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Elective Home Education

 

Guidance Notes for Parents

Introduction

The intention of these notes is to help families understand what may be involved if they are considering educating their child or children at home. The information, which follows, should clarify the procedures in Tameside.

There are a number of questions, which families ask regularly when they are considering educating at home. The following examples are included to assist you in making an informed decision as to whether home education is an appropriate alternative to school for your child or children.


Do children have to go to school?

The 1996 Education Act states that it is the duty of parents to secure an appropriate education for their children. This can be done either by regular attendance at school, or 'otherwise'. For most children in Tameside this means that they will attend their local school but for various reasons, a small number of parents decide to take on 'the responsibility to educate their children outside the school system.


What is the parents' duty?

Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, it is the parents' duty:

"... to cause (the child) to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his (or her) age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he (or she) may have either by regular attendance at school or 'otherwise."

Parents who decide to home-educate their child who is registered at a school must inform the school formally, in writing, of their intention to de-register - Section 8(1) (d) of the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006.

Parents should be aware that if they choose to home-educate, they assume financial responsibility for their child's education, including the cost of public examinations, and that the child must continue to receive suitable education until the end of 'compulsory education' i.e. the last Friday in June of the academic year that they reach age 16.


If, on considering the education provision, one or more of the above characteristics appear to be lacking, the LA may choose to further investigate whether or not a suitable and efficient education is, in fact, being provided. If the LA is not satisfied that this is being provided, the parents will be given a reasonable opportunity to improve their provision and report back to the authority. Failure to improve provision could result in the LA instituting formal attendance procedures in accordance with the provisions of section 437 of the Education Act 1996.

It is up to parents to show the LA that the programme of work is helping each child to develop according to his/her age, ability and aptitude and any special educational needs he/she have.


What is 'full-time' education?

The length of time is not specified but 'full-time' education in school means that children spend between 23-25 hours on work each week, plus homework, according to age. Children attending state schools attend for 38 weeks a year.


How do I go about it?

If your child is of pre-school age then you do not need to do anything - though it would help us considerably in keeping track of those who are being educated at home if you were to write to the LA, stating that you intend educating your child (name, date of birth, address and telephone number), at home from, a particular date.

If your child is of statutory school age and is registered as a pupil in a Tameside school, simply write to the Headteacher of the school stating that you intend to educate your child at home. The Headteacher is required to notify the LA within 10 days of receiving your letter.

Parents may choose to employ other people to educate their child but they will still continued to be responsible for the education provided. They will also be responsible for ensuring that those whom they engage are suitable persons to have access to children. Parents will therefore wish to satisfy themselves by taking up appropriate references, including Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks to ensure that the person engaged is suitable for working with children.


How will the LA ensure that the provision is satisfactory?

The LA will write to you with a proposal form so that we can establish how you intend to go about home education for your child. An Education Welfare Officer will then contact you direct to make an appointment to visit, to check that your arrangements are satisfactory.

The Adviser will need to discuss with you the programme of work you have arranged and offer advice where possible. This discussion will need to be fairly detailed but it is not intended to be intimidating in any way. Please note that we have a duty to ask that evidence be produced to ensure that the provision is suitable.

You should note that the visiting Adviser will not be able to direct the learning which takes place, nor accept any responsibility if you decide to educate your child at home. It is your responsibility to plan your child's education and to carry it out. The LA cannot provide books or other resources, which may be recommended, although we will try to be as constructive as we can.

If your child is already being educated at home and the family moves to Tameside: Write to the LA and let us know each child's name, date of birth and previous as well as current address, telling us that you are educating at home. The LA will send an acknowledgement to you and you will be asked to submit a proposal form as above.


What kind of evidence will be helpful?

A written programme of work will be a good starting point for discussion. Samples of work also give a good indication of progress over time, as well as current abilities.


What if I don't inform the LA, just keep my child at home?

Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, Tameside LA must satisfy itself that parents are fulfilling their duties. If you do not provide evidence of this either in writing or by discussions with an Adviser, the LA may conclude that your child's education is not effective and we would then take steps to get your child back in to school.


How often will the LA check?

We hope to establish a good working relationship soon after we receive the proposal form and an early visit by an Adviser can be arranged. Our aim is to have 2 visits in the first year (about 6 months apart) and annually after that. However, if any doubts are expressed at any stage, the programme may need more frequent review. An Education Welfare Officer will also visit, to check that work is progressing as planned.


What happens if the LA is not satisfied?

You will be kept fully in the picture if we are not satisfied and advised by letter which issues are unsatisfactory. We will give you a reasonable time to improve the situation and then a further visit will be arranged.

If we are still not satisfied, the LA may make an Attendance Order (Section 7 of the Education Act 1996), requiring you child to attend a named school. Failure to comply with such an Order would be an offence.

We would stress, however, that this will only happen if we are convinced that you are not educating your child according to his/her age, ability and aptitude. We hope that by detailed discussion, we will be able to show you why this is so. It is rare for this to happen.


Child Protection

The welfare and protection of all children are of paramount concern and the responsibility of the whole community. As with school-educated children, child protection issues may arise in relation to home-educated children. If any child protection concerns come to light in the course of engagement with children and families, or otherwise, these concerns should immediately be referred to the appropriate authorities using established procedures.


Finally, Points to Consider Carefully

  • think long a hard about your decision to home educate. It is a major step which will commit you considerably, as far as time and energy are concerned;
  • look at the costs involved - visits? books? resources?
  • plan what you intend to do with your child before making a decision;
  • consider the social side of growing up; the need to provide opportunities for your child to be involved in social activities, contact with other children, joint activities with other children and groups, and the stimulus of seeing other children's work. The benefits from such activities may provide a source of motivation for your child to succeed;
  • keep your options open as your child's needs may change at different ages and stages. We will always be willing to work with you to find a suitable place for your child in a Tameside school;
  • it would not be in your child's best interests if you decide to home educate because of a disagreement with a teacher or a school. Talk out the problem, or refer it to the Governors of the school; or to the LA for help in getting it resolved;
  • home education should not be seen as a solution to the problem of getting a reluctant child to school. Your childs school will be able to offer support or referral to another agency for help with this.
  • in order to prepare your child for adult life it is recommended that a programme of study is planned that will lead to a recognised qualification in English, Maths and other subjects that will contribute to a broad education. Your child may be  disadvantaged if she/he does not have GCSE qualifications or equivalent at age 16.  


Parents who do decide to home educate usually find it a happy and constructive experience. It is an enormous challenge to undertake. If you decide to take up the challenge, Tameside MBC will do what it can to try to assist you in ensuring that a good education is provided for your child. Please help us to maintain a good working partnership.

Do remember if at any time you wish your child to re-enter the school system, our Admissions Section will be happy to help you with this.

If you wish to discuss any of the above further do not hesitate in e-mailing us ehe@tameside.gov.uk     
 

 

Contact Information
Contact by Post

Education Welfare Service
Tameside Council
PO Box 317
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL6 0GS
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 2112
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