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Absent Parents

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th March 2015.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will update her guidance to schools on the release of reports and other information on the educational progress of pupils to non-resident parents; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Department for Education has no plans to issue guidance to schools on this matter. The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 (S.I 1437) require maintained schools to keep curricular and educational records for each pupil, disclose these records to parents and pupils, and report, at least annually, to all parents on their child’s progress and attainment.

Section 576 Education Act 1996 (applicable to The Pupil Information Regulations) provides that the definition of ‘parent’ includes all natural parents, whether they are married or not, and any person who has care of a child, irrespective of whether they are a natural parent or have parental responsibility.

The exception applies in circumstances where there is a court order limiting an individual’s exercise of his or her parental responsibility which expressly amends their entitlement to receive such information.

If a parent feels that they are not receiving the statutory information to which they are entitled, under education law, from the school, they can complain formally to the school by following its complaint procedure.

These statutory duties do not apply to mainstream Academies or Free Schools. As an independent public body, an Academy or Free School is directly responsible, under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), for the collation, retention, storage and security of all information that they produce and hold. In an Academy or Free School, a pupil has the right to a copy of their own educational information under the DPA. In certain circumstances, requests for this information may be made by a parent on behalf of their child.

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