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Attending School - Education Supervision Order (E.S.O.)

General Information

  • The Children's Act 1989 allows the Local Education Authority to apply for an Education Supervision Order on any child of compulsory school age, whom it is felt is not being properly educated.
  • An Education Supervision Order lasts for one year initially, but may be extended for up to three years on application.
  • The Supervisor has a duty to advise, assist and befriend the child on whom the order has been made, and to offer support to his/her parents.
  • The Supervisor will work in partnership with the child and his/her family to ensure that he/she receives an appropriate education.
  • The wishes and feelings of the child must be taken into account whenever practicable.

Why is an Education Supervision Order imposed?

All children are required by law to attend the school at which they are registered and it is viewed very seriously if they do not do so. If a child refuses to attend a school regularly, the Local Education Authority could summon the child and parent before the Family Court and apply for an Education Supervision Order.

The application is heard in the Family Court which consists of local Magistrates who have the power to grant an Education Supervision Order.

If an order is granted, it will last for a period of 12 months and, on further application to the Family Court, could be extended up to 3 years.

Any child who is brought before the Family Court is entitled to seek the advice of a solicitor.

The parents may also seek legal advice on their own behalf.

Before an Order is made, the Court must be satisfied that making an education Supervision Order is in the best interest of the child.

What are the Requirements of an Education Supervision Order?

If an Education Supervision Order is made on a child, he/she will be required to:

  • Attend a school regularly.
  • Allow the Supervisor to visit him/her at the place where he/she is living.
  • Meet with the Supervisor on a regular basis.
  • Discuss with the Supervisor any problems which arise which could prevent him/her attending school.
  • Keep to any reasonable instruction which the Supervisor may give.
  • Notify the Supervising Officer of any change of address.

Throughout the period of the Order, parents retain parental responsibility for their child, and must continue to ensure that their child attend school regularly. They must also meet with the Supervisor on a regular basis, and allow the Supervisor reasonable contact with the child. They must co-operate with any strategies proposed by the Supervisor.

How will an Education Supervision Order be imposed

An Education Supervision Order is imposed when it is proved to the Court that a child is not being educated according to his age, ability and aptitude, taking into account any educational needs he/she may have. During the period of the Order, a review will be held at which the child, parent, supervisor, and member of the Education Welfare Service discusses whether the Order is working and what future plans need to be made.

If the Order is successful, and no extension is applied for, it will lapse after the 12 month period.

If a parent does not co-operate with the Supervisor in working within the requirements of the Order, the parent could be referred back to the Court. A fine of up to £2,500 could be imposed on the parent.

If a child does not co-operate with the Supervisor he/she can be referred back to the Court who could direct the Social Care and Health Department to become involved and consider applying for a higher order.