Assigning family as Primary or Legal Guardians

Assigning Primary or Legal Guardian Status

When adding a new guardian

When adding a new Guardian for a student, you can set them as a Primary or Legal Guardian by following these steps:

On a student profile, click the 'Add' button on the Family, Guardians and Contacts section.



On the Add New Guardian slideover menu, fill in the appropriate details for the guardian and tick/untick the Primary Guardian and Legal Guardian tickboxes as required. Click 'Add Guardian' to create the new guardian for the student.

All 3 options are ticked by default, so you must make sure that these are correct before adding the guardian.


Adjusting an existing Guardian

You can update the Primary or Legal Guardian status for an existing guardian profile linked to a student. You can do this from the guardian's profile, or from the Authorised to Collect page.

On a student profile, scroll down to the Family Guardians and Contacts section, then click into the guardian record that you need to update.



On the Student/Guardian Relationship slideover menu that appears, click the orange 'Edit' button in the top-right.



On the Guardian Name to Student Name slide over menu that loads, tick or untick the Primary Guardian and Legal Guardian tickboxes as required, then click 'Save Changes' to finalise the update.



What is the difference?


When adding a new family member to a student, you can choose whether they are a Primary Guardian or a Legal Guardian.



A Legal Guardian is legally responsible for the child (either the natural parents or a court-appointed guardian). Even if there is a court order against that guardian, they may remain a legal guardian but would not necessarily need/want/be allowed to receive communication about that child. Parents would also remain legal guardians if the children are in care voluntarily.

A Primary Guardian has daily parental responsibilities for the child, they receive updates on the academic affairs of the child and communications from the school.

A guardian can be a Legal guardian without being a Primary Guardian, but they would not be a Primary Guardian without also being a Legal Guardian.


For example, if a child lives with their father, the father would be both a Primary and Legal guardian.



For example, if there is a court order against one of the child's parents, they may still live with them but the parent should not receive details about their academic life. In this case, they would be a Legal Guardian but not a Primary guardian.



The child has parents who are separated. the parents have been granted dual custody, and the child spends around 50% of the time at each guardian's place of residence. In this case, both parents would be Legal and Primary Guardians.



What do these settings influence?

Parent Portal and Parent App

A Guardian should be:

  • a Primary Guardian - this is required. Guardians who are not Primary Guardians cannot log into the Parent Portal or App.
  • a Legal guardian - this is recommended only. Assigning as Legal Guardian does not give any additional access, but it is recommended that Primary Guardians should also be noted as Legal Guardians.

This is because the Parent Portal and App display detailed information of the child's school life, behaviour, academic achievement, attendance and identity information.

Top Tip: Contact priority does not affect access to the Parent Portal or Parent App.


When sending communications e.g. a mail merge email, you can select whether to send to Legal or Primary guardians.

A legal guardian will receive all communications addressed to the legal guardians.

As Primary Guardians should also be Legal Guardians, any communications addressed to Legal guardians will be sent to Primary Guardians as well.



From other areas of Arbor, communication will be sent to Primary guardians only, such as when following up with Absences in Students > Attendance > Absentees > Absentees by Date.


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