Two boys stand in front of a giant illustrated map of Mexico

How to deregister your kids from school to travel

One of the biggest things we had to untangle during the planning phase of our family gap year was how schooling would work for the boys during our time away. The boys were were 7 and 9 when we left the UK in October 2023. How do you deregister your kids from school to allow you to travel with them?

One of the things we were asked by lots of different people was whether we would be fined for taking the boys out of their UK primary school. The answer to this is a definitive no!

We all know that you can be fined for taking your kids out of school in the UK for a short holiday. However if you are travelling for a longer period you will need to deregister them instead. Once they are deregistered you will not be fined for taking them travelling.

How do you deregister your children from school in the UK to travel?

This is a much easier process than I had envisaged. You simply have to notify their school of your intention to deregister them and their planned end date at the school. And that’s it! The school will then notify the local authority – there is nothing further for you to do. 

This is such a straightforward process that I called the admissions team at our local authority several times. Just to confirm that there was nothing further we needed to do!

Several months after we left the UK we received a call from the local authority asking us to confirm where the children were currently enrolled. We simply stated that we were travelling overseas with them – doing a mix of home-schooling and enrolment in international school. This was enough to satisfy them.

Whilst we weren’t questioned on the details of how and what we were teaching them, I did have this info ready. I know that some local authorities will push for further information on this.

Working with school pre-departure

We were incredibly lucky that the boys primary school were really supportive of our plans; we let them know over a year in advance that we planned to travel with the boys the following academic year so we had plenty of time to prep with the school.

We had meetings with the Head, both class teachers and the school’s Maths lead to go through the Year 3 and 5 curriculum, what the priorities should be for the boys and how we could support their learning on the road. All were really helpful and provided us with lots of information on the topics that the boys would be missing and key concepts in maths and english that they would have been covering in school in their year groups. 

This really helped us to hone in on what we wanted to focus on in terms of home schooling.

School even re-established the online class blogs that they had used during COVID so that they boys could post pictures, videos and updates on their travels for the rest of the class to see, and their classmates could respond with questions and comments. This was a really lovely way for the boys to keep in touch!

Re-applying for a place at school

As the boys will be returning to school at the start of the next academic year we were advised by the local authority to re-apply for their place after 1 May, ready for their return in September. This requires us to complete the fairly straightforward application form for applying for a school place during the academic year.

Will the boys still have a place in their school?

This is the other question we get a lot! We are lucky that the boys attend an undersubscribed school (which also happens to be our local catchment school). As we had planned to travel long-term with them way back before they started school, this was something we had considered before choosing a primary school for them. We wanted a school that they were likely to get back in to if we decided to take them out for a year/term.

Obviously this isn’t the case for everyone. If you’re considering travelling for a longer period with school-age children you’d need to speak to your school directly to find out how feasible it might be for them to re-enrol.

Planning a family gap year or long-term family travel?

If you need inspiration on where to go, then check out some of our other posts below. We also posted all the info on Enrolling the kids in international school during a family gap year here.

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