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Homeschooling in Manchester(2 Posts)
My young girl is finding school really really difficult right now. She has been bullied on and off for roughly 3 years. It's now at breaking point, where she is very upset and I feel it's affecting her mental health.
What I want to know is how do I go about taking her out of school?
Do I need to be prepared for anything?
And actually if any mums are doing this in Manchester that could give me a few tips?
Lolla lolly x
Hi Lolla lolly!
I'm really sorry to hear that your poor girl has been having such a hard time at school. I'm sure she'll start to feel more relaxed as soon as she knows she doesn't have to go back, though she may need many months to get back to her old self after leaving school due to traumatic experiences there.
Getting started is simple. For a mainstream pupil who lives in England or Wales, you just have to submit a properly-worded letter to the school informing them that she is now being home educated and instructing them to remove her name from the register. You don't need anyone's permission, and there is no notice period, so you can send the letter in instead of the child! Either hand the letter in at the school office and ask for a receipt, or send it recorded delivery so you have proof they received it. Sample letters can be found at either of these websites:
It is a great idea to make contact with other home educating families in your area. You'll soon see that there are many ways to home educate according to the needs of the child and the family. It tends to look nothing like school! It is also useful to learn what is on offer locally through the home ed community or elsewhere; for example, educational or social outings or places you might like to visit. I hope somebody from Manchester will see your thread soon and point you in the right direction. If not, the best way to find local home ed groups is usually via Facebook. Go on FB and type into the FB search bar "Manchester home education", or try whichever specific area you live in. (People who live more rurally may need to search for their county or nearest big town.)
In terms of preparation, you don't need to have detailed plans in place from day one. You can figure it out as you go along. In fact, nearly everyone makes quite significant changes in their home ed approach as they discover more about how their own children learn best. It is fine to experiment to see what suits your daughter.
For children leaving school, especially if they've had a stressful time there, it's usually advised to take a complete break from all enforced school-style academic work for a few months at least, to let the child recover. This doesn't mean no learning is happening, just that the child decides for herself when and how and what to learn. It is amazing to see what they learn without appearing to be doing anything educational! During this time, spend time with your daughter and let her do things which make her happy: playing with the dog, bike riding, drawing, watching TV, reading or having you read to her.
Once your daughter is feeling better, you might start gradually introducing academic work if you feel that is right for her, starting with her favourite subjects. There are many ways to learn, and some families like mine continue with a child-led approach in the long run.
One thing you do need to be prepared for from the beginning is the unfortunate possibility that your Local Authority will try to mislead you about the legal requirements of home education. Many LAs are quite clueless about home education. They may employ ex-teachers with no home ed training to liaise with home educating families, so that staff can have poor understanding of how home ed actually works and expect you to be doing school at home. There is also a widespread LA practice of concocting policies which don't have the force of law behind them. For example, your LA may tell you that you must fill in their forms or have a home visit for them to assess your education, which is untrue.
The safest course of action is to wait for them to contact you and then ask them to keep everything in writing. This gives you time to think about how to respond to their enquiries and to check (by reading the law or asking for help here or on another home ed forum) whether you really have to do what they say. You should always respond to any communication from the LA, as they may conclude from a refusal to engage with them that you aren't providing a suitable education and take you to court. You'd almost certainly win such a case, but that is stress you don't need! However, you don't have to comply with any unreasonable demands. You could supply them with some information in a format of your choice - submitting a short report is a good bet from a legal point of view - or write back to challenge the basis for their demands. Don't worry though: help is readily available from other home educators, some of whom are prodigiously knowledgeable about the law and happy to help people draft appropriate letters.
Good luck, and I hope your daughter will be feeling better soon!