Section 20: Parenting orders in cases of exclusion from school
57.Existing legislation provides for parenting orders for parents convicted of school attendance offences. This section complements that provision by enabling LEAs to apply to magistrates’ courts for parenting orders for parents of children who have been excluded from school.
58.Subsection (1) defines the circumstances in which parenting orders in cases of exclusion from school may be made. These are where a pupil has been excluded from school for a fixed term or permanently and where conditions prescribed by regulations made the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for England or the National Assembly for Wales are met.
59.Subsection (2) and subsection (3) enables local education authorities (LEAs) to apply for parenting orders in such circumstances and magistrates’ courts to make them. Subsection (4) defines a parenting order as an order that requires the parent to comply with the requirements specified in the order for a period of up to one year, and with one exception, set out in subsection (5), attend a counselling or guidance programme specified by the LEA or school representative overseeing the order (the responsible officer) for up to three months. Subsection (5) makes the requirement to attend a counselling or guidance programme an optional part of an order made for a parent who has already been subject to a parenting order. Subsections (6) to (8) state that the counselling or guidance programme may include a residential component when the court considers that this is likely to be more effective than a non-residential course and where any interference with family life is proportionate.
60.An LEA may apply for a parenting order as a first response or it may make an application following a parent’s refusal to sign, or breach of, a parenting contract. This section complements section 26, which enables youth offending teams to apply for parenting orders for parents of children who have engaged or are likely to engage in criminal conduct or anti-social behaviour.