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Pupil Exclusions

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL15415, tabled on 29 April 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government who is legally responsible for a pupil's education when they are off-rolled.

Answered on

10 May 2019

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that it is the duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age. The child must receive an efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, aptitude and any special needs he may have, by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis. Under section 437(1) of the Act local authorities must intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education. If a local authority is not satisfied that the education being provided is suitable, they should serve a school attendance order. If the parent requests the local authority to revoke the order because the parent believes they have arranged education that would be suitable, and the authority refuses, the parent has a right under section 442 to ask the Secretary of State for Education to decide the issue.

The law is clear that a pupil’s name can only be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended.

Pupils leave school rolls for many reasons including permanent exclusion, moving to another school, or changes of circumstances (as when a pupil moves to a new area). All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register.

Statutory guidance on exclusions is also clear that ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded.

Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise.