Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on LAs to make suitable alternative education for children of compulsory school age who cannot attend school because of illness, exclusion or for any other reason. You can ask your LA to put this in place, using model letter 22 on our model letters page.

If your child is permanently excluded, the LA must provide suitable, alternative full-time education from day 6 of the exclusion. For more information see our pages on exclusions and getting temporary education put in place.

If your child is unable to attend school for another reason, such as the placement breaking down the section 19 duty will arise. This has been confirmed by case law. For example, if your child feels unable to attend school despite you working hard with professionals to get them back into school, and they are not reasonably able to attend, then the LA’s duty to provide suitable alternative education arises.

In situations like this, it is important to show that you have made every effort to work with the school and LA, to make school attendance possible and/or easier for your child.