Firstly, let’s talk legalities.
Elective Home Education: Legal Stuff
Parents have a responsibility to provide an education for their children.
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states:
“The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable
a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
b) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
The duties of parents
It is the duty of each parent
* to ensure that your school age child is educated
* to delegate that duty to a school, or carry it out yourself
* to ensure that the education provided is efficient and full time
* to ensure the education is suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude
If your child has Special Educational Needs (SEN) the education must meet their needs
The child does not have be taught according to the National Curriculum.
Families are not obliged to produce examples of work for inspection or meet anyone representing the Local Authority. However, it’s not a bad idea to be obliging where possible. You can choose to meet, or submit your term’s planning, or neither.
The duties of Local Authorities
The law requires Local Authorities to act if it appears that a parent is not providing a “full time”, “efficient” and “suitable” education, which takes account of “their age, ability and aptitude and any special needs that the child may have”
The council can make checks on the child’s education.
The council can make an informal enquiry to check the child is getting a suitable education at home. The LA can serve a School Attendance Order if they think the child needs to be taught at school.
The Local Authority also has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children – including children who are home educated (section 175 Education Act 2002)
No Duty to Ensure EHE is satisfactory
If and only if it appears to the LA that a child is not receiving suitable education, the LA shall serve a formal notice on the parent under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996
Prior to the formal notice, the law does not require the LA to “be satisfied”. The LA is not required to ascertain suitability in all cases, only to act where there is an appearance of problem or failure.
There is no statutory duty to do anything at the outset, but if the LA chooses to be proactive it could take a general look (sometimes described as informal enquiries) to see whether there seemed to be a problem which might require further enquiry.
DfE ministers and civil servants have repeatedly stated that there is no overarching duty to investigate all home educated children or to pass judgement on the education of each child, or to insist on seeing all home educated children.
What constitutes full time education?
There is no legal definition of full time. Children in school normally spend between 23 and 25 hours engaged in education each week. Children in home education are taught differently and there is no direct comparison.
A child with an EHCP
A child with special educational needs and with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) may still be home educated. If they are attending a special school you will need the consent of the Local Authority, who will continue to hold annual reviews throughout the lifeline of the Plan.
So, in summary, it’s a RIGHT and not a concession. Elective Home Education can work really well, and while home schooled children may at times need intervention and support, a consultant who understands the law relating to elective home education, and has practical experience of home schooling, will know how best to support and advise families.
* support home educating families
* deliver improved outcomes for students educated at home
* review Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) for any child with additional needs who is being electively home educated
* work with different agencies to ensure smooth transitions
* develop high quality practice
* maintain high quality professional approach to working with EHE children
The consultancy provides years of experience at Headteacher and Director level and offers effective and respectful working relationships with EHE families
* track record in professional development
* detailed knowledge of EHE legislation
* ability to communicate with a variety of audiences
* knowledge of safeguarding and equality issues
* experience with disadvantaged learners
* thorough understanding of assessment and assessment data
Home Schooling Curriculum
Some families feel confident from the outset about what their child will be learning and how they will reach those goals. For others, the aims aren’t always as clear, or they would appreciate some help to understand learning outcomes and assessment criteria. There is not just one true model for home education: a general or a detailed plan, a written weekly curriculum or something more flexible. Whatever your style of exploring learning, talk to a consultant who has over twenty years of experience writing or underpinning workable models.