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 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 7516
Contents
  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