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Education and Inspections Act 2006

Section 82: Amendments of section 444 EA 1996 relating to school travel

407.Section 444 of the 1996 Act outlines the situations in which a parent may have a defence in law against a prosecution by a local education authority for their child’s non-attendance at school. Section 444(4) provides a parent with a defence if he proves that the school at which the child is a registered pupil is not within statutory walking distance and, where the child is not a boarder, no suitable arrangements have been made by the local education authority for his transport to and from the school or for enabling the child to become a registered pupil at a school nearer to his home.

408.This section amends section 444 by inserting new subsections (3A) to (3F), which are intended to make it clear that in England:

(a)

parents have a defence to a criminal charge of failing to secure their child’s attendance where they prove that a local education authority has failed in its duty to make travel arrangements under section 508B(1) or, where a school travel scheme is in place, section 508E(2)(c);

(b)

local education authorities are not under a duty to make travel arrangements to schools in the private sector; and

(c)

in authorities operating school travel schemes, the fact that the authority may levy charges for travel arrangements does not provide a defence to the charge of not securing a child’s attendance.

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