Children Out of Education

Father and son using laptop in living room at home.

A recent Ombudsman report has highlighted issues relating to Children Out of Education: Out of school, out of sight? Ensuring children out of school get a good education with a key warning that: “some children in this situation are struggling with little or no education, robbing them of their potential to thrive”. (Ombundman’s Foreword).

It is important to know where responsibility lies and the key legislation that relates to Children out of Education and the report highlights this:


  • “When a child (of the compulsory age) cannot go to school, the local authority must find out why. If there is a duty for it to act, it must make alternative arrangements to provide a suitable education”.
  • “The local council has the duty to arrange alternative education, not the school a child attends”.


  • Councils must “make arrangements for the provision of suitable education at school or otherwise than at school for those
    children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them.” (Education Act 1996, section 19(1))
  • Suitable education means efficient education suitable to a child’s age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have. (Education Act 1996, section 19(6))
  • The education provided by the council must be full-time unless the council determines that full-time education would not be in the child’s best interests for reasons of the child’s physical or mental health. (Education Act 1996, section 3A and 3AA)