Acts of Parliament

Index to the Acts

See the index for the full list of Acts relating to children, schools and education and for notes on the texts.

Education Act 1996

Education Act 1996 (full text as it was originally enacted).

Education Act 1996

© Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Notes on the text


Gillian Shephard (pictured) became Secretary of State for Education in John Major's Conservative government in July 1994, and oversaw her department's merger with the Department of Employment, to become the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), in July 1995.

She decided that a period of consolidation was needed, so although the 1996 Education Act (24 July) was a huge piece of legislation - 557 pages containing 583 sections and 40 schedules, it made few new provisions but consolidated into a single Act previous legislation from the 1944 Education Act onwards.

Summary of contents of the Act

'An Act to consolidate the Education Act 1944 and certain other enactments relating to education, with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission'.

Part I General

Chapter I The statutory system of education: stages of education (section 1), definition of primary, secondary and further education (2), definition of pupil etc (3), schools - primary schools, secondary schools and middle schools, nursery schools and special schools (4-6), duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age (7), compulsory school age (8), pupils to be educated in accordance with parents' wishes (9).

Chapter II Functions of the Secretary of State (10-11).

Chapter III Local education authorities: areas and functions (12-15), establishment of schools (16-17), other educational provision (18-19).

Chapter IV The Funding Authorities: Funding Agency for Schools (20), Schools Funding Council for Wales (21), functions etc (22-26).

Chapter V Allocation of responsibility for education as between LEA and funding authority (27).

Chapter VI Supplemental: dispute resolution (28), provision of information (29-30).

Part II Schools maintained by local education authorities

Chapter I Preliminary: county schools and voluntary schools (31), controlled, aided and special agreement schools (32), maintained nursery and special schools (33-34).

Chapter II Establishment, alteration etc of county and voluntary schools: county schools (35-40), voluntary schools (41-48), proposals for a middle school (49), division of a school (50-51), changing status of voluntary schools (52-58).

Chapter III Funding of voluntary schools (59-75).

Chapter IV Government of county, voluntary and maintained schools: instruments of government (76-77), categories of governor (78), constitution (79-85), other matters (86-88), grouping of schools (89-95), new schools (96-100).

Chapter V Financial delegation to governing bodies (101-126).

Chapter VI Conduct and staffing of schools: articles of government (127-129), general (130-132), staffing of schools without delegated budgets (133-135), staffing of schools with delegated budgets (136-142), teachers of religious education (143-146), school terms, holidays and sessions (147-148), premises (149-153), discipline (154-160), reports, meetings and information (161-166).

Chapter VII Discontinuance of local education authority schools (167-175).

Chapter VIII Miscellaneous: further education (176), teacher training (177), other matters (178-182).

Part III Grant-maintained schools

Chapter I Preliminary (183).

Chapter II Procedure for acquisition of grant-maintained status: eligibility (184-185), procedure (186-200).

Chapter III Property, staff and contracts (201-210).

Chapter IV Establishing new grant-maintained schools (211-217).

Chapter V Government, conduct etc of grant-maintained schools (218-243).

Chapter VI Funding of grant-maintained schools (244-258).

Chapter VII Alteration of grant-maintained schools (256-266).

Chapter VIII Discontinuance of grant-maintained schools (267-279).

Chapter IX Groups of grant-maintained schools (280-290).

Chapter X General and miscellaneous (291-311).

Part IV Special educational needs

Chapter I Children with special educational needs (312-336).

Chapter II Schools providing for special educational needs (337-349).

Part V The curriculum

Chapter I Preliminary (350-352).

Chapter II Secular education: National Curriculum (353-357), School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (358-361), special cases (362-367), other matters (368-374).

Chapter III Religious education and worship: religious education (375-384), worship (385-388), exceptions and special arrangements (389), standing advisory councils on religious education (390-397), miscellaneous (398-399).

Chapter IV Miscellaneous and supplemental provisions: external qualifications (400-402), sex education (403-405), politics (406-407), provision of information (408), complaints and enforcement (409-410).

Part VI School admissions, attendance and charges

Chapter I Admissions Arrangements (411-433), registration of pupils (434), withdrawal of pupils (435), other matters (436).

Chapter II School attendance (437-448).

Chapter II Charges in connection with education at LEA or grant-maintained schools (449-462).

Part VII Independent schools

Chapter I Meaning of 'independent school' (463).

Chapter II Registration of independent schools (464-478).

Chapter III Assisted places at independent schools (479-481).

Chapter IV City technology colleges and city colleges for the technology of the arts 482-483).

Part VIII Grants and other financial matters (484-495).

Part IX Ancillary functions

Chapter I Ancillary functions of the Secretary of State (495-507).

Chapter II Ancillary functions of local education authorities (508-532).

Chapter III Ancillary functions of governing bodies (533-536).

Chapter IV Provision of information by governing bodies etc (537-541).

Part X Miscellaneous and general

Chapter I Educational premises (542-547).

Chapter II Corporal punishment (548-550).

Chapter III Other provisions about schools: duration of school day (551), single-sex schools (552), trusts etc (553-557).

Chapter IV Employment of children and young persons (558-560).

Chapter V Persons not covered by the Act (561-562).

Chapter VI General (563-583).


The above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 23 December 2017.