Can a school place a pupil on a part-time timetable?

As a rule, no. All pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education. In very exceptional circumstances there may be a need for a temporary part-time timetable to meet a pupil’s individual needs. For example, where a medical condition prevents a pupil from attending full-time education and a part-time timetable is considered as part of a re-integration package. A part-time timetable must not be treated as a long-term solution.Can a school place a pupil on a part-time timetable?

Any pastoral support programme or other agreement must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with alternative provision.

All children of compulsory school age are legally entitled to receive a suitable full-time education and local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that all children in their area receive such an education. The Local Government Ombudsman has established (in its report Out of school…out of mind (LGO. 2011)) that the number of hours of teaching per week considered to represent full-time education is as follows:

  • Reception and Key Stage 1 (R, Y1 and Y2) – 21 hours
  • Key Stage 2 (Y3 to Y6) – 23.5 hours
  • Key Stage 3 (Y7 to Y9) and Y10 – 24 hours
  • Y11 – 25 hours

The assumption is that pupils should receive full-time education consistent with their Key Stage

A timetable is considered reduced, when it consists of something less than that which is provided to the majority of the pupil’s peers in that setting. As a rule schools are only permitted to provide less than full-time education, including placing a pupil on a part-time timetable, in very exceptional circumstance