Education supervision orders – advice to pupils

Before the Inclusion Service consider making an application for an Education Supervision Order, the situation would have become very serious.

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Why apply for an Education Supervision Order (ESO)?

If your parents are encouraging you to attend school, but you are refusing without good reason, the Inclusion Service may consider applying for an Education Supervision Order under Section 36 Children Act 1989.

The Inclusion Officer (IO) would discuss this as an option with your parents and would only proceed with their full agreement and co-operation.

What is an ESO?

An ESO is a court order imposed on you.

The application is heard in the Family Law Court where Magistrates have the power to grant the order.

The application will include details of the efforts made to help you, and will include the plan which had previously been drawn up by Inclusion Services in partnership with you, your parents, and your school to bring about your return to regular school attendance.

If the Magistrates agree with the application, an ESO will be granted for twelve months initially but extensions can be applied for each year for up to a period of 3 years until the end of your compulsory education.

Parents and children may wish to seek legal advice if an ESO is proposed.

Should regular school attendance not be achieved by the granting of an ESO, the matter may then be referred to social care for them to make an assessment of the home situation.

How might an ESO help?

  • An ESO focuses on your refusal to attend school and seeks to ensure that you take responsibility and understand what this might mean for your future. You will have to explain why you are not attending school to the Magistrates.
  • The granting of an ESO supports the parents by giving authority to the Inclusion Officer (IO) to supervise the order. In this role, the IO will advise, assist and support you and will help and if necessary direct you and your parents to ensure school attendance.
  • The ESO requires all of the people involved in the plan to support you in improving your school attendance, but requires your co-operation too.

What is the process prior to application for an ESO?

  • The IO writes to you and your parents inviting you to an education planning meeting which will be chaired by a Senior Inclusion Officer.
  • This meeting would be attended by school representatives and any other agencies who are working with the family. It is vital that you attend this meeting so that your views and concerns will be taken into consideration and a voluntary plan drawn up to support your return to regular school attendance.
  • Where it is considered necessary, a review meeting will be arranged, no more than six weeks after the first meeting.
  • We hope that you will co-operate with the plan but if you fail to do so and your attendance remains unsatisfactory, an application for an ESO will be considered.

Attending court: questions and answers

What does a court look like?

The court is a large room with tables set out in a formal setting. You and your parents will be seated facing the Magistrates.

Sitting at the tables on one side will be the IO and their manager who will be making the application for the ESO. On the remaining side, the legal advisor will sit. This person is a qualified lawyer and advises the Magistrates about the law.

Who will be there?

The only persons present will be those mentioned above. No one else is allowed in the court.

Will the judge wear a wig?

No. Magistrates hear applications for ESOs, and they wear their ordinary clothes. They do not wear wigs or gowns.

What happens when you get to court?

You and your parents will be asked to wait in a waiting area outside the court. The IO and their manager will be waiting with you. When the court is ready to hear the application, you will go into court with your parents to hear the application being made. Both you and your parents will be asked questions about why you are not attending school.

Could I go to prison?

No. The court can only impose the order and you will be free to leave the court once the hearing is over.

If the family have money difficulties, will the court take this into account ?

There is no financial cost to you or your parents.

Once an ESO is granted

  • The IO is appointed as the supervising officer with the power to support and direct you and your parents to enforce regular school attendance. Your parents are still responsible for you and must continue to do all they can to support regular school attendance.
  • If you do not comply with the requirements of the ESO and fail to attend school regularly despite directions from the IO, a referral to social care may be required.
  • If the order is not working, the court can be told and may direct social care to make an assessment of the home situation.
  • You will not be allowed to move to another school for the duration of the ESO without the express permission of the local authority.

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