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Policies & Procedures

Separated Family

When parents separate it is a difficult situation for all concerned.  The nursery understands that emotions run high and this policy lays out how the nursery will support the child and their family within the nursery.  We feel this policy will support all parties in this difficult time including our team.

Parental responsibility

While the law does not define in detail what parental responsibility is, the following list sets out the key roles:

Providing a home for the child.
Having contact with and living with the child.
Protecting and maintaining the child.
Disciplining the child.
Choosing and providing for the child’s education.
Determining the religion of the child.
Agreeing to the child’s medical treatment.
Naming the child and agreeing to any change of the child’s name.
Accompanying the child outside the UK and agreeing to the child’s emigration, should the issue arise.
Appointing a guardian for the child, if necessary.
Allowing confidential information about the child to be disclosed.

England and Wales

If the parents of a child are married to each other at the time of birth, or if they have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility.  Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce, and this applies to both the resident and the non-resident parent.

This is not automatically the case for unmarried parents.  According to current law, a mother always has parental responsibility for her child.  A father, however, has this responsibility only if he is married to the mother when the child is born or has acquired legal responsibility for his child through one of these three routes:

By jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother (from 1st December 2003).
By a parental responsibility agreement with the mother.
By a parental responsibility order, made by a court.


A father has parental responsibility if he is married to the mother when the child is conceived, or any time after that date.  An unmarried father has parental responsibility if he is named on the child’s birth certificate (from 4th May 2006).  Alternatively, unmarried fathers can also be name following a re-registration of the birth.


During the registration process it is important for the nursery to know all details about both parents.  This includes details about who does or does not have parental responsibility as this will avoid difficult situations that may arise at a later date.

The nursery requests that all details are logged on a separate form when registering the child.  If a parent does not have parental responsibility, or has a court order in place to prevent this, the nursery needs a copy of this documentation for the child’s records.

If a child is registered by one parent of a separated family, the nursery requests that all details relating to the child and other parent are disclosed, e.g. court orders, injunctions.  This will allow the nursery to have all the appropriate information in order to support the child fully.

The nursery will:

Ensure the child’s welfare is paramount in all operations relating to their time within the nursery.

Comply with any details of a Court Order where they are applicable to the nursery’s situation, provided the
nursery has seen a copy/has a copy attached to the child’s file.

Provide information on the child’s progress within the nursery to both parents.

Invite both parents to nursery events, including parental consultations and social evenings.

Ensure that all matters known by the staff pertaining to the family and the parent’s separation shall remain

Ensure that no member of staff takes sides within the separation and treats both parents equally and with due

The nursery cannot restrict access to any parent with parental responsibility unless a formal Court Order is in place.  We respectfully ask that parents do not put us in this position.

We ask parents to:

Provide us with all information relating to parental responsibilities, Court Orders and injunctions.

Update information that changes any of the above as soon as practically possible.

Work with us to ensure continuity of care and support for your child.

Not involve nursery staff in any family disputes, unless this directly impacts on the care we provide for the child.

Talk to the manager/key worker away from the child when this relates to family separation in order to avoid the
            child becoming upset.  This can be arranged as a more informal meeting or as an informal chat.
Not ask nursery to take ides in any dispute.  We will only take the side of your child and this will require us to be
            neutral at all times.

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