Parental responsibility is defined by the Children Act 1989 as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to a child or his property”. Schools are required to keep records of all persons who have parental responsibility for children at the school. These records will include their names and addresses, together with at least one telephone number at which the parent can be contacted in an emergency. Most schools will extend this to include mobile phone numbers and email addresses.

Under English law, parents are free to choose any forename or surname for their child. There are no restrictions to what surname may be registered for a child in the UK and this may be changed by parents acting jointly. A child can only be known by a new name at school if everyone with parental responsibility has given consent, and schools are required to take reasonable steps to establish that this is so.

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