De-registration from a School
What is deregistration?
deregistration happens when a a parent of a child instructs the school to remove a child from the school register either to send to another school or to home educate the child.
In england deregistration is governed by Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 and for Wales by the Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010. While these regulations have small differences they are broadly similar.
How does a parent deregister a child
Deregistration must be in writing preferably by letter sent by recorded delivery or taken in by hand. It should correctly identify the child and state clearly that the child is receiving education otherwise than at school. The letter should be signed by a parent.
Under the Education Act 1996, a parent includes anyone and everyone with parental responsibility or anyone "who has care of" the child in question. The education act is very broad in its definition of a parent.
Can the school refuse?
Normally deregistration is a right in law. There are three circumstances which restrict this right:
What should the school do next?
Providing there are no SAO and the child is not attending a special school the child MUST be deregistered either immediately or from the date of commencement of home education, whichever is the later date.
The school has no power to refuse or delay deregistration or apply further conditions prior to allowing deregistration such as home inspection or checks on the suitability of provision.
Neither can the LA or any other body instruct the school to refuse or delay deregistration.
Informing the LEA
The head teacher should inform the LA as soon as the grounds for deletion are met in england or within ten days following the day on which the child's name was deleted in Wales. (regulation 12.3)
Home education is not of itself a cause for concern to child protection teams. Home education is an accepted and widely used parental choice in the UK. Concerns raised with child protection teams on the sole grounds that a child is being home educated may be regarded as malicious.
On the other hand if the school has genuine concerns regarding a child's welfare and a judgment is made that these are serious in nature then the usual local child protection policy should be initiated.
What should LEAs do next?
The LA has no duty to make "safe and well visits" purely because a family decides to HE.
If an LA decides that a family making that decision merits
for that reason a referral to child protection, it is likely that the
grounds for such an application already existed and a referral should have been
made while the child was at school and any such referral should already have been undertaken.
If the LA has genuine concerns about a child's welfare that are considered significant and immediate then these should be passed on to the local child protection teams without delay in accordance with local child protection policies. NB: Home education is not of itself grounds for concern for a child's welfare.
While the LEA may want to contact the family sooner, the family have a right in law to expect reasonable time before having to supply details about their provision, IMO this should reasonably be 4-6 weeks minimum. The actual time should vary depending upon circumstances.
Contact with the family should, in the first instance, be by letter. Families have the right to have their choice respected and contact should be polite and state clearly that the LA understand the parents legal right to home educate. Initial contact might also reasonably offer support in mediating school/home problems.
The LA might reasonable offer to put the family in contact with other local and national home education networks and explain any local arrangements supporting home educating families.
Unless the family refuse to respond to requests for contact within a reasonable length of time, not less than two weeks, the LA should not 'doorstep' the family or persistently telephone the family.
Children known to be home educated are in no way missing education and should not be included in actions in respect of CME protocols. Paragraph 18 of the CME Statutory Guidance refers the Local Authority back to the Department of Education EHE guidance to Local Authorities for procedures relating to elective home educators.
© Mike Fortune-Wood 2011