Expected First Day Attendance
Some local authorities wrongly believe that a child becomes registered at a school by virtue of the school's being named on the statement of special needs. In fact, the child does not become a pupil until the "expected first day of attendance" which is the first day that the parent has agreed or notified the school that the child will attend.
A parent cannot be prosecuted for the child's truancy where the parent him or herself has not registered the child as a pupil
5. (3) For the purposes of this regulation only a pupil is a pupil at the school from the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or has been notified, that the pupil will attend the school
See "Contents of Admission Register Pupil Registration Regulations 2006
In 1960 the mother of four children of compulsory school age was convicted and fined by the justices on two occasions for refusing to comply with school attendance orders. At the Court of Appeal in 1961 Ormerod LJ upheld Pennycuick J stating that "under the Education Act, 1944 [the child ]cannot become a registered pupil until he has attended school and been entered on the register".
In the case of Enfield v Forsyth and Forsyth 1986 Gibson LJ said: "The parent cannot be prosecuted under s 39(1) [s 444 EA 1996] by reason of failure of the child to attend regularly at the school unless and until the child "is a registered pupil" at the school. The sanction for not sending the child to the school, so that the child becomes a registered pupil, is prosecution for the s 37(5) [s 443 EA 1996] offence.”
"The actions by the parent necessary to cause a child to become a registered pupil consist only of causing the child to attend the school as a pupil. Registration as a pupil is carried out by the proprietor of the school under s 80 [s 434 Education Act 1996] -- in this case, the local education authority itself. The proprietor must keep a register containing the prescribed particulars "with respect to all persons...who are pupils at the school".
2016 DfE Advice
DfE School Attendance Advice has this to say about "Expected First Day of Attendance":Schools must enter pupils on the admission register and attendance register from the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or been notified, that the pupil will attend the school. For most pupils the expected first day of attendance is the first day of the school year. If a pupil fails to attend on the agreed or notified date, the school must establish the reason for the absence and mark the attendance register accordingly.
Code Z: Pupil not on admission register
This code is available to enable schools to set up registers in advance of pupils joining the school to ease administration burdens. Schools must put pupils on the admission register from the first day that the school has agreed, or been notified, that the pupil will attend the school.