Parents and carers have a legal responsibility to make sure that their children receive an education. Parents can choose to educate their children at home rather than at school. The law makes us - 'the Local Authority' - responsible for monitoring education given to children at home to make sure it is suitable.
Some parents choose to educate their children at home for a variety of reasons and we support the right of parents to educate at home.
If you wish to do so, you should write to inform the headteacher of the school where you child attends. The school will then inform us. If your child has never attended school, you should inform us of your decision to educate at home.
Your responsibilities as a parent are clearly set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which states:
"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable:
- to his age, ability and aptitude
- to any special educational needs he may have
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."
There is no rule about what a suitable education might be but it should prepare a child for life in a modern society and allow the child to reach his or her full potential. It should offer:
The phrase 'full time' can be interpreted differently, since a child's education at home is often on an individual basis. A suggestion of a minimum of three hours each day has been offered.
As a parent you should consider the need for your child to have formal qualifications for any future role in life.
We only have a duty to intervene if there is evidence that the education offered is not suitable. To make a decision on this basis, a Home Education Officer will make a request to visit the family once a year, if possible, to view the education being offered. Following the visit, a report will be written confirming whether or not the education being provided is suitable.
For a child with a Statement of Special Educational Needs whose Statement names a special school, the situation is different and we must be consulted and give our permission for education at home. We must also take responsibility for ensuring that the Statement is reviewed once a year.
For further information, visit the Directgov Educating Children at Home page.