The law is clear that a pupil’s name can only be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended. Where a school issues an exclusion, there is a formal process that must be followed. ‘Unofficial’ or ‘informal’ exclusions, such as sending pupils home to ‘cool off’, are unlawful regardless of whether they are done with the agreement of parents or carers and regardless of the age of the pupil. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded.
Following media coverage of inappropriate off-rolling last summer, the Department wrote to all secondary schools, reminding them of the rules surrounding exclusion.
Ofsted recently issued guidance to inspectors, reminding them to be alert to this matter. The guidance makes clear that instances of off-rolling should be discussed with the school during the inspection, and should inform the evaluation of the school.