Education Law – An Overview

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Education Law takes care of any legal issues around education. There are many areas of education where law dictates how things work. Here we take a brief look at some areas that are covered by education law.
EMPLOYMENT
Just like any other business anyone who works for an educational institution, such as a school, college or university, must act and be treated according to the normal employment laws.
EUROPEAN LAW
There are European laws that dictate certain areas of education law. This is likely to increase in the near future, with the Lisbon Treaty going through. This means that many of the education laws are likely to be uniform across Europe.
INSTITUTION RESPONSIBILITIES
There are certain responsibilities set out by law that educational institutions must abide by. They have a duty to teach certain things (depending on the type of institution) and sometimes they have certain procedures which they must follow. For example secondary schools must teach certain subject, such as English, Maths and Science.
TRAINING
Anyone working in education must be trained sufficiently to fulfil their specific role. School teachers have to have formal training, both to make sure they have the skills to teach children and to make sure they know their subject areas sufficiently.
CHILD CARE
Educational institutions have a duty of care. Those looking after children must be deemed fit to take on such a role. This can include background checks so everything possible is done to make sure children are safe in their care.
SPECIAL NEEDS
Institutions have a legal obligation to meet the needs of those with special needs to make sure that they are given the same opportunities as others.
HEALTH & SAFETY
There are health and safety guidelines that must be followed. Premises must be deemed safe for purpose. Compensation might be payable if an institution is found to be liable for an injury that has occurred while the victim was at the premises.
DISCRIMINATION
Students (and teachers) cannot be discriminated against for any reason. Everyone must be treated equally irrespective of gender, age, race, sexuality or religion.
FINANCE & FUNDING
Certain rules apply as to how different institutions can acquire funding. For example, states schools have to be free for all. Different regulations apply to state and private institutions, as they do depending on what type of institution they are (e.g. schools and universities are treated differently).
STUDENT ADMISSION
This is an area that has been much debated recently. Rules that decide who has the right to attend a specific school are set out by law, something that is based on the geographical areas in which they live. Many parents have been known to dispute these decisions.
STUDENTS TAKING ACTION AGAINST EACH OTHER
Although rare, there are some occasions where students have taken legal action against each other using education law solicitors, with the most common reason being that they have been bullied by the student in question.
DISCIPLINE
There are laws stating forms of discipline that can be carried out. In the past physical punishment was legal but this is no longer the case. There can also be disputes where children have been excluded from school.
POSSESSION OF SUBSTANCES
Certain substances are banned by law from premises. Illegal drugs are obviously not allowed, but cigarettes and alcohol are also not deemed acceptable at certain premises. This mostly applies to schools.
SEARCHING
Students are allowed to be searched on occasions but only when there is sufficient suspicion that they have broken rules. This can include searching pocket, bags and lockers.
Andrew Marshall ©

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