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FAQ Northern Ireland

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My understanding is:

The law in Northern Ireland appears to be much the same as that in England and Wales; the legislation is almost identical. There is nothing in NI law that requires permission for deregistration. The experiences of individual home educators seems to concur with this.

There are parents who have deregistered a child from schools in all five of the Education and Library Board areas without any difficulty.

Some parents have been told by Board employees that pupils cannot be legally deregistered in Northern Ireland, but there appears to be no legal basis for this claim.

NB: do not use my deregistration letter in its current form as the law referred to applies to England and Wales only.

However, a word of caution. From my experience of lawyers in other parts of the UK, should you need a lawyer you should expect them not to have much idea as to how to represent you. They will have little idea about the legality of home education. This will be especially true in Northern Ireland as there have been to my knowledge no cases brought before the courts within the province.

The Law in Northern Ireland

Education and Libraries Northern Ireland Order 1986 SI 1986/594
Section 45

1. The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Schedule 13 Enforcement of duty imposed by article 45
Part 1

1(1) Where it appears to a board that a parent of a child of compulsory school age in its area is failing to perform the duty imposed on him by article 45(1), the board shall serve on the parent a notice requiring him, within such period not being less than fourteen days from the service of the notice, to satisfy the board that the child is, by regular attendance or otherwise, receiving efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

2(1) Where, at any time whilst a school attendance order is in force with respect to a child, the parent of the child makes an application to the board by whom the order was made requesting ... that the order be revoked on the ground that arrangements have been made for the child to receive otherwise than at school education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have, the board shall amend or revoke the order in compliance with the request unless it is of the opinion that - ...

(d) no satisfactory arrangements have been made for the education of the child otherwise than at school.

Further Help

A home education support group for Northern Ireland can be found here

There is also a Yahoo mailing list here

The Northern Ireland Department of Education Can be found here

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Link to Scholastic website

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