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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35059
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My child was taken on a school trip without parental consent

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My 9-year-old child was taken on a school trip without a signed parental consent (which the school had requested) and against his parents’ wishes, which had been verbally communicated to school staff prior to the trip. Could you please clarify to me my rights as a parent in this situation and whether the school staff were within their right to do what they did according to current legislation?

Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What was the nature of the trip and what explanation has been given?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

The trip: A multi skills event in a sports centre.

I did not consent to the trip because the children had to walk from school to the bus in freezing whether lightly dressed. However, I received an email from school stating that all children were going. I became worried that my child would go anyway and asked my husband to bring a warm track suit to school. He handed the suit to the secretary but reminded to her that we were not happy about our child going. At the same time I was speaking to the secretary on the phone and my last words to her were, "We do not want (name) to go."

My child went on the trip. I raised the issue with the secretary but she told me that my husband had said it was ok for the child to go.

In fact it is unlikely that Parental Consent was needed for this trip since it took place during school hours and could be seen as "a normal part of a child’s education at school"
You can read the guidance here
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Clair,

Unfortunately I cannot be satisfied with this answer because you supplied a document which is readily available online and which I had already found and examined myself. When it refers to normal school activities not requiring a parental consent it also contains information about a generic form that parents would be asked to sign prior to all such trips taking place. Moreover it mentions that in each case parents should be informed about a planned trip and have the opportunity to withdraw their child from it. In my case, no generic form had been signed and we indicated our intention to withdraw the child from the planned trip. So I still do not know at all whether the school were in their right to take my child on the trip and what our rights as parents are. Clare, do you think I should ask someone else?

I am afraid that under the revised guidelines brought in by the current government the school were within their rights to take your son on the trip.
Whilst generic consent forms are suggested they are not mandatory and whilst the school can use them they do not HAVE to do so
You were informed that the trip would take place and did not withdraw the children from school that day.
On that basis the school were technically legally correct - they could take him if they wished.
Whether it was appropriate to do so in the face of your clearly expressed views on the trip is a different issue - and all things considered i would argue that it was NOT as it undermines the essential relationship of Trust between parent and school
As a starting point you should write expressing your concerns to the Head and copy it to the Chair of Governors. The emphasis should not be on the statutory framework but on the working relationship between you and the school. I woudl suggest that you read the schools own mission statement and brochure and use that as the guide to the arguments that you make
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare,

Thank you, ***** ***** exactly what I needed! I can now write to the school knowing where I stand and using the right approach.

You are most welcome - I hope that you are treated with the respect this issue deserves