Child A was 8 when he was accused of stealing food from his boarding school kitchen. We asked the school why the boy was so hungry and whether other boys were also taking food on night-time raids.

Child B was bullied at her prep school, where Mum worked part-time and was reluctant to complain. We advised on alternatives for the girl’s education and she has now settled in happily at her local state primary school.

Child C was accused of sexually assaulting another boy. We advised the accused child’s parents on how best to protect their son and safeguard his ongoing education.

Child D hated her independent sixth form and left after only three days. The bursar demanded two whole terms’ fees. We advised the parents on whether it was best to fight the school or to ‘pay up and move on.

Child E was falling behind, because her primary school teacher could not cope. What rights do parents have when the state school lets them down like that? We helped the parents to a better education.

18 Ways to Acquire Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility brings the power to make important decisions affecting a child's education and upbringing. Here are 18 ways in which a person or organisation can acquire Parental Responsibility:

1. Adoption Agency. An Adoption Agency itself has Parental Responsibility, while the child is being placed, or authorised to be placed, for adoption.

2. Adoption Order. An Adoption Order gives Parental Responsibility to the new parents named in the Order.

3. Biological Father. The child's biological father, if, being domiciled in the UK at the time of the marriage, he 'legitimates' his child by marrying the mother, after the child's birth.

4. Biological Mother. The child's biological mother has automatic Parental Responsibility, unless and until an Adoption Order is made.

5. Emergency Protection Order. A person (usually, but not necessarily, a local authority) which has an emergency protection order in respect of the child has Parental Responsibility.

6. Guardian after a Death. A guardian of the child (who was appointed as the guardian with the statutory formality, by a parent, by another guardian or by a special guardian) and who acquires guardianship upon the death of the appointor has Parental Responsibility.

7. Guardian. A guardian of the child appointed by the Court has Parental Responsibility.

8. Local Authority. A local authority which has a care order in respect of the child has Parental Responsibility.

9. Married to the Mother. A man who was married to the child's biological mother at the time of the child's birth has Parental Responsibility for the child.

10. Named on the Birth Certificate. A man who is, or becomes, registered (in a joint registration) as the child's father on the child's birth certificate has Parental Responsibility.

11. Man with a PR Agreement. A man with whom the child's mother has made a 'parental responsibility agreement' has Parental Responsibility.

12. Man with a PR Order. A man on whose application the court has made a Parental Responsibility Order has Parental Responsibility.

13. Parental Order. A Parental Order gives Parental Responsibility to the parent(s) named in the Order.

14. Residence Order. A person with an ongoing Residence Order in their favour in respect of the child has Parental Responsibility.

15. Prospective Adopters. Prospective adopters have Parental Responsibility, while a child is being placed with them.

16. Special Guardianship Order. Any person with a Special Guardianship Order in their favour has Parental Responsibility.

17. Step-Parent. A 'step-parent' has Parental Responsibility, if he or she is married to, or the civil partner of, another person with parental responsibility and has had that other person's formal agreement.

18. Surrogate Mother. A surrogate mother, who bears the child on behalf of another woman, has Parental Responsibility, unless and until a Parental Order is made.

NOTE 1: The Court can remove Parental Responsibility from any person at any time.

NOTE 2: The definition of a 'Parent' in the Education Acts is much wider than these definitions of a person with Parental Responsibility