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Can we legally home-ed our niece and what would the implications be on our children?

(10 Posts)
pinkdolly Tue 06-Oct-09 21:55:07

Our niece is almost 13 and in year 8 at school.
She has already moved schools once due to bullying and is now having trouble at her current school. Been there for almost a year now.

She has expressed a wish to be home educated and her mum is fully supportive of this. However, she feels that she cannot take on the responsibilty of this herself.

We have 4 children of our own 7,6,3 and 6 months.

The oldest 2 are home-educated the 3 year old is currently in nursery but will be home-educated.

Both my niece and her mum have said they would like for us to take on the role of home edding her.

Now in theory my dh and I are very up for this. Our niece is very smart, top sets for everything and we have explained she would have to take a certain level of responsibility herself for her education. She is very motivated and has been spending her time with us over the last week looking into what qualifications she needs to become a doctor.

She would like to take her Gcse's early (she is smart enough to do this we feel).

What we need to know is what knock on effects this might have on us. We are currently under the radar if you like (although with the current consultation recommendations dont know how long we can keep this up for). We are autonomously educating our girls and are enjoying both the freedom to do what we want with them and the peace of not having to justify ourselves to any governing body.

Would we be putting ourselves in the spotlight by agreeing to home-ed our niece?
Obviously she will need to be deregistered from school (we are in England btw)and I as I am aware she will be subject to checks by the LA (is that correct). But will they then want info on my children as well.

And the obvious question is, that I know it is perfectly legal to home-ed your own children but what about other peoples?

Short background info-

Our niece is my dh's brother's girl. But he seperated from her mum when she was 1. They were never married.

Sorry about the essay just wanted to make sure we had all the basis covered before we go down this route.

Thank you for your help ad advice.

Bubble99 Tue 06-Oct-09 22:16:34

Hmmm. Not sure. We're HE our DS1 using an Internet school to study towards IGCSEs. He's nearly 12 and would have started year 7 in September at school.

We have had a call from the EWO as he is on a school waiting list. We're taking him off the waiting list as HE is going so well.

I'd imagine that, although you would be educating your niece, it would need to be the legal parent or guardian who dealt with any official stuff?

The law says "...or otherwise", not "or by the parents". I think you should be fine, although this would be a good question to ask on the EO forums to find people in a similar situation.

ommmward Wed 07-Oct-09 10:06:55

I'd ask on the HE-UK email list just to be absolutely certain.

I could see you falling foul of the stupid vetting and barring nonsense or of the reciprocal childcare idiocy, except that since you are clearly FAMILY, the parents should really be able to escape all that and say that the formal part of educating your niece is happening within the family. My understanding would be that there are no legal barriers, but the parents might need to be quite firm with the LA staffers that this is a family arrangement for childcare and education.

They might want to express it to the LA as "we are going to be HE-ing our child with a lot of practical support and tutoring from her aunt and uncle - isn't it a wonderful opportunity?"

There are lots of precedents of HEers swopping or pooling children to share expertise, if you see what I mean.

Niece's interactions with the LA - insist on them staying within the 2007 Guidelines, obviously - despite LAs being delighted about the Badman report, none of it is law yet, and never will be, please God. So written evidence of the education rather than visits, allowing for a deschooling period etc etc are all perfectly valid. IT would need to be the parents communicating that stuff - but that would be a good thing - they are still ultimately legally responsible, so for them to write down how they are fulfilling their legal responsibilities (with you providing a lot of the help at the formal end of the scale) is a reasonable thing for them to have to do.

As for you staying under the radar - I would think that the parents in their written evidence to the LA in due course would be best to say "she's doing x, y, z with her aunt and uncle, Ali and Fred" with first names only and no address. That would guard against any slippage.

HTH, but as I say, ask on some of the email lists where there are people with swathes of relevant experience.

LauraIngallsWilder Thu 08-Oct-09 09:16:18

pinkdolly - no advice to offer but it sounds like a great idea

Good luck

pinkdolly Thu 08-Oct-09 14:21:35

thanx for all advice and sorry for not replying sooner, my 6 month old has a chest infection and has not been good the last few days.

Dn has been put in a side room at school till half term (they told her mum she wasnt allowed to just wthdraw her, hmm that is wrong isnt it? i told her it was). Anyway her mum was going to speak to the council to find out where she stands. i sent her away with a few websites so she can find out the facts first.

just waiting now.

thanx again.

and plz excuse poor punctuation and lack of capitals have a dosed up sleeping baby in my arms.

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Mon 12-Oct-09 16:05:59

shock @ them sticking her in a side room at school - are they doing anything to sort out the bullying?

Her mum can deregister her from school at any time, it does not have to be at half term at all.

AMumInScotland Mon 12-Oct-09 16:23:54

Since they're in England, and it's not a special school, then her parents can deregister her any time they want - they don't have to give any length of notice, or wait till the end of a term.

The LA have a right to ask the parents how she is getting an education, but they don't have to give your details if they don't want to. What matters is that they (and really she at age 12) can talk about what she is doing and what she is aiming to achieve in her education.

ommmward Mon 12-Oct-09 16:45:37

The Mum can send a deregistration letter in instead of her daughter TOMORROW if she wants to. The daughter never has to darken the doors again. Tell the mum that from me

julienoshoes Tue 13-Oct-09 14:07:45

Last week I had a desperate mom on the phone.
Her daughter was so unhappy at school, she was self harming. The family (including the daughter) had decided they wanted to give home ed a try but Head Teacher told her she would need permission and approval from the LA, to deregister etc etc.
She found me through our local He website.
Spoke to me at 10am, was almost crying with frustration and then relief.
Wrote the letter immeadiately and went straight to the school and handed it in-and took her daughter straight out of the class room there and then. Home by 11.30.

I met them one week later-child already beginning to get sparle back and love of learning. Another one saved.
grin

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