Education is compulsory - school is optional

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Special Needs children in Special Schools

Although regulation 8 (1) (d) effectively allows deregistration on demand, it does not apply to children who have been placed by the LA in special schools. Regulation 8(2) provided that in this situation a child cannot be deregistered without the LA's consent. This restriction is meant to protect the interests of more vulnerable children by ensuring that their special needs are met. But using it to make it harder to home educate such children 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.

A sample letter which could be used in this instance is shown below.

Director of Education
Anytown Borough Council
Education Department
Full Address and Post Code


Re - (Child's name - date of birth - special school attending)

We are writing as the parents of the above named child, who is a child for whom the LA currently maintains a statement of special educational needs and who is a registered pupil at (name) Special School, (address).

After very careful consideration, and following amicable discussions with staff and teachers from the above named school, we have now decided to take full responsibility for providing for our son's education, 'otherwise than at school' in accordance with section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.

We therefore seek the consent of the Local Authority to allow (child's name) name to be deleted from the admission register of the school, in accordance with Education (Pupil Registration) Regulation 8(2) 2006. Once consent has been given we will provide our son/daughter with an efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, aptitude and to his special educational needs.

We look forward to consent for (child's name) name to be deleted from the admission register being given to the proprietor of (name) Special School in the very near future and request that confirmation of such action be forwarded to us within the next 14 days.

Yours etc


Education Otherwise frequently receives enquiries from parents about home education, often relating to how they should engage with their local authority. This has been particularly concerning for parents since the publication of the Elective Home Education Departmental Guidance for Local Authorities (EHEDGLA), in April 2019.

Education Otherwise, in conjunction with the Centre for Personalised Education charity, has obtained advice from a Queen's Counsel (or QC, a title given to a senior barrister) in order to help us provide accurate information to parents. The QC we instructed specialises in public law and education law, and is a former part-time Chair of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, and a current member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's panel of counsel. The QC also trains lawyers and others in education and public law.

Education Otherwise is revising its information in line with the advice received from the QC. The revised information will be posted on the website when ready. In the meantime, but also as a matter of good practice, parents should of course always obtain their own legal advice if they have concerns over any issues.