Can I remove this pupil from the roll?

Removing pupils from the school roll has been a frequent issue in the media recently. Unsurprisingly, therefore, we are often asked by schools whether they can lawfully remove a pupil from the roll. The rules are relatively straightforward.

The circumstances in which a school can lawfully take this action are limited and specific and are found in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, regulation 8. Where the child is of compulsory school-age they can be removed from the roll if:

  • The school is substituted with another by the LA in accordance with the requirements of a school attendance order.
  • The pupil has been registered at another school (unless it is agreed that the pupil should be registered at more than one school).
  • The pupil is registered at more than one school, but has ceased to attend the school in question and a school at which the pupil is registered has given consent to the removal.
  • Written notification has been received from the parents that the pupil will be receiving education otherwise than at school.
  • The pupil has ceased to attend and no longer lives a reasonable distance from the school.
  • Leave of absence has been approved for a holiday and (i) the pupil does not return within 10 days of the date of their due return; (ii) there is no good reason for their continued absence such as illness and (iii) the school and LA have carried out reasonable enquiries as to the whereabouts of the pupil and have failed to ascertain where the pupil is. All three elements must be satisfied.
  • The pupil has been deemed unfit by the school medical officer and is unlikely to return before ceasing to be of compulsory school age and neither the pupil nor his parents have indicated an intention to continue at the school thereafter.
  • The pupil has been continually absent for a period of not less than 20 days and (i) the absence has been unauthorised; (ii) there is no good reason for the continued absence such as illness and (iii) the school and LA must have carried out reasonable enquiries as to the whereabouts of the pupil and have failed to ascertain where the pupil is. All three elements must be satisfied.
  • The a pupil is serving a custodial sentence of more than 4 months and the school does not have reasonable grounds to believe the pupil will return at the end of their sentence.
  • The pupil has died.
  • The pupil will cease to be of compulsory school age before the school next meets and has indicated that he will cease to attend the school.
  • The pupil attends a school other than a maintained school, an Academy, a city technology college or a city college for the technology of the arts and has ceased to be a pupil of the school.
  • The pupil has been permanently excluded and there is no outstanding appeal in relation to the exclusion.
  • The pupil has been admitted to the school to receive nursery education and on completing that education has not been transferred to reception, or higher, class at the school.

There is a much shorter list of specific circumstances that applies to children who are not of compulsory school age. Removal of a pupil from the roll will be lawful if:

  • The pupil has ceased to attend the school.
  • The pupil has been continually absent for a period of not less than 20 days and (i) the absence has been unauthorised; (ii) there is no good reason for the continued absence such as illness and (iii) the school and the LA have carried out reasonable enquiries as to the whereabouts of the pupil and have failed to ascertain where the pupil is. All three elements must be satisfied.
  • The pupil has died.
  • The pupil has been admitted to the school to receive nursery education and on completing that education has not been transferred to reception, or higher, class at the school.
  • The pupil has been permanently excluded and there is no outstanding appeal to the exclusion decision.

At a time when the removal from the school roll is highly contentious, it is important to follow both the letter and the spirit of these regulations.

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