I have already received some very detailed communications from parents, regarding consent for COVID-19 vaccinations for their children at the school, so write to clarify our position. There is some conjecture in the press that teenagers may be able to consent to vaccination regardless of whether parents consent or not, which I am sure us fuelling anxiety.
Our situation as a school is that we act ‘in loco parentis’ – acting in the place of a parent, and as such I have always seen my place as a Head Teacher to act on behalf of parents and in accordance with their wishes. This obviously has to also fall within national guidance, but regarding a child’s health, I would not anticipate taking action contrary to parental choice other than for safeguarding or emergency health and safety reasons.
In terms of COVID-19 vaccinations, the guidance we are receiving as school is that consent of both parent and student is required for a vaccination to be given. I would like to reassure parents that as Head Teacher, even if this changes and students themselves are able to give consent, I will not release them from their formal compulsory education for this purpose without parental consent.
The situation is obviously more complex for sixth form students who are not obliged by law to be in school and have greater freedoms, and in this case it is for each parent to support their child in managing their health care and communicate with the school as needed.
In any event, we will not override parents’ wishes.