Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on LAs to make suitable alternative education for children of statutory school age who cannot attend school because of illness, exclusion or any other reason.

If a child is permanently excluded the LA must provide 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 a child is unable to attend school for another reason, such as the placement breaking down or the child refusing to go to school, the section 19 duty will arise. The case of R (on the application of Y) v Croydon LBC [2016] E.L.R. 138 provides a good example of this. The child in this case was refusing to attend school despite the parent making many attempts with professionals to get him back in to school. If it can be shown that it is not reasonably practicable for the child to attend, then the LA’s duty to provide suitable alternative education arises. In situations like this it is important that the parent makes every effort to work with the school and LA to facilitate their child’s attendance at school.