Deregistering from school

 If you have decided that Home Education is the best option for you and your child, you are probably wanting to know – what do I need to do next?!

For those who decide to home educate from the beginning there is nothing you need to do and no one you need to inform, your child is just never registered at a school! For those that have tried out school and it is not for them there is a deregistration process that needs to be gone through.

Finally taking the plunge and removing your child from school is understandably very daunting. Those of us that have done it, remember how huge the decision was. I can only reassure you, that once we got to the other side, we realised it was one of the best decisions of our lives.

You might have spent months researching home education and trying to work out how to make it work for your child and your family, or you might have just realised that for any number of reasons, you cannot send your child back to school again. Either way, there is one simple practical step between your child being a child who is educated at school and a child who is educated at home – you need to deregister.

If your child is currently at school, then it is important that you make sure that their name is removed from the school register. This is so that the school does not consider them to be truants and you don’t risk running into any issues with fines etc.The deregistration process is different in different parts of the UK so we have highlighted the differences so that regardless of where you are, you know exactly what you need to do.

Deregistering in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Deregistering your child must be in writing, preferably a letter sent by recorded delivery or delivered by hand. It needs to correctly identify your child and state clearly that the child is receiving education otherwise than at school. The letter should also be signed by a parent or those with parental responsibility.  It is as important to know what you do not need to include as what you do need to include. It can be very tempting to feel you need to justify your decision – but you don’t. You do not have to give a reason or discuss your decision with the school.

Once you have sent the letter your legal duty is complete! You are not obliged to chase the school up for confirmation or to inform the Local  Authority (LA) of your intent to Home Educate.  Some schools may say they want a meeting or more details from you. You do not have to give them or go to a meeting.

Once they have received your letter, the school has a legal obligation to pass your details to the Elective Home Education (EHE) Team at the LA. If the school refuses to remove your child’s name from the register then they are breaking the law. Here is a link to some example deregistration letters for England and Wales (The law in Ireland appears to be much the same as that in England and Wales although this example letter refers to the law in England and Wales only):
Click here to see an example deregistration letter for England and Wales

Deregistration in Scotland

 In Scotland the deregistration process is different in that you need to write to your Local Education Authority requesting consent to withdraw your child from school. You MUST include information about your intentions and how you will provide an education, without this it is likely that your request will be declined. You need to wait until you have consent to withdraw your child from school. The aim for this is within 6 weeks of the receipt of an application. Here is a link to an example deregistration or withdrawal letter for Scotland:

Click here to see an example withdrawal letter for Scotland

The deregistration letter is the first step in your new adventure!

We’ve been through it ourselves as home ed parents and we honestly do remember how scary it seems to be “going against” what the rest of society seems to be saying is “right”. Personally, I remember feeling like I was about to jump off a very high cliff into the unknown, but in actual fact, as soon as I had sent the letter in, I already felt better. I think it is the idea that the fear of doing something is actually worse than actually doing it! For me, sending in the letter felt empowering – like I was finally taking back my control over how what was happening with my child.  Once you have followed your legal obligation, you can breathe a huge sigh of relief and start to enjoy your home ed journey!

Next time we will look at support that is out there for all home educated families!

Please feel free to comment below to share your own deregistration story if you are already a home educated family, or to ask questions if you are just about to deregister.