Services for children

Guidance for off rolling children who have gone abroad

COVID-19 schools operational guidance - GOV.UK (

We remind schools to always follow the DFE off-rolling regulations prescribed as the grounds on which the name of a pupil of compulsory school age shall be deleted from the admission register. Please see the regulation 8 codes.

This guidance does not apply to children who are still in the UK but not attending school; these pupils should be treated as an attendance issue and must remain on roll. Please discuss these cases with your Link Attendance Officer.

Where schools have pupils who are currently abroad and experiencing difficulties in travelling back to the UK, we would ask that you encourage families to return to the UK as soon as possible in every instance. Unless justified, we cannot hold places for extended periods of time if the pupils are not in the UK, and where we have waiting lists for school places.

School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age and it is a priority to ensure that as many children as possible regularly attend school. Parents travelling abroad should bear in mind the impact on their child’s education which may result from any requirement to quarantine or isolate upon return.

All travellers arriving into the UK will need to isolate and get a PCR test by ‘day two’ after arrival. They may end their isolation once they receive a negative result. If the result is positive, they should continue to isolate and follow rules on isolation following a positive test. Unvaccinated arrivals aged over 18 will follow the existing, more onerous, testing and isolation regime. All Red list arrivals will enter quarantine.

The off-rolling process must be made clear to parents before any decision is taken, so that they fully understand that in choosing not to return to the UK and resume statutory school attendance, that the place will become available to offer out to another child. The parent must also be advised that the onus for providing evidence supporting the reason for absence is on them, and that the school is not obliged to accept it if they feel it is insufficient. We would advise that you put this information in writing to the parent, if you have not already done so, to allow the parent to make an informed decision on returning.

Please fully consider each case on its own merit; taking into account whether the country they are travelling from is on the red list, any evidence the family have provided to support the reason for travel and your own investigations into the difficulty in returning. Please bear in mind that families travelling back from a red list country will need to quarantine in a government approved hotel, the cost of which may be prohibitive.

Pupils with an EHCP

For pupils with an EHCP (in a mainstream school), please follow this same process with the following addition steps:

  • Please ensure your SENCO is informed and contacts the SEN case worker at the Local Authority so they aware of the pupil’s absence.
  • If you do decide that the pupil will be removed from roll, you must inform the SEN team so that the plan can be ceased. (If you fail to do so, the plan will remain in place, and you will remain the named school)

If you decide to keep the pupil on roll, we recommend that you write to the parent (email and hard copy where possible) advising that to keep their child on roll they must:

Provide the following information:

  • The address at which their child is currently staying
  • The details of the adult responsible for their child’s care while they are staying at this address
  • The date by which they expect them to be back in the UK
  • Keep in regular touch with the school (we would advise at least weekly).
  • Be aware that the absence will be reviewed regularly and if the justifications for keeping the pupil on roll no longer apply, the school will write to the parent again advising them of this and providing the date on which the pupil will be off rolled if they have not returned.

Where a child is required to self-isolate or quarantine because of COVID-19 in accordance with relevant legislation or guidance published by UKHSA or the DHSC, they should be recorded as code X (not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus). Where they are unable to attend because they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should be recorded as code I (illness).

For pupils abroad who are facing challenges to return, code X is unlikely to apply. In some specific cases, code Y (unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) will apply. Further guidance about the use of codes is provided in the school attendance guidance.

Remote education

Where appropriate, you should support those who need to self-isolate to work or learn from home if they are well enough to do so. Schools subject to the remote education temporary continuity direction are required to provide remote education to pupils covered by the direction where their attendance would be contrary to government guidance or legislation around COVID-19.

You should maintain your capacity to deliver high-quality remote education across this academic year, including for pupils who are abroad, and facing challenges to return due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, for the period they are abroad.

The remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school.

You should work collaboratively with families and put in place reasonable adjustments so that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can successfully access remote education.

Full expectations for remote education, support and resources can be found on the get help with remote education service.

Education recovery (GOV.UK)

Should you decide, after considering all the evidence, to take the pupil off roll, please follow the procedure below:

  • Write to the parent (email and hard copy where possible) advising the parent of the date the pupil will be removed from roll if they have not returned. This date should be at least ten days from the date of the letter to allow them time to return. It should also remind the parent that if their child is removed from roll they will need to apply for a new place for them, and there is no guarantee they will be able to return to their current school. Please include the Ealing Council In-Year Admissions Guidance for Parents in this correspondence.
  • Forward a copy of the letter sent to the parent to on the day it is sent, along with a completed Reasonable Enquiry form Please make sure you provide as much information as possible and have completed all relevant fields. The case will be jointly held with your Link Attendance Officer as an attendance issue until you advise that the pupil has been removed from roll. We will also contact the parent to reiterate the seriousness of the situation.
  • If the pupil has not returned by the date advised in your previous letter to the parent, and you take the decision to off roll, please write to the parent advising this has been done and forward the letter to your Link Attendance Officer.
  • The Regulation 8 code most applicable in this situation is:
    8.—(1) (e) except in the case of a boarder, that he has ceased to attend the school and no longer ordinarily resides at a place which is a reasonable distance from the school at which he is registered;

For a full list of off-rolling codes please see this link - regulation 8 codes.

Ealing Council In-year admissions guidance for parents

If your child is in Reception to Year 11 and is out of school or you wish to apply for a transfer to a different school in Ealing you will need to complete an in-year application.

Making your application

You can apply for up to 3 schools in Ealing. If your child is out of school, we strongly advise that you apply to at least one school that has vacancies at the time of your application. Vacancies are published online and are updated weekly during term time. To make your application and check the latest vacancies please go to:

Once you have applied you will receive instant confirmation by email that your application has been received. If this is not received it means that your application has not been completed, you can contact the admissions team for advice if you are having difficulties completing your application online.


School places are offered weekly (during term time only). All applications received before 4pm on a Friday will be included in the following week's allocations. You will be sent a letter by email within 10 school days of making an application confirming the outcome. Please be aware that updates cannot be given by the admissions team until after your application has been processed and the outcome confirmed in your letter.

School offers

Places are offered strictly in line with the school’s admissions criteria and can only be made where a school has available places. If a place can be offered at one of your preferred schools, you will receive a letter by email to confirm. You will be asked to respond within 10 days to confirm if you are accepting or declining the place. Once accepted the school will contact you to arrange a start date, which is expected to be within 2 school weeks.

No offer possible

Where no offer is possible to any of the schools on the application you will be placed on the waiting list and advised of your right of appeal in your outcome letter.

Children that are out of school

Where an Ealing resident child is out of school and not eligible for a place at any of the schools on the application, the child will be allocated a place at the nearest Ealing school or Academy with a vacancy within 4 school weeks where possible. You may at any time update your application to include a school that has available places.

If the place is declined and your child remains out of school for 6 school weeks you will again be allocated a place at the nearest Ealing school or Academy with a vacancy. If your child is not admitted to the allocated school and you have not made alternative arrangements for their education the LA will seek to issue a school attendance order to name the allocated school. Failure to comply with a school attendance order is a criminal offense.


In-Year Admissions 0208 825 6339 (Mon to Fri 9am-12pm)

Was this page useful? 
Last updated: 06 Apr 2022