Parents' Page - New Advice Published by the Department of Education Regarding Homeschooling.
On Wednesday 20 October 2020, the Department for Education published advice for parents considering Elective Home Education also known as homeschooling
The advice makes clear the distinction between the education that took place during the main lock down between March and July 2020 in which schools were closed by the government due to the pandemic and Homeschooling – : which is where parents choose not to send their child to school full-time on a long-term basis.
The advice also highlights the implications of withdrawing children and young people from school and the challenge involved in providing Elective Home Education.
The advice highlights: Since September 2020, the usual rules on school attendance apply:
it is the parents’ duty to ensure their child, of compulsory school age, attends their registered school regularly.
Homeschooling requires parents to take full responsibility for their child’s education, including all associated costs (such as exam fees).
Schools are not required to provide any support to parents that have withdrawn their child for Elective Home Education.
Support provided by Local Authorities is discretionary, including support for a child’s
During the period when schools were closed to all but vulnerable children and children of key workers, schools either provided education for their students by sending out packs of photocopied sheets to the students’ home or ran virtual lessons via Zoom etc. It is important to understand that all the children remained on the school roll.
Home schooling is where parents choose not to send their child to school full-time on a long-term basis or pupils crash out of mains stream to education due to bullying, autism, dyslexia and mental health issue or where families come under pressure from the school to teach their child at home.
Parents should not be placed under pressure by schools to electively home educate their child. This is a form of ‘off-rolling’ and is never acceptable. However, this does happen, particularly to families who children do not fit the main stream education ideal. Schools worried about their exam result reputation often target individual who will not pass the required quote of GCSEs or come from some certain communities.
If you feel under pressure to keep your child at home and educate the child yourself rather than sending them back to school full-time, we recommend you discuss this with your Local Authority.
What You Need to Know About School Attendance
From the start of the autumn term 2020, all pupils have been able to return to schools. The new term means attendance is mandatory and the usual rules on attendance apply. This includes parents’ duty to ensure their child, of compulsory school age, attends their registered school regularly.
Schools are operating in line with guidance, which sets out the public health advice they must follow to minimise the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.
What is Elective Home Education or Homeschooling?
Elective Home Education or homeschooling is when a parent chooses not to send their child to school full-time but assumes responsibility for making sure their child receives a full-time education other than at school. Some children are electively home educated from age 5 and may never attend school. In other cases, a child may be removed from their school’s roll.
Educating children at home works well when it is a positive choice and carried out with proper regard for the needs of the child. In many cases, elective home education is
appropriate and is well-delivered. However, it does involve considerable sacrifice on the part of parents.
What You Need to Know About Homeschooling
Homeschooling requires parents to take full responsibility for their child’s education, including all associated costs (such as tutors frees and exam fees).
Schools are not required to provide any support to parents that have withdrawn their child for homeschooling.
Support provided by Local Authorities is discretionary, including support for a child’s special educational needs.
Thinking About Homeschooling?
If you think homeschooling might be in the best interests of your child, the Government expects your Local Authority to coordinate a meeting with you involving your child’s school and social workers where appropriate. We strongly recommend you meet with your Local Authority to consider whether homeschooling is appropriate for your family and your child before you decide whether to withdraw them from their school’s roll.
Where a pupil is withdrawn from school for homeschooling, there is no obligation for the school to keep that place open. If the parent wishes to return their child to school, they may not be able to return to the same school.
Once a child is educated at home, Local Authorities should begin making enquiries as to how suitable the education being provided is. Failure to satisfy the enquiry may result in you being issued with a School Attendance Order and / or the court may make an Education Supervision Order.
However, this is often very inconsistent and some of our families can wait up to two years before they are contacted or less than 24 hours. Some schools encourage families to remove their child from the school but keep the child on the register for a long time before informing the Local Authority for their own reasons, Therefore, we would advise you to contact your local authority.
Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said:
“The Council for Disabled Children believes that all children have a right to education and all children should be able to access this at school. However, for some children home education, either elective or supported by the Local Authority as the most appropriate setting, can be a useful tool to remove the barriers experienced in schools. It is important that parents are aware of the responsibilities involved in Elective Home Education and fully explore these alongside the other choices available to educate their child. We welcome this advice and hope it supports parents to make the best decision for their children.”