This paper investigates the impact of parental education on child health outcomes. To identify the causal effect we explore exogenous variation in parental education induced by a schooling reform in 1947, which raised the minimum school leaving age in the UK. Findings based on data from the National Child Development Study suggest that increasing the school leaving age by 1 year had little effect on the health of their offspring. Schooling did however improve economic opportunities by reducing financial difficulties among households. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.