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.