If parents want their child to stay at their existing school pending the outcome of an appeal, this can sometimes be negotiated, however, there is no obligation on the local authority (LA) or school to accommodate this kind of arrangement.

A child’s name is removed from a school roll when an EHC plan is issued naming another school. When this happens the previous school will not have a duty to admit the child (in other words, let them go there) and the LA will not be required to secure provision at that school. This is because regulation 8(1)(b) of The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (the Registration Regulations) states that a pupil’s name can be removed from a school’s admission register when they have been registered as a pupil at another school (unless it is agreed that the pupil should be registered at more than one school).

Parents often query whether their child’s name can be added to a school roll without their agreement or without the child having joined the school. It can be. This is because all “pupils” must be on the school’s admission register and Regulation 5(3) of the Registration Regulations says a child counts as a pupil “from the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or has been notified, that the pupil will attend the school.”

In the case of a child with an EHC plan, IPSEA’s view is that this would be the point at which the LA issues a plan naming the school.

Unfortunately, none of this is affected by a parent appealing to the SEND Tribunal about an EHC plan.

If the LA and the child’s previous school (or another school that hasn’t been named in their plan) won’t agree to the child going there during an appeal, the LA will be entitled to expect that the child attends the school named in their EHC plan. They could even take action against the parent if the child does not attend. The only option open to parents in this situation is to inform the LA and the school named in the plan that they are going to temporarily make arrangements for their child’s education at home and request that their child’s name is removed from the school roll pending the outcome of the appeal. If the school named in the plan is a special school, you will need to get the LA's agreement to this. If a parent decides to do this they should make sure the LA is clear that they are only saying they will home educate during the appeal. Some parents will do this to avoid the possibility of the child having to move school multiple times in a short period e.g. from their previous school, to the school in the EHC plan they are appealing then, if the appeal is successful, again to another school. Choosing to home educate, even temporarily, is a big decision, see important information about it here.

Please note: If at any point the LA says it will send you an Attendance Order, or your receive one, you should check if you qualify for legal aid and speak to a criminal solicitor who is familiar with education cases.