Asking for a copy of a child’s school record: Model letter 18

When should I use this letter?

You can use this letter to ask a school for a copy of your child or young person’s education record.

The record includes school reports, SEN support records, EHC plans and appendices, attendance record, disciplinary record and details of any exclusions. It may also include correspondence for example with the local authority or an educational psychologist.

You may want a copy of the child or young person’s education record for any number of reasons, but it may be particularly helpful if you are appealing to the SEND Tribunal and need evidence about the support the school has provided to your child so far. It may also be helpful if you are bringing a disability discrimination claim against the school.

Who can use this letter?

The right to the education record only applies if the child or young person attends, or previously attended, a maintained school (mainstream or special) or a non-maintained special school (if you’re not sure what type of school it is, see our page on the different types of schools).

For these types of schools, they have a duty to provide the record within 15 school days of the parent asking for it.

Who should I write to?

The letter should be sent to the chair of the governing body. If you do not have their details, simply send it to the school but addressed to this person.

What are the alternatives if my child or young person isn’t at a maintained or non-maintained special school?

If the child or young person attends an Academy, independent school or FE college, and they are competent to do so, they can request equivalent information from these schools and other organisations, including the LA, under data protection legislation themselves. This is known as a “subject access request”. Under this legislation a child or your person has a right to receive a copy of all information that relates to them. You can find out more about this via the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) website. 

You should also check the school’s data protection or information rights policy in case these say they will provide this information within 15 school days. If not, the school must respond without delay and within one month of the request.   

A parent or carer can make a subject access request on behalf of their child or young person where the child or young person is not competent to act on their own behalf or where they give consent.  

The ICO website suggests that a child or young person will be competent if they are able to understand (in broad terms) what it means to make a subject access request and how to interpret the information they receive. If they consent to you making the application on their behalf, enclose a note from them confirming that they consent to this information being sent to you with your request. 

Must maintained and non-maintained special schools respond to subject access requests too? 

Yes. As above, a child or young person can make a subject access request for any or all information that relates to them. Therefore, this type of request may reveal different information than a request for their educational record alone.  

However, unless the school’s policy says otherwise, it has longer to respond to a subject access request (one month) than to a request for an educational record (15 school days).  

In an urgent situation, a parent could request the educational record and the child or young person could make a subject access request for all other information that relates to them at the same time. For efficiency the school may provide all the information at the same time and would at least have to provide the educational record within 15 school days. 

Remember to keep a copy of any letter you send. If you need further advice, you can book an advice line appointment with IPSEA.