What is Off Rolling?
Off rolling is where a school either de-registers a child against the wishes of the parents or, more often (strongly) advises a family to home educate to avoid permanent exclusion.
Sometimes families are offered unsuitable alternative provision, such as People Referral Units (PRUs) or other conditions which make the continued attendance at the school either impossible or completely unpalatable.
Some schools have been known to force de-registration to remove children expected to score poorly in examinations in order to improve their OFSTED assessment and league table position. Such behaviour is serious and should be immediately reported to the local authority along with any evidence you have. Keep original evidence as such cases can become legal issues. If your child has been forced out of school in this way, either you or your child may have grounds for legal action against the school or local authority and should take legal advice if you cannot settle the matter amicably.
Having said this, we believe off rolling is comparatively rare, although some schools in some locations may be making extensive use of this strategy.
Where a child loses his or her right to attend a school the local authority must (since no one may be denied an education ECHR P1 A2) offer alternative provision. This usually comes in one of three forms. Another school, a PRU or EOTAS.
Where a child has significant special needs, an alternative school may be a special school, although such places are usually in high demand. Where a child has significant challenging behaviour which alternative local schools may feel unable to meet the child’s needs or keep their other pupils and staff safe, finding another school may be impossible.
Pupil Referral Unit
A Pupil Referral Unit may be offered where the child’s behaviour is such that specialist care and attention to the child’s behaviour is warranted. Such places are in demand and one may not be available.
Education Other Than at School
This is normally intended for long term sick children, though again, children with severe behavioural challenges may be offered this form of provision as a last resort. In this form of education, the Local Authority employ tutors who regularly come to the home and tutor the child who is then expected to undertake other ‘home work’ alone between visits. EOTAS is not the same thing as home education.
With EOTAS, the Local Authority remain responsible for the day to day education of the child while the parents will be expected to cooperate with the tutors.
While parents will normally be consulted over what ongoing provision will be offered, in practice usually little choice is available.
Ultimately, should the parents reject the local authorities final offer they will be regarded as having de-registered the child. At that point they will be regarded as home educating. We strongly suggest that parents avoid this situation as parents are rarely well prepared to successfully home educate in circumstances in which they did not freely chose to do so.
De-registered without Consent
If you feel however that your child has been de-registered without your consent or if you have been deceived about what support you were to expect, you should first contact your local authority without delay. Schools absolutely should not pressure families to de-register their children, any attempt by a school to do so should be reported to the local authority.
Failing that you should contact a local lawyer who specialises in education issues.