HE and Special Educational Needs

Can I deregister a child who has a Statement?

Boy blowing bubbles

Yes, you can.  A child with a Statement is no different from any other child since Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 requires parents to take into account any special educational needs when they educate otherwise than at school.  The only time this is different is if the child is attending a Special School.

How do I deregister my child from a mainstream school?

Under Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 9, 1995 (SI1995/2089) children can be deregistered just by writing to the Head Teacher of the school and telling them that you are withdrawing them from school as they are being educated at home.  It is best to quote the relevant section of the law as many schools are not aware of it.  It is also advisable to state that the child ‘is’ being educated otherwise, not ‘will be’ as it has been known in the past for a Local Authority to use this as a reason to pursue families for not ensuring the child is receiving an education.  A sample letter is available to download at the end of this article.  It is recommended that the letter be sent Recorded Delivery or, if hand delivered, request a receipt.

Can I deregister my child who is currently at a Special School?

Where a child is a registered pupil at a special school under arrangements made by the LA (so this excludes those who attend special school placements not funded or arranged by the LA), LA ‘consent’ is required to delete the child’s name from the register of the school.  Write to the school in the same way as above, but ask the school to inform you when this has been done. A sample letter is available for download at the end of this article. The child should attend school until you are certain that they have been taken off roll.

This is not permission to Home Educate per se.  Parents have the right to electively Home Educate (s7) and do not need permission to Home Educate.  Parents however will commit an offence for which they can be taken to court if the child’s name remains on the register of a school (or PRU) and absence with leave is not granted (irregular or non-attendance s444 or with sick note from a doctor).

Why do I need to have consent to deregister from a Special School?

This restriction is meant to protect the interests of more vulnerable children by ensuring that their special needs are met.

Why won’t the LA give me consent to deregister my child from a special school?

It is illegal for a school to refuse to deregister the child whether they are at a special school or a mainstream school.  Once you have formally notified the school, it is their responsibility to carry out their legal obligations.  It could be that they are genuinely concerned about a vulnerable child, but if they are using it to make it harder to home educate such children, this could be interpreted as discrimination and prejudice. Section 7 of the 1996 Act makes it clear that the right to "otherwise" education extends to children with special needs.

In this instance it would be advisable to seek professional advice from a lawyer.