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Before you start to home educate your child, it is necessary to formally de-register them from school, or else the school may instigate truancy proceedings against you as their absence from school will be marked Ďunauthorisedí. De-registering a child from a school in Northern Ireland that is not a Special School is very straightforward. You need to write to the Head Teacher of the school that your child attends, telling them that you are exercising your right to educate your child otherwise than at school, as stated in Section 45 of the Education and Libraries Board Northern Ireland Order SI 1986/594. If you send in the de-registration letter on the childís last day at school, do not say that you intend to home-educate, or are going to home-educate, as an obstructive ELB may decide to instigate proceedings on the basis that there is a period of time between school education and home education when no education is taking place.

A sample letter might read:

Dear Mr(s) HeadTeacher

My husband and I, as parents of Joe Bloggs, a registered pupil at your school (DOB 13/06/90) have decided to exercise our right to educate our son otherwise than at school, as conferred to us in Section 45 of the Education and Libraries Board Northern Ireland Order SI 1986/594.

He is being educated at home full-time and therefore not attending school as from today. We would appreciate the prompt removal of his name from the school register, and written confirmation that this has been done.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Bloggs

The school may tell you that they canít de-register your child without permission from the ELB, or that itís not legal to home-educate; they are simply wrong. Schools are often surprisingly ignorant of Education law!