Q&As

Change of a child's name: Can a school use an informal change of name without consent from an absent parent?

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Published on LexisPSL on 28/11/2013

The following Local Government Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Change of a child's name: Can a school use an informal change of name without consent from an absent parent?
  • Forename or surname?
  • Parental responsibility
  • School's role
  • Relevant Practice Notes

Change of a child's name: Can a school use an informal change of name without consent from an absent parent?

Forename or surname?

The first question to consider here is whether this in relation to a child’s forename or surname as there are different levels of governance.

Generally, changing a child’s forename bears less restriction, as it is considered to be ‘much less concrete in character than surnames’ (Re H (a child: forename) ). The same case further states that in the case of separated parents, the mother as primary carer was able to use her chosen name for the child.

Changing a child’s surname is governed by stricter rules, due to its attachment to family ties. As a number of factors must be taken into consideration, changing a child’s surname calls for a case by case analysis; there is no ‘one answer fits all’ approach.

However, below are some points that may be useful to address this question:

Parental responsibility

If both people have parental responsibility, then neither one can change the child’s

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