Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 requires local education authorities and the governing bodies of maintained schools and FE colleges to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are carried out with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. In addition, those bodies must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State in considering what arrangements they need to make for the purpose of that section. Section 157 of the Education Act 2002 and The Education (Independent
Schools Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 – require proprietors of independent schools (including academies and city technology colleges) to have arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are pupils at the school. Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education, DfES 2007
DfES 2007 and Working Together to Safeguard Children, DCSF 2010
Other legislation relevant to this guidance: Children Act 2004
Children Act 1989
Children and Young Persons Act 1933
There is no set legal age that children can walk to and from school independently or be left on their own. It is an offence, however, to leave a child alone if it places them at risk and therefore schools have a continual obligation to alert relevant authorities if they believe this is the case. This could, theoretically, include the school journey. “(1) Cruelty to persons under sixteen
If any person who has attained the age of sixteen years and [has responsibility for] any child or young person under that age, wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes him, or causes or procures him to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body, and any mental derangement), that person shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable….” Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 The most important factor to consider about suitability of a child walking to/from school alone is any risk to the child. Good practice would be to have a discussion with parents about the school’s view and identify alternative options if necessary, e.g. another parent taking the child home. Schools can support parents in decision making and consideration of risk about children being home alone and school transport arrangements
Checklist for supervision of children before/after school
The following factors should be considered when children are left unsupervised at home; walking to/from school or in the care of a sibling: • Has the parent/carer considered the risk/s posed by leaving their child alone. walking to/from school or in the care of a sibling?
• How old is/are the child/ren?
• How mature is/are the child/ren? What is their level of understanding/awareness about being unsupervised/walking to or from school? • How comfortable is/are the child/ren with the arrangements (this includes the younger child and the older child who is acting as ‘carer’)?
• Where will the children be left? Is this a safe place?
School Safeguarding Practice Guidance: Page 10 of 22 August 2012
Drop Off and Collection of Children Issue No.1
CS0269 • How long, and how often, will the child/ren be left?
• Is the home environment safe and secure? Has the parent/carer assessed the home environment/journey to or from school for risks? Has the older child or ‘carer’ been involved in this risk assessment?
• How far will the child/ren have to walk (if appropriate)?
• How far away will the parent/carer be? Will they be easiy contactable?
• Do any of the children (this also includes the older sibling or ‘carer’) have additional needs – medical, emotional, behavioural, learning difficulties/disabilities? How will