The duty to provide alternative education

If your child is of compulsory school age but is not receiving education because:

  • illness is preventing them from being able to attend school
  • they have been permanently excluded from school, or
  • for any other reason,

then under section 19 of the Education Act 1996, your local authority (LA) has a legal duty to secure suitable, full-time alternative education for them.

Please note that if your child or young person is or was on roll at a school and has been excluded, the school must follow certain steps even if they are not of compulsory school age. 

How to request alternative education

You can find out more about this duty, along with a model letter to help you make a request for alternative education

Case law

The Courts have confirmed that the LA has a duty to provide education for all children of compulsory school age who don’t have a school they can reasonably attend.

You can read our case law summaries about children out of school or not getting a full time education here.