Children’s rights in schools
Produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors Ltd and Christopher McFarland of Sinclairs Law
Children’s rights in schools

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors Ltd and Christopher McFarland of Sinclairs Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Children’s rights in schools
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • The right to change a child’s names
  • Free school meals
  • Provision of uniforms and other clothing
  • Taking photographs of children at school
  • Children, work and work experience
  • Children’s rights at common law

The main rights that a child has in school are:

  1. the right to an education, and

  2. the right to receive the level of care and protection which a reasonable parent would give

The first one is recognised in statute and the second in common law.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989

This Convention is something that the UK government seeks to uphold, but it is not directly enforceable by individuals. The UN Convention seeks to provide children with a number of rights, including:

  1. the right to have their views respected

  2. the right to an adequate standard of living, and

  3. the right to an education

The Human Rights Act 1998

Perhaps the most important Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) rights in education law are:

  1. the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

  2. the right to an education (article 2 of the First Protocol), and

  3. the right to a fair trial

The right to an education is, strictly speaking, the right not to be denied the right to education. There are no useful quality criteria against which to measure the availability of this right, so it is very hard to show a breach of this right, unless education is denied to a child completely.

In education law, parents' rights often override those of their children. For example, parents