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There’s so much you have to consider whilst parenting and raising a child, right from birth all the way up until they turn into a fully-fledged adult.  We therefore could forgive you if there are one or two things that you occasionally forget.

 However, you’ll be happy to know, that not only are you legally protected (making big decisions easier) for many situations during your child’s early life, but also that Tutorhub has handily listed some of them here for you!

Parental rights and responsibilities are generally covered by two statutes in the UK: the Children and Young Persons Act (1933)  and the Children Act (1989). Some explicitly recognised rights include the following:

* A right to maternity leave. Women in the UK are entitled to 52 weeks off, though they need to inform their employers of their intention to take maternity leave by the 15th week before their due date. Women are also entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from their employer (or a Maternity Allowance from the Social Security) for 39 weeks. Those on SMP receive 90 per cent of their average weekly pay for the first six weeks and a flat rate (£112.75) for the last 33 weeks. Men (married, unmarried or same sex partners) have a right to two week’s paid paternity leave, provided they have been employed for at least 26 weeks at the 15th week prior to the mother’s due date.

* The right to make decisions regarding their children’s education. In England and Wales, section 7 of the Education Act of 1996 requires parents to provide “full-time education” for their children, though the parents are allowed to decide where and how that education takes place, and what subjects to teach their children; parents are legally entitled to homeschool their children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland without prior consent, while in Scotland, consent is required from local authorities.

* A right to select the school children attend. The Children’s Services (CS) must admit a parent’s wishes unless specific circumstances are present – for instance, if admittance would exceed the limit on class size determined by the Secretary of State or if the school is tied to a particular belief which is not relevant to the child (e.g. if the school is a Catholic school and the child is not Catholic).

* The right to consent to medical treatment or not for their children, provided the latter are under 16 and not mature enough to fully understand what is involved. The government can withdraw this right from parents in order to protect the interests of the child (for instance, when physicians determine that a blood transfusion or diagnostic test is necessary to save the life of a child). This is the case even when such tests or treatments may conflict with the parents’ religion or beliefs.

* A right to sufficient childcare if the parents are working, especially if they come from low-income families or have children with special needs. Every three- and four-year-old child is entitled to free early education for at least two and a half hours every day of the working week.

* A right to obtain a court order to insist that a child under 16 who has left home, return to the family. This does not entitle parents to physically restrain children to stop them from running away.

* A right to request free lunch for children if parents are on income support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, support within part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act (1999) or Child Tax Credit (provided parents do not also receive a Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of no more than approximately £14,495).

* A right to decide when children are ready to be out on their own, walk to school alone, etc.

* A right to keep contact with a child even the event of divorce or separation from the spouse/partner who resides with the child.

Obviously in some cases listed here you would hope to never have to use those rights.  However, it can be a comfort to know that if something happened you could legally make what you felt was the right decision for your child’s safety.  Who wouldn’t feel relieved?

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10 Comments

10 Responses to “A guide to your parental rights and responsibilities”

  1. Caroline Roach

    my grandson was excluded from school for two weeks and on return is only allowed back for half a days education. has the school a legal right to do this or must they provide a full time education

    Reply (0) (0)
    • mjhansford

      It would partially depend on how old your grandson is Caroline, since the legal requirement of a full-time education is at present only until they are 16 years old.

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      • Caroline Roach

        my grandson is 11yrs old can his dad do anything about only being educated for half a day

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  2. mjhansford

    Caroline,

    I think in this case you would need to talk to your Local Education Authority about it, since I would imagine that this is something that varies depending on your council. Speak to the council and obtain details of your LEA and ask them if they are allowed to do this. Personally I see it as a bit dubious, since after having fulfilled an exclusion period he needs to be back in school for a legally set number of hours.

    Reply (0) (0)
      • mjhansford

        No problem – if you think he’s not getting the support he needs from the school, then why not visit tutorhub.com – many tutors are available that can help him get back up to speed!

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      • mjhansford

        The Education Act 1996 does not specifically give a number of hours – again, this is something you would have to bring up with your LEA. The term “regularly” is frequently used but no set number is given.

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    • Caroline Roach

      yes my sons exclusion is over and when i spoke to the school they are only prepared to take him on for half a day and 1 hour education out of school to me this is not ecceptable, to do this are they within their right to do this since the exclusion is over, plus his ten days exclusion he got from school, why isnt he allowed back to the school he got it from

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      • mjhansford

        I am inclined to agree with you – it isn’t acceptable. Once you’ve been punished for something you’ve done that should be it – a case of double jeopardy, where you’re punished twice for the same offence. I would bring this up with your school as unreasonable. That said, it’s such a grey area it would be tricky to bring a case to them. Do let us know at Tutorhub how you get on.

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