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Inspection and Advisory Service (HIAS)

Your responsibilities as a parent

By law, all children of compulsory school age (normally four to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to make sure this happens – either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education. Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly.

Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 defines parent 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.

Having care of a child or young person means that 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.