General Information for Parents

Parental Responsibility

Following changes made to the legislation regarding children in the Children Act 1989, which became law in October 1991, schools need to know who has "parental responsibility" for each child. This is to ensure that proper authority is given when the school needs parental permission. It will also make sure that persons with parental responsibility, with whom the child does not live, can be provided with school reports and given an opportunity to take part in the child's education.

  • Mothers always have parental responsibility
  • Fathers also have parental responsibility for a child if the father is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth. This continues after any divorce/separation/remarriage even if the child lives apart from them.
  • Unmarried fathers have parental responsibility where the mother and father register the birth of the child together (this is an amendment to the Children Act 1989 which came into force on the 1st December 2003 and is not retrospective).
  • Unmarried fathers, step-parents, relatives and other persons can obtain parental responsibility but they do not have it automatically

Parents are asked to cooperate with school staff by providing the school with details of the persons with parental responsibility for a pupil. Any changes in the arrangements for parental responsibility or in the day to day care of the child should be notified to the school.

Any references to parents within this booklet relating to education matters also extends to include any individual who has care of the children.

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