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Just deregistered. Looking for advice.

(11 Posts)
samhe Wed 14-Sep-11 23:15:47

We have taken our eight year old out of mainstream school after a turbulent two years. We have removed him for two reasons. He has underlying immune problems and recurrent ear infections and glue ear leading to behaviour problems in school. Also he is statemented and has speech and language and communication problems and conductive hearing loss. The education system has vastly underestimated his true capabilities and have babysat rather than taught him.

The attendance improvement officer came yesterday. She was very nice. She said that i would have to provide evidence in about 6 weeks of what i am doing with him and that i will have to do this again in the future. Can anyone tell me do all authorities work like this? I didnt think this was the law.

Also i am looking to make contacts for socialising. We are in Harpenden, Herts but can get to Bedfordshire, Bucks and some of north london reasonably easily.

Any advice re providing evidence for the LA would also be greatly appreciated.


nickschick Wed 14-Sep-11 23:26:42

Its always a bit daunting when you begin to home ed.

People HE for a variety of reasons ( I myself have H/E because of bullying,ill health,choice,rural location etc etc amongst other reasons).

Initially it is nice to do everything 'by the book' and as by law it is required that your child has an education appropriate to their needs you will need some documentary evidence to back up your home education- the best way I find to do this is to keep a daily diary and record everything you do in there so for instance perhaps on a monday you wont be doing what we call 'pen and paper' work as you are grocery shopping then doing household tasks you can incorperate learning into that depending on the ages of the children - guessing weights adding up amounts,comparing sizes and values,reading labels,reading recipes,talking about the countries where the foods are produced etc etc.

Everything you do as a H.E er can have academic value with just a little thought.

The LEA has a duty to ensure your child is receiving an 'adequate' education and initially will visit you and may perhaps suggest other areas of improvement or things you might like to try- generally i find them very unhelpful and now i send a record of work that ds has done along with a 'school report' and i chat on the phone once/twice a year- you get very little help or support as a home educator and initially you may find the LEAs interest reassuring.

With a view to the socialisation it is nice to make friends with other home educating families but equally nice for your child to build/maintain friendships with schooled children elderly people and other adults around on a day - day ds is a v sociable child despite never having attended school and he is empathetic towards all people too as my friend put it he just doesnt do playground politics.

FionaJNicholson Thu 15-Sep-11 06:18:31


The person who came round would have been from education welfare, and basically would not really have known about what the home education advisor was properly supposed to do. The only time you would have to provide "evidence" is if the LA thought you weren't really home educating and served you with a formal notice as part of the process of issuing a school attendance order.

Your home education has to be suitable to the child's age ability and aptitude as well as any SEN he/she may have. Some home educators like to quote a previous legal case which said that the LA had to allow the parents time to get their home education sorted, but I personally think you need to be careful with that one because it could sound like you were going to have lots of things to show "next time".

Here are a couple of pages about the law in England plus the English Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities (set out as a web page so you can copy and paste)

There are hundreds of home educators in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, so I'm sure you'll find people living reasonably close to you. Mumsnet has a thread about finding local groups, and I've got a web page with links here

SDeuchars Thu 15-Sep-11 07:47:30

NicksChick: Initially it is nice to do everything 'by the book' and as by law it is required that your child has an education appropriate to their needs you will need some documentary evidence to back up your home education

Although it is correct to say that an education is required by law (Education Act 1996, s7), it is incorrect to say that you need documentary evidence. I have EHEed for 14+ years and have never kept records.

The LEA has a duty to ensure your child is receiving an 'adequate' education

Again, this is not true. You have a duty to provide an education (analogous to your duty to provide an adequate diet) and the LA only has a duty to intervene if they have reason to believe that you are not fulfilling that duty (analogous to the duty they have if they believe you are not feeding your child).

SamHE: The attendance improvement officer ... said that i would have to provide evidence in about 6 weeks of what i am doing with him and that i will have to do this again in the future.

They may ask you to do so but it is not required by law. In fact, government guidance leaves with you the choice of providing information in any way you want.

As FionaJNicholson says, it sounds as if the improvement officer did not know what she was talking about. She may not generally deal with EHE. If you have deregistered, you do not have to talk to her - her bag is improving attendance at school, your DS is not registered at school and therefore has no attendance issues. If someone else from the LA education department contacts you, I recommend that you ask them to write to arrange an appointment - it is easy to get flustered if they turn up at your door or on the phone. You can then choose to write back declining the offer to meet but giving them your educational philosophy, a list of resources and a statement of provision.

nickschick Thu 15-Sep-11 08:34:11

Ive home educated since 2000 and I would always say its better to maintain 'some' type of record of 'work' you have done,even if its not legally needed it just makes sense.

julienoshoes Thu 15-Sep-11 21:05:20

and I've home educated since around the same time nickschick.

We kept whatever the children wanted to keep, but didn't do anything the LA would recognise as 'work', and the children certainly chose not to share anything written with the LA-and as it is their intellectual property and not the LAs, we listened to their wishes and didn't invite the LA to do a home visit, they didn't meet the children and we didn't show them anything.
Instead, as is our legal right, we sent in an educational philosophy and written report. For all of those ten plus years our LA have been very happy with that.

Horses for courses, if a family chooses to have a home visit, show work, keep records, then that is fine. It most definately is not my children's choice though-and therefore was not ours.

To my mind, what makes sense is telling someone new to home ed, what is legally required and the various ways of fulfilling that, so that the parent/s can make an informed choice about what is right for their family.

julienoshoes Thu 15-Sep-11 21:16:45

OP the Elective Home Education: Guidleines for LAs that Fiona mentioned above, are worth reading. Written by the Department for Education in 2007 they clearly state what the LA can and cannot do and what is legally required.

Section 3.6 states:
Some parents may welcome the opportunity to discuss the provision that they are making for the child’s education during a home visit but parents are not legally required to give the local authority access to their home. They may choose to meet a local authority representative at a mutually convenient and neutral location instead, with or without the child being present,)
or choose not to meet at all. Where a parent elects not to allow access to their home or their child, this does not of itself constitute a ground for concern about the education provision being made. Where local authorities are not able to visit homes, they should, in the vast majority of cases, be able to discuss and evaluate the parents’ educational provision by alternative means. If they choose not to meet, parents may be asked to provide evidence that they are providing a suitable education. If a local authority asks parents for information they are under no duty to comply although it would be sensible for them to do so. Parents might prefer, for example, to write a report, provide samples of work, have their educational provision endorsed by a third party (such as an independent home tutor) or provide evidence in some other appropriate form.

Section 3.13 makes it clear:
Home educating parents are not required to:

*teach the National Curriculum
*provide a broad and balanced education
*have a timetable
*have premises equipped to any particular standard
*set hours during which education will take place
*have any specific qualifications
*make detailed plans in advance
*observe school hours, days or terms
*give formal lessons
*mark work done by their child
*formally assess progress or set development objectives
*reproduce school type peer group socialisation
*match school-based, age-specific standards.

nickschick Thu 15-Sep-11 23:00:51

By documentary evidence I meant a 'diary' of such things worked on throughout the week ...very rarely has any of ds work been shown to the LEA.

8ofem Fri 16-Sep-11 00:01:05

iv home schooled for quite a wile now and had just 2 visits to see what im doing which i dont mined as iv nothing to hide.they do help sometimes as i got info from him for stuff for my lad to do in the town near me, also im hoping when i see him again this term as i feel i will soon as iv just started educating the next child along from primary school now out to home ed instead of secondary school , that he can help me with any advice for teaching two of them, as hes an ex headteacher,i will say this they cant demand proof and dont be scared of them you can home educate and they know it they just try it on,i dont teach what the school is doing with there age groups either i teach what they want me to teach them, and my 11 year old can do math beter than i can and it dosnt matter as hes helping me to as iv totaly forgoton most thimngs since leaving school 26 years ago lol,they learn from books and the internet,and from all the family who know what i dont know and can help,

Saracen Fri 16-Sep-11 06:24:21

nickschick, some people like to keep a diary of what they have been working on. They may like to use it when providing info to the LA and also to look back and see what they have been doing and how much they have accomplished. But some people, like me, have found that keeping such records actually interferes with home educating.

When I was preparing an educational philosophy to give the LA, I kept a list of the books I had been reading with my child. We read a lot and I thought it would impress them. As soon as I started keeping the list, I noticed how much repetition there was. It did not look nearly so impressive to have read The Cat in the Hat 87 times as to have read 87 different books of varying lengths on different subject matter. But The Cat in the Hat, over and over and over, was what my daughter wanted and I know now (and probably knew then) that on an educational level it was actually what she needed as well.

I am sorry to say that during the few months when I kept records, a small part of my attention was always thinking about how our activities would look on paper. This was not in my daughter's best interests. The minute I had submitted my ed phil to the LA, I stopped keeping records and returned to paying proper attention to how my child was learning. This is one of several reasons why I have declined to submit any more information to the LA.

That was my first child. She was fairly academic but even so, keeping records was not the best thing for me to do. Her little sister has special needs and occasionally it crosses my mind just how different her needs are to what would be provided at school. I am fairly sure that keeping records on her would have an even worse impact on the way I educate her. It would also be rather demoralising, as it would focus my attention on how she compares to "average" children. That doesn't mean I don't give a lot of thought to what she's doing and whether I need to do anything differently. It just means I find it harder to follow my own intuition about what she needs if I keep records. I would find it difficult to write (truthfully), "She played with Duplo all afternoon. There is something she is trying very hard to understand about the mummy polar bear. I don't yet know what it is, and I may never know what it is, but it's a very big thing for her." And yet when I watch her I know with absolute certainty that distracting her at this moment with a story or a chat or some other worthy activity will interfere with her attempt to grasp this thing she is learning.

That's just me. Somebody else could probably write the above quite happily. As I say, record-keeping is certainly helpful to some parents. But it isn't something people should feel they have to do.

samhe Sun 02-Oct-11 01:16:50

Thanks everyone for all your advice and information. It has really helped.

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