School are required by law to have on record the name and address of EVERY person who is a parent of a pupil at school, whether they reside with a pupil or not. This will include anybody who has parental responsibility and anyone who has care of a pupil.
Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 provides a wide definition of 'parent'. For the purpose of school education provision a “parent” is defined as:
- all natural parents, whether they are married or not.
- any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person.
- any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person (a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, is considered to be a parent in education law)
Therefore, those persons with parental responsibility for a child or who care for a child, have the same rights as natural parents. This includes the right:
- to receive information (e.g. pupil reports, school events etc.)
- to participate in activities (e.g. elections for parent governors)
- to give consent (e.g. school trips), and
- to be involved in meetings concerning the child (e.g. participate in an exclusion procedure, appeal against admission decisions).
- If there are others apart from yourself who fit into the above categories in relation to your child the school should be informed of their name and address
It is important that you understand that the school is required by law to provide information and reports on the child’s education to such people unless there is a court order denying them access to such information and reports.
If you are not happy that, for example, an estranged parent should have such access to information about your child you should take legal advice on the ways available to you to prevent it and refer to the Separated Parents Policy.
The school will ensure that a child is not released to a parent where this would be in breach of any court order. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that school are aware of any court orders.