Deregistered today..... Awful school response

(18 Posts)
hamstered Tue 08-Jan-13 13:30:09

I deregistered my dd today. I hand delivered the standard letter copied out from the 'education otherwise' website. As far as I'm aware this is all I'm required to do so by law.
The schools response when I delivered the letter:
I'm not allowed to just take them out
My letter says the children will be receiving 'education otherwise' and does not specifically say home schooling or exactly what type if education they will be receiving.
I am required to give 10 days notice to remove them from school so they will not be removing their names from the register.
They have to contact the LEA to ensure I am complying with the law and LEA guidelines.
They will be contacting social services because they will want to make sure the children are not in danger and no harm is coming to them and that they are in a safe environment and receiving education.

The thing I'm worried about is the 'threat' of social services. I have a very small flat and our lifestyle at the moment is chaotic. My dd was bullied to the point of not wanting to live. She is stressed and highly strung at times though she is calmer than she was before and is playing mostly. I'm not educating right now and no routine is being adhered to.

Also I'm worried because I did have problems with my partner a while back which the school were aware of. The children were never affected. They are well cared for and the only unhappiness has been the bullying.

I'm aware what rights the LEA have with regards to contact etc thanks to many in this forum, but am not so clued up on what to expect from social services....
Help....

You need to get on some of the yahoo forums like HE UK they are a lot busier than here with some great HE'ers Who have experience dealing with LEA's and the like. You will get good advice there.

Viviennemary Tue 08-Jan-13 13:38:56

I don't have much advice to offer. But if your home life is chaotic is it totally wise to have taken your children out of school to home educate. Could you not have discussed the bullying issue with the school first. Or found another school where your DC would be happier.

RooneyMara Tue 08-Jan-13 13:49:39

The school sounds like they're in a total panic a nd are posturing furiously smile

Don't take any notice

It's been a while since I did this and can't remember what the actual rules are about it but they sound wrong, about most of it at least.

the LEA thing - it's not the same as social services afaik. All I had when I took ds1 out was a call then a visit from a really nice, very sound chap from Ed welfare and he just gave me some gumph to look at, said he might call back in a few months to check we were doing Ok, but though we were very chaotic at the time he didn't bat an eyelid.

I think you have very little to worry about and I hope this gives you the opportunity to get some groundwork in with dd in terms of feeling positive about her little life again x

RooneyMara Tue 08-Jan-13 13:52:34

oh and they are experienced mostly, the ones that come out to you, and they KNOW you'll be finding your feet right now.

The circs around her removal are important, if it's because she was unhappy at school, they will try their best to help you get back to firmer ground - they're not out to punish you, they will realise you did this for HER benefit, not because you need her to work in your shop/ are ashamed of injuries to her/ cannot be arsed to bring her to school.

Those are the people they are looking out for and you're clearly not one of them.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 08-Jan-13 13:53:24

Of course you are allowed to take them out if you have deregistered. I can't believe the lack of knowledge of people who should know the law, it beggars belief.
Social Services have nothing to do with education and unless there are issues of child welfare, nothing to do with them.
I would also advise seeking advice and info from the many H.ed organisations. You will find most listed or links on here. Good luck and don't let them bully you.
We gave a weeks notice as dd had no issues at school and wanted to say goodbye to friends. However, this isn't necessary and you can hand in the letter and never go back again.

RooneyMara Tue 08-Jan-13 13:57:58

I'm glad that is still the case More...

the thing iswhat will they do if she isn't in school, mark her absent, unauthorised...really? Then what? You've decided to educate her out of school. It's not their concern any more.

I have a feeling if you ring EW yourself for your area, ask to speak to someone for advice they will tell you the school can't do owt and you're doing nothing they'd frown at. County council should put you in touch.

maggi Tue 08-Jan-13 16:01:34

Hi there Hamstered

You can give as little notice as you please.

Don't panic. They just don't know the law that's all. They probably won't have come across anyone else doing this before so are just playing it by ear. They were most likely trying to think on their feet and social services just popped into their head because that's who they'd involve with many of their attendance issues. But you are no longer their issue. Their one obligation is to take you off register and to inform the local council that they have done so at your request.

If they do still get it wrong and inform social services, then social services will say "What's that got to do with us?"

You may get contact of some sort from an education welfare officer, which is perfectly normal. You can then decide whether you'd like their involvement or just say 'No Thanks'. Your council may have enough money to contact you annually or be the same as ours who cannot afford any staff so ours don't do anything these days.

Home educating is not a reason for social services to be involved.

Again, the fact that the school questioned the wording of your letter which said 'educating otherwise' just shows that they don't know the law well enough and they are at fault.

So as hard as it sounds, just relax........

SDeuchars Tue 08-Jan-13 16:07:23

^The schools response when I delivered the letter:
I'm not allowed to just take them out^

Wrong - it is always the responsibility of the parent to ensure a child is educated. If the parent decides to stop delegating to a (mainstream, not special) school, it can happen immediately the parent delivers the deregistration letter to the school.

My letter says the children will be receiving 'education otherwise' and does not specifically say home schooling or exactly what type if education they will be receiving.

The law also says "education ... otherwise". There is no legal entity of "home schooling" and the school does not need to know any details of what will happen next (a bit like Tesco not needing to know what you decide to start buying at Sainsbury - why are these people so unclued-up on the limit of their responsibility?).

I am required to give 10 days notice to remove them from school so they will not be removing their names from the register.

Wrong - when a child is deregistered, the school must remove the child's name from the register immediately. They then have 10 days to inform the LA about the deregistration. It is an offence for the headteacher to not remove the name from the register. Did they tell you this in writing? There is a letter on the EO website to use in such circumstances: DeregRefusalSampleLetter.pdf.

They have to contact the LEA to ensure I am complying with the law and LEA guidelines.

Wrong - it is always the responsibility of the parent to ensure a child is educated. Neither the LA nor the school has a policing responsibility.

They will be contacting social services because they will want to make sure the children are not in danger and no harm is coming to them and that they are in a safe environment and receiving education.

Wrong - the simple fact of deregistering is not a risk factor. If there was no reason to report you to SS before, there is no reason to report you just because you have deregistered. SS should not be interested - it is not their job to decide if a child is receiving education.

Saracen Tue 08-Jan-13 16:11:18

Oh hamstered, (((hugs))) what a nasty person you spoke to at the school! Not what you needed right now, I'm sure. Possibly they are being defensive since you are taking your child out of school due to unresolved bullying!! They will now be worrying about how this will make them look to the LA. With luck, when they contact the LA, the LA will set them straight about the deregistration procedure and inform them that you HAVE done it correctly and they DO have to remove your daughter's name from the register promptly. Most LAs get that correct even though schools may not. To be fair, the school may not have come across someone removing a child in order to HE before so I don't feel they should be expected to know the legalities right off the top of their heads. But they should be expected to have the common sense to go and establish what the law is, instead of making it up and spouting such ridiculous nonsense to you. Anyway, not your problem. You've done your bit correctly.

I can see why you'd be nervous about the school's threat to report you to Social Services. Unfortunately they can do that - malicious and unfounded referrals to SS do happen and the school may be trying to cover themselves over the bullying by painting you in the role of bad parent. SS is unlikely to take much notice of them: if the school had any genuine concerns about your child's welfare, they would have reported them at the time and not later. Home education in itself is not grounds for welfare concerns.

If the school follow through on the threat and do report you, SS may want to visit you. Unlike with the education department, cooperation with Social Services requests is usually advised. Home ed parents who have been subject to these malicious referrals tend to report that social workers are easily satisfied that the children are safe and well and close the books promptly.

I agree that you might want to join the busy HE-UK mailing list for more advice. There are some very knowledgeable people there who can reassure or advise you.

Good luck!!! Surround yourself with supportive people wherever possible and things will start looking up faster. I'm glad to hear that your daughter is starting to calm down and is having a break. Now she is safe from the bullying, and that must be a huge weight off her shoulders and yours.

FionaJNicholson Tue 08-Jan-13 22:01:37

have you specified in your letter that you will be home educating?

ToffeeWhirl Wed 09-Jan-13 09:01:49

Only just seen this - I'm really sorry you've had such an awful response, hamstered. The school are just rubbish in every way, it seems. I agree that they are probably panicking because you are taking assertive action thanks to their complete lack of action with regard to your DD being bullied.

You have already had excellent advice from the experienced home edders above, but just to show you what can happen if you have a good school who know the law: I emailed my DS1's headmaster explaining why I was deregistering DS and attaching a copy of my deregistration letter. I received a very pleasant reply the same day, accepting my decision and wishing me and my DS good luck in the future. The head also asked me to send a signed letter in addition to the emailed one.

That was it! No mention of social services. No rubbish about my DS having to do another 10 days of school.

I suspect that once they contact the LEA, they will realise what a load of tosh they are talking and stop bothering you.

I'm really sorry you are having such a difficult time.

CatKitson Wed 09-Jan-13 11:51:55

Im so sorry to hear this, Hamstered. You have had some really sound advice, so nothing to add there.

If it were me, I might telephone social services myself, and get in first, explaining that the head had threatened you with this after you submitted a lawful "education otherwise" letter, and also speak to the LEA.

Try not to panic. Im glad your dd is now feeling less stressed. My first months h.e-ing were a bit chaotic, but you do get into a routine. The LEA do know you won't have found your stride yet.

Again, so so sorry to hear things didn't go so well.

julienoshoes Wed 09-Jan-13 16:03:32

I've sorted it directly with the EHE advisor at the LA.
;)

ToffeeWhirl Wed 09-Jan-13 16:17:23

That sounds promising, julienoshoes smile.

hamstered Thu 10-Jan-13 22:48:39

Hi stichatemysleep I have signed up to yahoo forums now thanks! I'm glad though that I have this thread here. My daughter was bullied to the point of not wanting to live and I wanted to find threads of parents with similar problems. Google led me here which in turn led me to read about home education and also to meet lots of lovely parents who where already doing it. I deregistered on Monday due to initially reading a thread here on mumsnet about bullying.

Thanks RooneyMara and morethanpotatoprints the school were in a total panic. I don't think anyone had done this before and they didn't see me coming!

maggie sDeuchars thank you! the school deffinitely got it wrong and sigh I didn't :-)

Saracen! ((hugs)) back. Thanks for your lovely reply. I am joining the HE-UK mailing list and yes I shall surround myself with supportive people ;-)

ToffeeWhirl I emailed the school with a link to the Local Education Authority Guidelines to Elective Home Education and referred them to the specific section which specifically stated that if a parent notifies the school that they will be withdrawing their child to educate them otherwise then the school must remove that childs name from the roll. I didn't hear back yet....

dear Cat thanks for your support it means alot and I'm relieved to say that julienoshoes an absolute angel has called all the relevant people and sorted it all out.
Thank you Julie for talking to the LEA and making her aware of the difficult time me and my DD's have been having with the school and giving me breathing space before they contact me.... xxx

musicposy Fri 11-Jan-13 12:04:17

Julie don't ever leave this forum. You are an angel flowers

hamstered I'm so glad it is sorted. The heavy handedness and ignorance of the law with some of these schools is gobsmacking.

Love the analogy about Tescos not needing to know about how you plan to shop in Sainsburys! SDeuchars I will remember that one grin

OP, wishing you all the best on your home ed journey. I hope you find a lot of your troubles and stresses come to an end once school is out of the picture. That happens for so many people. smile

CatKitson Sat 12-Jan-13 09:39:48

Julie flowers Im really touched that you helped Hamstered in such a practical way. Im so happy it is sorted out.

Hamstered, Im always around if you need any help with curriculum etc, or even just a bit of cheerleading. You are doing the very best you can, and it is more than enough.

smile

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