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Why reducing the impact of parental conflict matters for schools


17 Feb 2020

The impact of conflict between parents on children and young people is increasingly recognised at both a local and national level. This briefing introduces the evidence on parental conflict and explores what this means for how schools can best support children’s needs.

Sector briefing



Conflict between parents is a normal part of relationships. However, when the conflict is frequent, intense and poorly resolved, it puts children’s mental health, education attainment and long-term outcomes at risk. 

As a consequence, parental conflict may impact on school effectiveness, by leading to disruption in the classroom, increased pressures and costs, and poorer academic results.

Anyone working with children, young people and families, including those working in schools, can have an impact on improving outcomes for children exposed to destructive parental conflict.

This briefing sets out opportunities to intervene for teachers and teaching assistants; head teachers, school leaders and governors; staff in welfare roles, and specialist support staff. 

Find out more about how to take action, including accessing evidence on effective interventions, guidance on promoting social & emotional learning in schools, free training and support, the national Reducing Parental Conflict programme, and personal stories from three local areas. 

About the contributor

Ben Lewing

Ben is assistant director, policy & practice, at EIF.