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What checks are done to ensure your child is being home-educated

(21 Posts)
Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 21:23:19

Just being nosy really. I overheard someone saying they were going to reject the school they were given and home-educate till a place at one of their preferred schools became available. I got the distinct impression they weren't fully committed to actually home educating and that was just something they were going to say to avoid sending their child somewhere they didn't want them to go.

Not judging or interfering by the way just got me wondering what the requirements are if you say you are home educating and how much LA or DofE check up. And is there any judgement made about whether the parent is capable of delivering a reasonable education to the child/children?

Tiggles Wed 17-Apr-13 21:31:55

When I home-edded (for a short while as DS was severely bullied and had to find a new school) I had 3 monthly checks, where I provided my lesson plans, showed project work and worksheets DS had done, provided info on my teaching 'theory' ie written work in the mornings, and practical work on the beach, museums etc in the afternoons, and talked through problems I was having that the specialist teacher helped me solve (DS has motor control problems and has autism). I also showed how I was getting in provision to help DS in areas I couldn't do - eg as we live in Wales but I don't speak much Welsh I asked a Welsh speaking friend to teach him Welsh once a week.

But, all you actually have to do is provide an education that is suitable for your child. I think at a young age when most school is learning through play it is a lot easier than home-edding through GCSEs etc where practical science must be a lot harder to do.

Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 21:37:08

Thanks for your reply. Is it someone from the LA who comes to do the check? And do they check 'progress' of the child?

Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 21:38:18

Oh posted too soon! And what happens if they don't think you are providing a suitable education?

BanjoPlayingTiger Wed 17-Apr-13 21:41:11

It depends from one Local Authority to another. They have no right to inspect any of the children's work or to enter your home. A child's education is the responsibility of the parent, not the authority.
I used to write a letter outlining what I did.

Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 21:46:16

And I assume it's ok to home school while keeping the child's name on various waiting lists for schools you like? So if you get a school you don't want then that sounds like a pretty good plan?

One more question, how does it work if both parents work? Can a home-educated child be with a childminder for part of each week?

CoffeeShoppe Wed 17-Apr-13 21:53:33

oh yes, you can keep their name on any lists you like, and then take up a place when or if it comes available.

Parents can work. the child does not have to be educated between teh hours of 9 and 3. The parent can educate whenever they like, evenings, weekends etc, and however they like too. It has nothing to do with the national curriculum. /the family chooses how the child will be educated between themselves and the child.

IShallWearMidnight Wed 17-Apr-13 22:04:51

We HEd for three years in total, and the LA totally ignored us, which was nice grin.

Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 22:22:50

Thanks everyone for your reples.

So the posts from Banjo and IShall seem to indicate that parents are given a lot of responsibility and autonomy in their child's education, which sounds great. At the risk of asking a contentious question though what if a parent isn't providing a good education ( either because they aren't sufficiently motivated to or aren't able to)- isn't there a danger a child would suffer?

Don't get me wrong I've nothing against home educating, I've read. Lot about it here and it undos great. I can even imagine doing it. Just confuses me how the government/society are so concerned with trying to even out disadvantages, and pressure on schools to ensure all children receive the same opportunity to learn, yet surely there s potential for children at home to 'fall through the gap'?

Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 22:23:57

It ' sounds' great obv not ' undos' great.

HorryIsUpduffed Wed 17-Apr-13 22:26:56

A HEing friend was appalled to discover that her "inspection" could be just her and the "inspector" in a coffee shop somewhere. She could be beating and starving the children, but lie at the appointment, and get ticked off on their list until next time.

Obviously she is keen to show what the children actually do and how advanced they are, but it made her worry about the loopholes it would create.

Deffodil Wed 17-Apr-13 22:30:47

I suppose that the main concern would be that they don't end up with any exam results,through not being taught to pass any.

Hercule Wed 17-Apr-13 22:56:23

I was thinking more about individual perceptions of what constitutes a good education. To make up an extreme example Person A is illiterate and has no numeracy skills whatsoever. They decide that what their child needs is a good grounding in nail art, taxidermy and satanism ( being three of their particular passions). The child once grown up is a bit cheesed off that their future plans have been somewhat limited by this as what they'd really like to do is be an astronaut or a stock broker but as they haven't been taught to read or add up that isn't much of a possibility. And they're not that interested in taxidermy and despise satanism. But they do have fabulous nails.

bebanjo Wed 17-Apr-13 23:42:34

With the deepest respect for your opinions I would just like to point out that with all the sats and teacher training and education reform and curriculum setting there are still a fair number of children that leave school each year unable to read and right.
It is also common knowledge that the children that perform the best at schools are those with parental involvement.

Parents have to be given some trust that they have there children's best interests at heart or the world could not function.

Also there are privet schools that do not fallow the N.C. Faith schools that teach religion as fact. And alternative schools that have no lessons.

Best we all be great full we live in a country that allows choice, and all do the best we can for our own family's.

Saracen Thu 18-Apr-13 00:50:46

I think even the naysayers would agree that the vast majority of HE children do receive an adequate education. In law, the responsibility for the child's education lies with the parents, and it is assumed unless there is evidence to the contrary that parents are both well-intentioned and competent.

It's analogous to the situation with respect to child welfare: parents are assumed to be looking after their children properly unless there is reason to suspect that they aren't. Different parents will bring their children up differently, but few are letting their children down so appallingly that the state needs to intervene by removing the children from the parents' care.
Few people would agree with the idea of regular "parenting inspections" of all parents on a regular basis.

In just the same way, there are many different ways to provide an adequate education. Few parents neglect their children's education so horrifically that the state needs to intervene and take on the role of educator of the children over the parents' objections. It can happen, and there is provision in law for it to happen, but it is very rare.

Saracen Thu 18-Apr-13 00:59:59 the case of your acquaintance, OP, bear in mind that the child in question won't reach compulsory education age until January at the very earliest, depending on birthdate, and there is no legal requirement to provide any sort of education in the meantime. If the parents did want to provide an early education in an alternative setting, then the child could continue at nursery until compulsory education age - it's supposed to be the same curriculum as that followed in Reception.

Secondly, unstructured learning through play is one of many educational methods which parents may follow. To the casual onlooker it may sound like "doing nothing" but it works surprisingly well. Children are learning a great deal from the world around them and from interactions with parents and other people even when these people aren't setting out to impart specific knowledge or training.

MajaBiene Thu 18-Apr-13 01:10:23

No child reaches compulsory school age until the September following their 5th birthday - Reception is entirely optional.

Saracen Thu 18-Apr-13 02:20:10

You're mistaken, MajaBiene.

Children in England and Wales must be in fulltime education - at school or otherwise - from the term after their fifth birthday (More or less! The key dates are 1 September, 1 January and 1 April.)

So the only children for whom the entire Reception year is optional are those born between 1 April and 31 August inclusive. Autumn-born children must be educated from January. Winter-born children must start by the beginning of the summer term.

CoffeeShoppe Thu 18-Apr-13 09:45:35

I saw my LA man once in 4 years. He came to the house on the first occasion, but I just posted off some info the following years.

Why would your friend be appalled and want them to come and inspect her more thoroughly? That sounds bizarre. If you know you are doing well in educating your own children, why the 'need' for someone to come and check?

I knew what I was doing was right for my dc, I don't need any inspector to come and check.

I have one dc who is HE now, and never hear anything from the LA. Suits me.

Hercule Thu 18-Apr-13 10:02:24

Fair enough thanks for all your responses. As I said I'm not trying to rubbish HE at all, total respect for those that do it. And I appreciate your analogy to child welfare Saracen-that a parent is doing a good job unless there are strong indications that they aren't.

Thanks again all very interesting.

Tiggles Thu 18-Apr-13 10:14:50

It was a specialist teacher from the LA who did checks in our area. They were quite abrupt on initial contact - a letter saying "We are coming to your house on this date", I wrote back and said, "No". Explained the house was a safe haven for DS and then we met in a playroom at their office instead. The teacher softened on contact, and was actually really helpful.
But I was never intending to home-ed long term, we were waiting to move areas so was getting DS ready to move back into school when we did move. Hence I followed the national curriculum, which wouldn't have been necessary otherwise.

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