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On 1 September 2016 new statutory guidance was introduced to enable us to implement the legal duty for children missing education (CME).

These guidance notes should be used in conjunction with existing local procedures and codes of practice relating to child protection and safeguarding, special educational needs and school exclusions.

Schools are permitted to remove compulsory-school-aged children from roll on the limited grounds set out in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended by the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016.

Removing a child from the school roll is a very important decision. Children who fall out of the education system are likely to have poor outcomes and may be exposed to increased risk of harm. Schools must follow correct procedures to ensure that they do not breach their legal and safeguarding duties.

Pupils must not be removed from the school roll without authorisation from the headteacher or other designated person.

Effective information sharing between parents, schools and local authorities is critical to ensuring that all children of compulsory school age are safe and receiving a suitable education. Where there is concern for a child’s welfare, this should be referred to Derbyshire’s Social Care department via Starting Point. If there is reason to suspect a crime has been committed, the police should also be involved. Where there is a concern that a child’s safety or wellbeing is at risk, it is essential to take action without delay. 

Changes from 1 September 2016

In September 2016, the Department for Education updated the statutory guidance to reflect the 2016 amendments to the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) 2006 Regulations.

All schools (including academies and independent schools) must notify their local authority when they are about to remove a pupil's name from the school admission register under any of the fifteen grounds listed in the 2006 regulations (as amended). This duty does not apply when a pupil's name is removed from the admission register at standard transition points - when the pupil has completed the final year of education normally provided by that school unless the local authority requests that such returns are to be made.

When removing a pupil's name, the notification to the local authority must include:

  • the full name of the pupil
  • the full name and address of any parent with whom the pupil normally resides
  • at least one telephone number of any parent with whom the pupil normally resides
  • the full name and address of the parent who the pupil is going to live with and the date the pupil is expected to start living there, if applicable
  • the name of the pupil's other or future school and the start date or expected start date there, if applicable/known
  • the ground in regulation 8 under which the pupil's name is to be removed from the admission register.

Schools must make reasonable enquiries to establish the whereabouts of the child jointly with the CME officer, before deleting the pupil's name from the register if the deletion is under regulation 8(1), sub-paragraphs (f)(iii) and (h)(iii).

All schools must also notify the local authority within five days of adding a pupil's name to the admission register at a non-standard transition point. The notification must include all the details contained in the admission register for the new pupil. This duty does not apply when a pupil's name is entered in the admission register at a standard transition point or at the start of the first year of education normally provided by that school - unless the local authority requests that such returns are to be made.

Removal from roll

In August 2017 the Department for Education (DfE) Guidance Common Transfer File added two new types of partial Common Transfer file (CTF) to help schools meet the new obligations placed on them by the Pupil Registration regulations and the DfE guidance for Children Missing Education.

  1.  “CME – Leavers (CML)” should be used when a pupil leaves or is about to leave the school outside normal transfer phase.
  2. “CME – Joiners (CMJ)” should be used when a pupil joins the school outside the normal transfer phase.

Derbyshire intends to use these files as the DfE suggests to meet this requirement.  It is therefore very important for schools to complete these notifications at the earliest opportunity prior to the deletion or within five days of adding the pupil’s name to the admissions register. 

Common Transfer Files (CTF) will continue to be forwarded as appropriate. However ‘leavers and joiners’ files will now need to be completed for the prescribed grounds.

Prescribed grounds under which pupils can be taken off-roll and notification to the Local Authority Education (Pupil Registration)

(England) Regulations 2006 – Regulation 8 sets out the criteria under which compulsory school-aged children can be removed from school roll, summarised as follows:

8 (1) (a) The local authority is approving a change of provision for a pupil subject to a School Attendance Order (SAO)

A pupil who is subject to an SAO must not be removed from roll unless the local authority has substituted the school named on the SAO with a new school or revoked the order on the grounds that suitable education has been arranged otherwise than at school.

8 (1) (b) The pupil has been registered at another school (no dual-roll agreement, 8 (1) (a) does not apply, Reg 9 does not apply - dual registration of a child with no fixed abode)

A pupil who becomes registered at a new school can be removed from the roll of the previous school from the last date of attendance.  The pupil must not be deleted from roll until the new school placement and date of registration have been confirmed.

8 (1) (c) The pupil is on dual roll and ceases to attend one of the schools (sub-paragraph (i) or (m) or Reg 9 does not apply - dual registration of a child with no fixed abode

A pupil registered at more than one school under a dual-roll arrangement can be removed from the roll of one of the schools providing the other school is in agreement.

8 (1) (d) The parent(s) have elected to home-educate (EHE) and 8 (1) (a) does not apply

Parents have a right to withdraw their child from a school in favour of home education. The child must not be removed from the school roll until the parent has given written notification of their decision to educate the child at home (parents sometimes use this option when there are problems for their child at school. It would not be appropriate for school staff to encourage EHE as a solution to difficult issues as this is unlikely to be in the best interests of the child). The school - not the parent - has a legal duty to notify the local authority when deleting a child from roll under this criterion. Where schools have concerns regarding a parent choice to home educate they should consult with the EHE service.

8 (1) (e) Except in the case of a border the pupil has ceased to attend and is no longer residing within reasonable distance to the school

Pupils can be deleted from roll when the distance to school is deemed unreasonable by the local authority, and the parent is not maintaining the school place. A distance of over eight miles from the home address measured along the shortest available route would be considered unreasonable by the local authority.

School must obtain details of the child’s new address and refer to the CME Officer to enable a referral to the receiving local authority and reduce the risk of the child falling out of the education system.

Where a parent has notified the school that the child is leaving the country and the school has reason for concern, such as a history of poor attendance or safeguarding issues, the parent should be asked to provide proof of travel.

The school needs to notify the local authority when removing a pupil from roll whose onward education has not been able to be confirmed. CME Referral Form.

8 (1) (f) The pupil has failed to return following authorised leave of absence exceeding 10 school days for the purpose of a holiday

A pupil who has failed to return following extended authorised leave of absence can be removed from roll providing all three of the following three conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The pupil has failed to attend the school within the ten school days immediately following the expiry of the period for which such leave was granted.
  2. There are no reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend due to sickness or any unavoidable cause.
  3. Both the school and the Local Authority have jointly made reasonable enquiries and failed to ascertain the child’s whereabouts.

Referrals should be made via the CME Referral Form.

8 (1) (g) The pupil is certified too ill to pursue education

This will apply on the very rare occasion when a pupil has a terminal or serious medical condition and is deemed medically unfit to continue with education. An appropriate medical professional will need to certify that that the pupil is unlikely to be in a fit state of health to return to school before ceasing to be of compulsory school age. Removal from roll is not permitted if there is any indication from parent or pupil of the intention to continue to attend the school post compulsory school age.

The school is legally required to notify the local authority when removing a pupil from roll under this criterion. Please consult with the Out of School Tuition Service prior to removal.

8 (1) (h) The pupil has been missing from school for 20 days or more continuously

Schools may remove missing children from roll providing all three of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1.  At no time was the absence during that period authorised by the school.
  2. There are no reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend due to sickness or any unavoidable cause.
  3. Both the school and the local authority have jointly made reasonable enquiries and failed to ascertain the child’s whereabouts.

During the first ten days of absence, schools must make reasonable attempts to locate the child and facilitate his/her safe return to school. Enquiries should include writing to the parents, attempting to make telephone contact with parents, appropriate friends and relatives, speaking to other children and parents and home visits.

Schools should refer to the CME officer, on day 11 of the child’s absence. The CME officer will support the school’s efforts to locate the child.

8 (1) (i) The pupil has been given a custodial sentence for four months or longer as a result of a final order

A child who is taken into custody for four months or more as a result of a final order can be taken off roll, unless the school has reason to believe that he/she will return to the school at the end of the period.

Schools must not de-register a pupil who is remanded in custody and awaiting a trial or hearing at a future date. Schools must consult with the local manager of the Youth Offending Service before removing a child from roll.

8 (1) (j) Death of a pupil

In the tragic circumstance that a pupil dies, the school should remove the child from roll upon notification of the death.

8 (1) (k) The pupil is above compulsory school age

This applies to Year 11 pupils who do not wish to return to the school in the following academic year. The official school leaving date for Year 11 pupils is the last Friday in the month of June, in the school year in which they turn 16.

This may also apply to the small minority of pupils who have been moved into a lower year group but have reached the end of their official school-leaving age. Such pupils must be given an opportunity to confirm their intention to remain on roll.

School-leavers under this category who are at risk of not being in education, employment or training (NEET) should be referred to their link personal advisor.

Or this applies to year 11 pupils that do not meet the entry requirements for admission to the school's sixth form.

8 (1) (l) The pupil is leaving a school that is not maintained by the government

This relates to pupils leaving the roll of a school in the independent sector. It is not relevant to government-maintained schools, academies and free schools in Derbyshire.

8 (1) (m) The pupil has been permanently excluded

The permanent exclusion of a pupil does not take effect until:

  • expiry of independent review panel deadline or decision
  • parent written confirmation that won’t be applying for IRP.

Schools must notify the local authorities' inclusion office by the first day of the exclusion. 

The inclusion office will advise school of the date they are able to remover the pupil’s names from school roll.

8 (1) (n) and 8(3) Nursery child leaving school

This applies to children who have been admitted to a school to receive nursery education and are not transferring to a higher class at the school.

Although it is not a legal requirement to upload a CTF to the new school for children who have not reached compulsory school age (the start of the school term following their fifth birthday), it is good practice to do so.

8 (1) (o) State-funded boarding schools where fees are unpaid

If fees remain unpaid at the end of the school term for which they are due schools must check with Derbyshire’s School Admissions and Transport Team to see if an application has been made for another school. If not, a CME referral should be made via the CME referral form.

Creating CMJ and CML files in RM Integris

Guidance on how to create CMJ and CML files in RM Integris is available on the RM Integris training section of S4S.

Also see