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Article 2 of the First Protocol: Right to Education

No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.

Article 2 of the First Protocol guarantees a right of access to education. It does not require countries to provide education or to provide education of a particular type, but where there are educational facilities, the article provides that people should not be denied access to them. This does not prevent schools having selection polices, though their polices may have to be justified.

This article does not prevent suspensions or exclusions from school, but such action must be justified as necessary and proportionate. There is likely to be a breach of this article however where an excluded student has no effective access to alternative education facilities.

The second sentence of the article does not give parents the absolute right to have their children educated in accordance with their religious or philosophical beliefs. It merely requires schools to respect parents’ beliefs.

The UK entered a reservation or qualification in relation to its acceptance of the second sentence of this Article. The reservation provides that the second sentence is accepted only insofar as it is compatible with the “…provision of efficient instruction and training, and with the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure.”.

Relevant sections:


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