Young Mums Collective
Demanding recognition and respect for mums under the age of 26

Your legal rights whilst in education

Your rights 


Whether you are working or in education you have legal rights that will protect you. 

Can I carry on with my education while I'm pregnant?

At school

If you're pregnant or a mum, you're still expected to go to school until the end of Year 11. If that's not possible, the law says your local authority has to provide alternative education suitable for you.

Your school should not exclude you on the grounds of pregnancy or health and safety issues to do with your pregnancy, and they can't treat you differently because you're pregnant. You will be allowed up to 18 calendar weeks off school before and after the birth.

If you leave school at the end of Year 11, until you're 18 you still have to either:

  • stay in full-time education – for example, at college

  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship

  • work or volunteer (for 20 hours or more a week) while in part-time education or training

The law says colleges, universities or your apprenticeship employer are not allowed to treat you unfairly if you're pregnant or a mum.

Further or higher education

You can only get maternity leave or maternity pay under employment law, which means very few students are able to get them.

If you're a student, you should be able to take maternity-related absence from studying after your baby's been born. How long you take will depend on your own situation and your particular course.

The Equality Challenge Unit has a guide on student pregnancy and maternity (PDF, 345kb), which is written for higher education colleges.


Apprentices can take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave. If you're an apprentice, you may qualify for statutory maternity pay.

Help with childcare costs

If you're under 20, the Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs. You can apply if you're going to study at school or sixth form college or on another publically funded course in England.

You can't get Care to Learn if you're an apprentice who gets a wage or if you're doing a higher education course at university. 

For more information about Care to Learn, call 0800 121 8989 or email Learner Support.

If you require free advice on any of the above issues contact our free advice line on: 0161 930 5300 or email: