The words 'efficient' and 'suitable' are not defined in the Education Act but are interpreted by us to mean that a child is educated to equip him/her for life in the community to which he/she belongs. At the same time the child should be educated so that s/he can make his/her own choices within modern society in later years.
The law states that a parent’s duty is to provide a child with an efficient, full-time education. This should be suitable to his/her age, ability, aptitude and special needs.
Government guidelines on home education go on to say we may reasonably expect the education provision to include things like:
A full-time home education can be varied and flexible, including activities that do not usually take place at school and you do not have to have any specific qualifications to home educate your child.
School hours, days and terms do not have to be followed. DfE guidelines published in April 2019 suggest that a full-time education can be similar to that of a state school where children of compulsory school age receive around 4.5 to 5.0 hours of education a day, for about 190 days a year.
You do not have to follow the National Curriculum or specifications used in mainstream schools, nor do you have to follow fixed timetables, meet age-specific standards, mark work or give formal lessons.
You do need to show how your child is progressing and achieving positive outcomes through your home education.
We recognise that there are various approaches to home education which are equally valid, and that learning can take place in different environments, not just the family home. We will aim to respect and understand parent’s philosophies and individual approaches to education, to promote mutual positive and trusting relationships.
If your child has never been to school, you do not have to ask for permission to educate at home and you are not expected to inform us yourself. It is always helpful, however, if you do let us know that your child is being home educated.
If your child is being withdrawn from a mainstream school, you are asked to write to the school clearly stating that you will be taking full responsibility for your child’s education at home. Your child can then be de-registered from the school roll. The school must inform us if a child is removed from a school roll to be home educated.
Once we have been made aware that your child is being home educated, we will send you a welcome pack which includes a form. This form asks you to provide details about the education you are intending to provide for your child. We recognise that in the early stages of home education, you may not have firm plans and that things may change as home education moves forward.
We will contact parent/carer once the school has told us that a child is being home educated. This is to offer support and guidance, if necessary, and to check that the details the school has given to us are correct. If we offer you a visit you do not have to accept this or you may choose to meet us at another venue.
If you choose not to meet with us you can communicate with us via letter, email or telephone instead. We would like parents to keep in touch but cannot insist on regular contact. At a minimum we will aim to contact you on an annual basis.
If we identify that your child is not receiving a suitable education, we will follow our set procedures.
For more information see the Services to Home Educators protocol.