What say do I have in how the school is run?
You have the right to vote for parent governors to represent you on the school governing body. You can also stand for election as a parent governor yourself.
Schools must talk with you and other parents about changes to:
- the home-school agreement (see 'What is a 'home-school agreement?');
- the school's behaviour statement (see 'What rights does the school have to discipline my child?').
There are also rules on when parents should be consulted about major changes to schools, such as:
- closures; and
- changes to the school starting and finishing times.
In Wales the school's governing body must give you a written report on the school every year, and hold a meeting each year for parents to discuss it.
You can suggest topics for discussion and action and vote on them. If other parents agree with you, the governing body must look at the issue and report back to you. For this to happen, the number of parents at the meeting must be at least 20 per cent (a fifth) of the total number of pupils at the school.
If you have a child at a school or you are thinking of sending your child to a school, you have a right to a free copy of the school prospectus, with information about the school and its policies. In Wales, this must include:
- information about the school's special educational needs policy;
- details of how the school supports disabled pupils
- information about admission to the school;
- parents' rights to withdraw their child from religious education and collective worship;
- details of absences; and
- information about examination, test and assessment results in that school
In England, governing bodies have more freedom about what to publish in their prospectus but they must include;
- information about the school's special educational needs policy; and
- details of how the school supports disabled people.
Governing bodies must also complete a ‘school profile’ every year. This is a document, available online, that contains information about:
- the school’s performance in tests and examinations;
- the most recent Ofsted report; and
- how the school ensures that pupils are healthy, safe and well supported.
You can find school profiles through the website of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (see ‘Further help’).
Schools in England and Wales should also give you information about the curriculum and syllabuses (what your child will be taught and how) if you ask for it.
A home-school agreement sets out your responsibilities and those of the school (and sometimes the children) towards each other. It has no legal force. Schools must talk to parents when they draw up a home-school agreement. In most cases, you must be asked to sign the home-school agreement, but you cannot be made to do this. A school cannot refuse your child a place or exclude your child just because you do not sign the home-school agreement.
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