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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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I am an international student doing my phd in uk. I came here

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I am an international student doing my phd in uk. I came here a 2 years ago and left my husband and 4 children in my contry. We exchange visits during the holidays. Last September 2012, I brought my youngest son , 15 years old, here with me to enrol him in a British school while I am studying here in the hope of giving him a better education. He is in the 10 th grade in a school in Camden area in London. He did not adapt well to the new environment in the school and refused to go to school a lot. I discussed the issue with his school in the parent meetings, and the school tried to help in making him feel welcome but he could not manage due to language barrier and to a totally different education system. His grades are a mixture of D + F+ U. In my country this is considered failing. The problem is that his absence has reached 6.1%. The education officer called us yesterday and said that if it reaches 10%, I ( his mother) will be called to court and have a criminal record and pay
a fine or go to jail. Now in light of his failing grades and amount of absence and the difficulties he is facing here and the threat of court he wants to return back to Saudi Arabia and live with his dad their and study their as he always did. My question:
Can I just go to the school and remove him and tell them he wants to go back to his country? or will I be prosecuted?
The spring vacation is on the 28th but since he does not want to continue living and
studying here, can I book him a flight earlier and send him home? or would that cause a problem with the authorities here?
He has a tourist visa, and on 15 April he will have completed 6 months in the country. I was planing to get him a dependent tire 4 visa in the spring break to continue his education here, but now there is no need.
Please advice me.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm happy to help with your question today.

Have you been to any of the meetings arranged by the school or education welfare officer?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I went to a parent night . And yesterday I went to a meeting with the education officer at the school
Hello Hassna

Thank you for the additional information.

The law in this country which deals with this situation is the Education Act 1996. This law says

1. That a parent has to secure education for the child of compulsory school age (up to 16 years) which is suitable to (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b) to any special educational needs he may have,either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. This can be education at school or at home with suitable tutors.

2. As your son is a registered pupil at a school then he must attend. However if you choose to do so you can remove him from the school and educate him at home at your own expense or with some assistance from the education authority. The education authority may be reluctant to fund home tutoring because of the cost involved. But you may be able to persuade them to help if the issue is about your son not being ready to settle into mainstream education. If you wish you can send him back to Saudia Arabia - as I said in (1) above the duty in this country is to make sure your son receives suitable education - but the location can be of your own choosing.

3. Failure to attend is a criminal offence for which the parent can be prosecuted. If a case is started against you then you will have to attend the Magistrates Court and answer the allegation. Usually for a first time offence the Magistrates impose a fine. But if there is a second offence the parent could be given a community penalty such as unpaid work or in extreme cases sent to prison for up to 6 months.

4. If you are prosecuted you can plead guilty of you accept that ' failed to secure the attendance...' of your child at school. Unfortunately it is no defence to say you did your best. The defences available to this type of case are: a. (a) with permission from the school (b) at any time when he was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause, or (c) on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his parent belongs.

5. If you decide to plead not guilty and contest the matter you could so so on the basis of "...unavoidable cause" which I mentioned above. You could say that your son has not been able to settle in to school because of the change of environment and being unable to settle in. I suppose you are suggesting that he has been affected psychologically. In order for this defence to succeed you have to establish your defence and may have to get some expert opinion e.g. a doctor or psychologist to report on how your child has been affected.

6. You can remove your child and send him to Saudi. This will stop future prosecution. However where an offence has been committed in the past you could still be prosecuted. But this is unlikely in my opinion as the education authority are only concerned about getting your son to school. If he is no longer in the country they might not bother.

7. Finally, remember that this type of case is criminal. If you are convicted e.g. plead guilty or found guilty after a trial, you will have a criminal record which must be disclosed for immigration or job applications. If the sentence is a fine or community order the conviction would have to be disclosed for 5 years.

I hope this helps. Please remember to rate my answer. I will be happy to discuss matters further.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank Alex. One more question please. He is going back home on the 23rd of March. He will be back here for summer vacation in August for 3 weeks. I wanted to send him now but I can not because his teeth is swollen and they are going to extract it on the 18th of this month. Since he is not going to continue his education at this school, does he have to keep attending till the day he leaves the country? or can I remove him now and he can stay at home untill he finishes his tooth extraction and then leave?
Also how do I remove him? How is it done here? When is the best time to do it since he is leaving 23rd?

Thank you
Hi there!

You can remove him from the school by giving written notice to the headmaster. This can be a letter or e-mail. If you give notice on Monday 11th March you could state his final date as 15th March. He can leave school at the end of that day. He can then go to his dental appointment before departing on 23rd March.

Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you very much Alex. You have been a great help.
No problem. All the best to you and your family. Alex
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Alex I am sorry to disturb you again but I did as you told me and the school replied that they want the telephone number of the ministry of education in my country so they could check if he is homeschooled there or not.

Do they have the right to do this?


No they do not.

Even if they did call how could they check what education your son is receiving?

Anyway, whether he gets an education in Saudi Arabia or not is none of their business.

Once your son goes abroad the English authorities have no say over his education.

Hope this helps.