointments and then fail to turn up anyway. if separated parents can't agree over this, then make different appointments. schools should make allowances for these things.
mountain and molehill are the first two words that come to mind. what a hoo-haa over nothing. many parents make appointments and then fail to turn up anyway. if separated parents can't agree over this, then make different appointments. schools should make allowances for these things. davyboy

4:59pm Sat 16 Feb 13

whereisthe...? says...

Well said. Too many immature 'parents' out there.

Too many divorced mums poisoning their children's minds about how its 'all daddy's fault'. Not enough for them that they have all the legal rights.


Learn to be civil and stop being so bitter.
Well said. Too many immature 'parents' out there. Too many divorced mums poisoning their children's minds about how its 'all daddy's fault'. Not enough for them that they have all the legal rights. Learn to be civil and stop being so bitter. whereisthe...?

7:42pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Grownup says...

I cannot believe how rude you are Dave At Home. Teachers have a hard enough job without the constant digging from ill-informed people like you. Why should teachers have to increase their workload to accommodate parents who can't put aside their own problems for the sake of their children? How selfish for these people to expect the schools to accommodate them. Good on you Glenn Livingstone for standing up for common sense. If only some adults would realise what effect their behaviour has on children, we may begin to understand what is going wrong with our kids!
I cannot believe how rude you are Dave At Home. Teachers have a hard enough job without the constant digging from ill-informed people like you. Why should teachers have to increase their workload to accommodate parents who can't put aside their own problems for the sake of their children? How selfish for these people to expect the schools to accommodate them. Good on you Glenn Livingstone for standing up for common sense. If only some adults would realise what effect their behaviour has on children, we may begin to understand what is going wrong with our kids! Grownup

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