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Changing a child’s surname in education records

Schools and nurseries are increasingly receiving requests from parents who want to change their child's name in education records. 

In some cases parents are asking to change the surname that is formally recorded. In other cases they are asking to change the surname that the child is known by and which the child uses on a day to day basis.

Parents often state that they are within their legal rights to call themselves (or their child) anything they like and this is, generally speaking, is correct.

However, for education purposes, the law requires the Council to hold a register that shows a pupil's "full name" - that means the full name appearing on a pupil's birth certificate.

Parental rights and responsibilities

If there are particular reasons why:

  • the consent of all people who hold parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child cannot be obtained;
  • a new birth certificate showing a new surname cannot be produced; or
  • a deed poll certificate signed by all persons who hold parental rights and responsibilities showing a new surname cannot be produced (where appropriate)

The reasons for that should be fully set out in writing, together with any relevant documents, such as copies of legal agreements or copies of Court orders. All of this will then be considered by the Council in order to reach a decision on how to take the matter forward. 

Where both parents hold parental rights and responsibilities, schools and nurseries will not, unless there are exceptional circumstances to justify doing so, accept the rights of one parent over the other in relation to the use of a surname that is different from the one on the child's birth certificate. 

The change of name process

Any request to change a child's name in education records will depend on certain circumstances, including:

  • Where the child's birth was registered (i.e. Scotland or outwith Scotland);
  • Who holds parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child; and
  • Whether all persons who hold parental rights and responsibilities consent to the use of a new surname 

What do I do if my child was born in Scotland?

As set out above, for education purposes, schools and nurseries are required to formally record the name shown on the child's birth certificate. If the child's birth was registered in Scotland, the Council will require a new birth certificate showing the new surname to allow the name to be formally recorded. 

What do I do if my child was born outwith Scotland?

If the child's birth was registered outwith Scotland, the Council will require a deed poll certificate that a) shows the new surname and b) is signed by all parties who hold parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child to be produced to allow the child's name to be formally recorded showing the new surname. 

If you wish to make a request to change your child's name, you can use one of these forms:

Parents are advised to take independent legal advice as the Council cannot provide legal advice.

If you require assistance in completing the change of name form or for further information, please contact your child's school or nursery, email education@southlanarkshire.gov.uk or phone on 0303 123 1023.

Education Resources

Phone: 0303 123 1023
Email: Education Resources