Law explained on whether you can keep children off school for coronavirus



Thousands of worried parents across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire have called for schools to be closed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

However, as it stands the Government advice is to continue to send your children to school on Monday.

Headteachers are being told to ‘keep the doors open unless there is an exceptional case’.

For example if a student or staff member contracts Covid-19 they can use their discretion.

Not surprisingly, mums and dads are weighing up whether to keep their children at home as a preventative measure.

So will parents be prosecuted for not sending their youngsters into school in this situation?

The Department for Education says pupils are expected to attend classes as normal, so in theory parents could find themselves falling foul of the law,  reports ChronicleLive.

However, it will be down to individual headteachers to decide if the absence is unauthorised and what action should be taken.

A DofE spokesman said: “The current advice from Public Health England is that schools should remain open unless advised otherwise.

“It is for headteachers to decide whether an individual absence is authorised, but where schools are open and pupils are not unwell and have not been asked to self-isolate by PHE, we would expect them to attend school as normal.”

According to the rules, you can be prosecuted if you do not give your child an education. Under normal circumstances, you’ll get warnings and offers of help from the local council first before matters are taken further.

It may become a problem if you decide to keep your children off school for a long time.

You can only allow your child to miss school if either they’re too ill to go in or you’ve got advance permission from the school.

Councils and schools can use various legal powers if your child is missing school without a good reason.

They can give you a parenting order, an education supervision order, a school attendance order or a fine.

The final resort is prosecution and parents are taken to court.

There are currently 1,140 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK although the actual figure is estimated to be far higher.

Follow our new Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire coronavirus news Facebook group for all the latest key updates here.





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