government position may change over the
next week, so watch the news and keep an eye on the Lock
The expectation is that only those children in the
top tier of shielding and those with symptoms or a diagnosis of Covid
19 should not return to school. ALL other children should be returned
to school as of the start of the English school Year in September.
Parents who do not return children who should be attending
school, may be prosecuted for allowing their child to truant.
Many parents are happy to return their children to
school but a significant minority are not. Multiple surveys suggest
up to 1/3 of parents are unhappy about returning their children to
school in September. Many of these parents are now considering deregistration
with the intention of home educating until they consider the situation
We strongly suggest exploring all options before
taking this course of action.
We suggest that parents work together locally by engaging
with other parents, particularly those whose children attend your
Work together to engage with your school and local
authority to find out exactly what policies and arrangements have
been made by your specific school to tackle Covid 19.
If the school is reluctant to allow you to see their
may have a right to see them using the Freedom of Information
act. Similarly you can obtain information from your local authority.
Questions under the freedom of information Act
should be clear questions of fact. You cannot ask for opinions
or statements for example.
Collective action may increase pressure on schools
which show reluctance to engage with you.
The careful use of local media may well help. head teachers are sensitive
to local headlines along the lines of "Head Teacher refuses to inform
parents" for example.
Write to the school as a parent and explain exactly
what you need. Explain in detail why. Detailing any
medical histories relating to the request. You may ask if your doctor
is willing to add a note or reference to give weight
to your argument. Explain to the school exactly how a return is NOT
in the best interests of your child and how it could affect your
There is some government advice on how to approach
You may want to mention the Equalities
act with particular reference to "Reasonable Adaptation" if
it applies to your situation.
You may also refer to s175
of the Education Act 2002, which concerns the duty
of LA's and schools in ensuring the welfare of a child above all
Be clear and precise about what you want, why
you want it and your reasoning.
A refusal should be in writing and sent in reasonable
time and include their reasons. You can challenge their reasoning
and clarify your request and issue further requests with more information.
Since this process can take some time, the sooner you begin the better.
Copy in the LA attendance/inclusion team.
The government have today (25-08-20) said that a
phased return is allowed where the school allows it for children
who have found lock down difficult.
It may be that this could be used to delay a return where the child
is anxious about being in school for whatever reason.
It's not a solution for all, but it may be of use to some.
There are a number of petitions in progress.
A petition to make
flexischooling a right so that
under most circumstances schools may not refuse to allow it for at
least one day a week.
Flexischooling is where a child is registered at a
school but is educated at home part time.
is legal but only with the agreement of the head teacher.
This petition requests a legal change to make it so that parents
may request 1 day's flexischooling a week without requiring the permission
of the head teacher. It anticipates safeguards for vulnerable at
letter and petition to Boris Johnson regarding fines.
You may be considering deregistration because you
found home education to be a positive experience while you were in
lock down and have made a firm decision to continue home educating.
If that is the case then please see my guide
to deregistration here.
If you are considering deregistration due to fears of returning
your child to school while covid 19 presents a risk to your child
or family, then please continue reading before making
a firm decision.
Deregistration is the process by which a child is
removed from the school register. It is normally undertaken when
a child is removed from one school to attend another, such as
when a family moves home or when the parents decide to home educate
By deregistering your child you reclaim the total
responsibility for all aspects of your child's education as
expressed in s7
of the Education act 1996. Home education is the "Otherwise"
mentioned in s7 of the Act.
Providing the school is NOT a special school and
that there is NO school attendance Order, Educational Supervision
Order or Parenting order issued by the courts preventing such a decision,
deregistration in England is at the prerogative of the parents. (Similarly
for Wales, different rules apply in Scotland and NI.)
So, under most normal circumstances in England the
school may neither delay or refuse deregistration.
Deregistration should be considered a permanent or
at least long term decision since re-registering a child is not automatic.
Schools are likely to fill places once they
become available due to deregistration particularly if there is
a high demand for places at that school.
Some head teachers may be
reluctant to reregister a child once the family has removed them.
They may see this as a vote of no confidence in the school and make
a return difficult.
This means that if you deregister you cannot guarantee
being able to return your child to that school.
You can challenge a refusal to deregister through
your Local Authority. by appealing the decision. This is a fairly
Academies are particularly difficult to
If your choice of school
is refusing to accept your registration and you need help
with the process, you should contact your local authority inclusion
team and explain your situation. The local authority have a duty
to find a school place for all children in their area whose parents
Since the government position remains fluid you should
leave a final decision to deregister to the last minute.
You can deregister up to the morning
of the day on which you intend NOT to send your child to school.
Simply take your deregistration letter and hand it
in to the school reception asking for a dated receipt so you have
a record of it being handed in. Its important that your letter arrives
in the morning of the day on which your child first does not attend.
You must keep a record of this letter which is an important legal
See the following link on how
deregistration is works.
There is an FAQ which answers most of the basic questions
about home education.
UK Forum. A national FB forum of over 14,000 parents supporting
home educators in the UK.
We also advise joining a local home education support
group. You should be able to find one here.
be sure to answer all the membership questions otherwise
an application to join may be refused.