The Coronavirus Act, which was passed on 26 March 2020 as emergency UK legislation, has enabled the government to make ‘educational closure directions’, whereby some of the legal duties that apply to local authorities have been temporarily suspended.
According to Enquire:
Whilst the schools are closed, parents’ duties to educate their children and send their children to school are effectively suspended. This means you cannot be prosecuted for failing to send your child to school if their school has closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Home educators should be aware that the parental’ duty to provide education for their school-age children ‘by other means’ (including home education), is also suspended.
Local Authorities should meanwhile process withdrawal from school requests as normal since there is nothing to prevent completion of a purely administrative task remotely during the lockdown.
For more detailed information on the emergency coronavirus legislation in relation to children’s education and welfare, please refer to the Enquire website.
Update (14 May 2020)
Iain Nisbet’s latest newsletter helpfully sets out changes to legislation and guidance in Scotland due to the pandemic – Additional Support Needs Update (Issue 7)