You are legally entitled to educate your child at home and this is often
referred to as 'elective home education'.
I have decided to home-educate my child,
what do I need to do now?
If your child is a registered pupil at a school
you will need to write to the school to de-register them, which will prevent any
non-attendance proceedings. The
school will then notify the local authority that your child is not receiving
education at the school.
What is considered suitable
Education will be considered suitable as long as
it is suitable to the child's age, ability, aptitude and any special educational
needs the child might have. Parents do not need to follow the National
Curriculum or teach for the same number of hours or days as schools for the
education to be considered suitable.
The local authority wants to check that
the education my child is receiving is suitable, what should I do?
Try not to panic. It is perfectly normally for a
local authority to want to check if children who are electively home-educated
receive suitable education. In doing so the local authority might ask you to
provide documents to demonstrate that this is the case. You do not have to agree
to this request but it is recommended that you do. The local authority might
also ask to meet with you and we recommend that you meet them. However you do
not have to agree to meet them in your home and you could instead ask to meet
them at a mutually convenient place. Likewise should anyone turn up at your
house unannounced you do not have to let them in but instead we recommend
arranging to meet with them at a later date.
What happens if the local authority
decides that the education is not suitable?
The local authority can serve
notice on you providing you with at least 15 days to satisfy them that your
child is receiving suitable education. If you cannot satisfy the local authority
of this and they decide your child should attend a school instead they can issue
a School Attendance Order, forcing you to register your child at the school
named in the order. You can ask the local authority to revoke such an order and
if they refuse you could then ask the Secretary of State to revoke the
What would happen if I didn't comply
with a School Attendance Order?
Failure to comply is a criminal matter and you
could be summoned to the Magistrates’ Court. As this is a criminal matter any
applications for public funding to assist would have to be made under the
Criminal Defence Service Legal Aid funding rules. Under these rules only
defendants who are likely to be given a prison sentence if found guilty are
eligible for public funding. Therefore we recommend parents contact the duty
solicitor at the Magistrates’ Court for further assistance.
For further advice regarding home education we
recommend you contact Education Otherwise www.education-otherwise.org.uk
- For further information on Education Law please contact Solicitor Samantha
Hale at Fisher Jones Greenwood on Colchester (01206) 835230.