Parental consent: rules and forms

Find out when you need parental consent and what to do when you don’t get it. Use our multi-purpose parental consent form covering on-site and off-site activities, educational visits, administering non-prescription medicines, emergency release and communication preferences.

Last reviewed on 4 December 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 7516
  1. When parental consent is and isn't needed
  2. Download our template consent form 
  3. Never assume consent if you don't get a response 
  4. Who can give consent?
  5. Dealing with parents who withhold trip permission
  6. Have a look at examples of consent forms from other schools

When parental consent is and isn't needed

School trips

For nursery-age children, written consent is always needed.

For children over nursery age, it's usually only needed for trips that:

  • Need a higher level of risk assessment
  • Are outside normal school hours

Most off-site visits don’t need written consent if they're held during school hours or are part of the curriculum, such as year-group visits to local amenities.

We strongly recommend* you still inform parents about all off-site trips, and offer them the opportunity to withdraw their child. 

* Note: while the DfE's guidance (linked below) says you 'should' do this, it points to the OEAP guidance (linked below), which says it's essential.

This guidance is from section 2 of the DfE's guidance on educational visits and advice from a DfE representative. 

You might want to include this in your educational visits policy – this policy isn’t statutory, but it’s best practice to have one. 

Medical emergencies

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.