Monitoring the duty of care to pupils

Get to grips with how you can monitor your school's duty of care to pupils, so you can help keep pupils safe and reduce the risk of your school being held liable for injury.

Last reviewed on 16 May 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 40937
  1. What is the duty of care and when does it apply?
  2. Your school's duty of care when pupils are on site outside of school hours
  3. Your school's duty of care when parents are in school
  4. Monitor your school's risk assessments
  5. Make sure your school has clear policies for sending pupils home during the day 

What is the duty of care and when does it apply?

Schools have a duty of care to all pupils, including:

  • Pupils who are on the school's roll part time (dual registered)
  • Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities
  • Pupils with medical needs

The Department for Education (DfE) told us this. 

While there are no absolute duties under legislation or common law, school staff must take all reasonable steps to make sure children are not exposed to unacceptable risks.

A teacher’s duty of care is often described as the teacher acting 'in loco parentis' or in place of a parent. Although it's aimed at teachers, this guidance on education law from the National Education Union (NEU) does a good job of describing the duty.

When does the duty start and end?

Your school is responsible for pupils during: 

Your school