Deregistration From School

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If you are a Head Teacher who has been asked by a parent to delete the name of a child from the school register:

See DENI Circular 2010/07 and 2017/15 The relevant parts of the Circular are Section 8 and Code 3, and also Section 14 or "Removal of pupils’ names from the register" (vi).

If you are a parent who wishes to deregister your child:

If you choose to deregister your child in order to home-educate him or her, you must inform the Head Teacher of the school at which your child is a pupil. You do not need to inform the Education Board. You do not need to seek permission to deregister. You do not need to get approval of your plans for home-education.  The situation is a little more complicated if your child is registered at a Special School, where permission may be required.

We strongly recommend that you read this website thoroughly, and get in contact with other home-educating parents.

To deregister:

This sample letter of deregistration may be of use, it has been drafted according to recent experience and to be as clear as possible.  Please do let us know your experiences and any feedback.  Your own words are always best of course but this is a useful guide, keep it short, polite and clear.

Make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities and those of the Boards, you need not have a home visit or a meeting with the Board.  You can provide information to the Board in the format you prefer, for example in the form of an educational philosophy or 'ed phil'. The Boards vary in their approach, but advice is always to know the law, keep records of all interractions with the Board and always respond promptly to any concerns they may have.


Mr/Mrs <insert name>


<insert school name>

<Full Address and Post Code>


Dear <insert name>,

Re - <insert child's name - date of birth>

I am writing to inform you that <I/we> have decided to withdraw our son/daughter from school from <insert date / with immediate effect> in order to home educate <him/her>. Please delete <his/her> name from the register in accordance with DENI Circular 2017/15  and the Statutory Rules for NI 1974 [no.78], as <he/she> is now receiving education otherwise than at school. 

Yours etc...



A selection of useful template letters is to be found here, however make sure you adapt them to reflect the different legislation affecting Northern Ireland.


Some parents in Northern Ireland have been told (by schools or Education and Library Boards) that it is not legally possible to deregister a child from school. This is incorrect.  Once you have sent the above letter (get a reciept or send registered post) your child must be removed from the register with immediate effect on the date specified.

If you have been told that it is not possible to deregister a child in Northern Ireland:

Some parents in Northern Ireland have been told (often by EWOs) that it is not legally possible to deregister a child in Northern Ireland. We can only assume that the Education Board staff making this statement have misunderstood or been misinformed with regard to the law, and have not read Circular 2013/13, the Statutory Rules for NI 1974, Number 78, or DENI Circular 2010/07.

It appears that some confusion arose about the situation because of a DENI Circular which listed the circumstances under which a Head Teacher could remove a pupil from the school register. However the Circular in question was intended to clarify when a Head Teacher could initiate the removal of a name from the school register, and did not have anything to do with parental choice. It is also important to note that the function of a Circular is to interpret the law and provide advice - a Circular cannot change the law or enforce rules which are not provided for within the legislation.

A representative of BELB contacted HEdNI stating that our website information regarding deregistration was incorrect, and we asked him to provide evidence to support his assertion that a child could not be removed from school in NI for home-education. BELB provided a copy of the Circular, as well as copies of BELB home-education guidelines and a copy of the Statutory Rules for Northern Ireland 1974, Number 78.

HEdNI responded in writing to BELB, stating that the Circular was misleading and did not take account of deregistration initiated by a parent/guardian.

We also commented that BELB's own policy documents regarding home-education demonstrated a poor understanding of the law and of the nature of home-education.

Further, we pointed out that the Statutory Rules stated very clearly that when a parent informs a Principal that the name of a child should be removed from the register, the Principal has the obligation to do so, and that the document makes it quite clear that it is indeed for a parent to initiate the deregistration of a pupil and does not limit the circumstances under which that might occur.

We also commented on the necessity for clarity when discussing education at home and the importance of distinguishing between education provided at home or in another location by the Education Board (when a child is still on a school register), and education provided by a parent (when a child is "educated otherwise" - i.e. not on a school register). 

The above discussion took place in 2004/2005. BELB failed to respond further, however it has come to our attention that DENI has revised the information given on the Circular mentioned above.

DENI Circular 2010/07

The revised Circular provides accurate information for Head Teachers:


14. A pupil‟s name may be removed from a school‟s register only in the 

following circumstances: 

  Reason for Removal Date of Removal
i. Confirmation that pupil is registered at another school in Northern Ireland Day following last attendance
ii. Departure from Northern Ireland Day following last attendance
iii. Expulsion Day following expulsion
iv.  Death Day following death
v. Leaves school after having completed his/her compulsory education Day following last attendance
vi. Parent advises that child is being removed under Regulation 6(2) of the Registration and Attendance of Pupils Regulations (NI) [No.78], for example elective home education  Day following last attendance

Statutory Rules for Northern Ireland, 1974, Number 78 state:

6. (1) A parent shall not withdraw his child from a school at which the child is a registered pupil *except after acquainting the principal with his intention to do so.

(2) Upon the withdrawal from school of a registered pupil the principal shall furnish to the parent in respect of the pupil a certificate of attendance as in Form S.A.I. in the schedule and *shall at the same time delete from the General Register the name of the pupil*.

The Circular links to HEdNI for the SA1 form, we're not sure of the reasons for this but we have now been sent a copy of the form by our kindly solicitor and so link it here for your convenience.