Education Act 1994

Education Act 1994
Act of Parliament
Long title An Act to make provision about teacher training and related matters; to make provision with respect to the conduct of students’ unions; and for connected purposes.
Citation 1994 c.30
Territorial extent
England and Wales (whole Act)

Scotland (Part II and Schedule 2)

Northern Ireland (Schedule 2)

Royal assent 21 July 1994
Commencement 21 September 1994 (except ss. 22(4),22(5) and 22(6))
1 April 1995 (ss. 22(4),22(5) and 22(6))
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Education Act 1994 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

The Education Act 1994 is an act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom under John Major's government in 1994, which primarily established the Teacher Training Agency and allowed students to opt out of students' unions.

Part I

Part I relates to teacher training and includes the establishment of the Teacher Training Agency.[1]

Part II

Part II of the Education Act gave effect to students' freedom of association by mandating that students must be permitted to opt out of any students' union without being unfairly disadvantaged; this provision replaced am earlier proposal that would have made membership voluntary (i.e. opt-in), which had been seen to have a significant impact on membership of students' unions in Australia and was expected to have a similar impact in the UK.[2] This Part also places further restrictions on Students' Unions by requiring that affiliation to external organizations must be voted on at referendum if 5% of the membership requests a referendum and restricts the time a sabbatical officer can serve to two years. It also stipulates that a students' union must be governed democratically and must be accountable for its finances.[3]

There are various other clauses about the finances and external affiliations of students' unions.

Section 22 of the Act requires that "the procedure for allocating resources to groups or clubs should be fair and should be set down in writing and freely accessible to all students". This has generated some controversy because of the way it can be interpreted. Some assert that it requires all university societies that draw on students' union funding to be open to membership by all students, whilst others assert that this does not explicitly prevent a society of a students' union from restricting its membership to those who share the aims and purposes of the society.


  1. ^ "Records of the Teacher Training Agency and Successors". The National Archives. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  2. ^ Alex Bols (26 June 2014). "The 1994 Education Act and students' unions". WONKHE. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  3. ^ "1994 Education Act".

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