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Expert Education Law advice courtesy of the dedicated team of nationally respected specialist lawyers at HCB.

Should your child be out of school, for whatever reason, the Local Authority should still be ensuring that they are continuing to receive suitable full time education.

Whether your child is refusing to attend school, they have been excluded, or they have special educational needs, the Local Authority has a duty towards them – more so if a child has specific needs that require additional support.

Duties to children out of education

It is the duty of the Local Authority to identify children who are out of school. This means they will be aware of every young person who is not registered in a school. Provided the education they are receiving at home is fully suitable, a child is not considered out of education.

It is also their responsibility to make sure any children of legally compulsory school age who are not receiving suitable teaching return to full time education as soon as possible. They are additionally able to ensure young people aged 16-18 have suitable education provided, though this is an obligation not a necessity.

Alternative provision

Alternative provision can include:

  • The Local Authority provides education directly to a child/young person who is not attending school
  • Education for students who have been excluded
  • Students being educated at home or off-site

A child receiving alternative provisions should be taught at the same level as they would be in school, although there is no distinct requirement of the amount of education they should be provided with. This means their schooling may not add up to the same amount of hours a week as they would receive at a school or institution.

Excluded children

A child who has been excluded is under the responsibility of the school to have their education organised from their sixth day of exclusion, whereas a child who has been permanently expelled should have their education arranged by the Local Authority after the sixth day.

It is also the Local Authority’s duty to help parents and children find and secure a new placement at a new school as soon as the expulsion is implemented.

Out of education for other reasons

If a young person is not in school for any other reason than exclusion, there is no set date for when education should be provided, but the general legal guidelines suggest that it should still be as fast as possible, within reason. This obligation will usually fall to the Local Authority, even if the child is still registered at a school.

Children not receiving education

Once you fully understand why your child is missing school, it is possible to determine who should be providing education and what deadlines you may have to adhere to.

Young people with special education needs are at a higher risk of missing out on education. Therefore, if your child is missing school you should consider requesting an official assessment from the Local Authority.

Our specialist solicitors have considerable experience supporting families who have struggled with access to education. This includes children who have been excluded and children with special education needs. If you require further advice about your child’s right to education or you are concerned about your child missing school contact one of our specialist solicitors today.