The Family Court has recently declined to grant an order requiring a child that had previously been home schooled to attend a state school.

Following the parents’ separation, the child remained in the day-to-day care of his mother. She decided to homeschool the child after he was bullied at his state school, which the father agreed to at the time.

However, the father later changed his mind about the child being homeschooled. The father requested an order from the Court requiring that the child be enrolled at a state school. The father also wanted the child to attend the school he had previously attended.

The Court must consider several factors when deciding a parental dispute, including what is in the best interests and welfare of the child. The Court should also consider the child’s own wishes in relation to the decision.

In this case, there was nothing to suggest that the child was not doing well in his homeschooling. The programme the mother used, Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), involved using workbooks and sitting examinations which were moderated by the ACE New Zealand.

While it was not clear how the programme compared to state school standards, the child did well in his examinations. The Court also considered that the child did not mind whether he was home schooled or enrolled at state school, he just wanted a decision to be made.

It was important that the child had been bullied at state school he had previously attended. No resolution was found in relation to the bullying, despite the mother’s best efforts to discuss the issue with the school.

The Court concluded that there was “no evidence that the child being homeschooled is contrary to his welfare and best interests”. There was also no information available as to how the homeschooling system compared to state standards.

Due to the child not wanting one option more than the other, and “on the face of it” he was doing well in his schooling, the Court decided not to grant the order requiring him to attend state school. The Court considered that decision was in the child’s best interests and welfare right now.

It is important to be aware of your rights as a parent, and what to do if you have a parenting dispute. If you are confused about your rights or your options, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Gianna Menzies and Hunter Flanagan-Connors