Did you know that neither World War II nor the Spanish flu of 1918 caused as widespread a disruption to learning as coronavirus has? Suffice it to say, pupils, parents and teachers alike are grappling with huge challenges that give rise to novel legal questions. 

Is my child entitled to attend school during lockdown, and, if so, do I have to send them? 

During lockdown, only two categories of children can attend school: 

  • children of critical workers and vulnerable children such as those with child protection issues, an education, health and care plan (EHCP)
  • children who have difficulties engaging in remote education at home. 

It is unlawful for a school to refuse to admit a child that is entitled to attend and local authorities have an obligation to deliver special educational provision in an EHCP. Other children should not attend school and should be educated remotely.

Government Guidance encourages critical workers to keep children at home if they can whereas parents of vulnerable children are ‘strongly encouraged’ but not required to send them to school. Attendance at school during lockdown periods is therefore an entitlement, not a legal obligation.

Russell-Cooke associate Lenka Wall and senior associate Sarah Inchley appear in Darling magazine to discuss legal questions about education during and post pandemic.

Legal Questions About Education During And Post Pandemic Answered is available to read on the Darling magazine website.

Lenka Wall is an associate solicitor in the children and education team.

Lenka advises parents and young people on all aspects of education law including special educational needs, admissions, exclusions, school transport and provision for children unable to attend school. Lenka's litigation expertise includes appeals to the First-tier and the Upper Tribunal, as well as judicial reviews.

Sarah is a senior associate solicitor in the children and education law team. She is a specialist lawyer and advocate in all aspects of the law relating to education and children.

Sarah is known for her dedication to her clients and for combining technical legal knowledge with pragmatic, cost sensitive advice. Her hard working approach is driven by her commitment to championing and upholding the rights of vulnerable children, young people and their families.