Now. Let me start this blog by quickly saying that as a Home Educator there are some things you have to do and some things you don’t (below is applicable to England, Northern Ireland and Wales).
~ If your child is in school you have to inform the Headteacher that you are de-registering your child from school. They legally have to accept this. If you are asking for flexi schooling (attending school for some of the time) they don’t have to accept this.
You do not:
~Have to inform the local education authority that you intend to home educate if your child has never attended school.
Here’s a link to the government website detailing this and it also has a handy postcode checker facility that takes you straight to your local authority so you can check their resources and procedures.
In short though home education is legal in England, Northern Ireland and Wales you do need to ask permission in Scotland (click on the link for more information with regards to Scotland’s regulations).
Your local authority may, or may not depending on where you live, make contact with you to request a meeting to discuss your Home Education plans. You don’t have to agree to a meeting and if you do you don’t have to show anyone what you are doing, it’s entirely up to you.
We did agree to see the Home Education Consultant from the local authority. I have been a teacher and have been inspected by Ofsted many times and I wasn’t really very worried about showing her what we are doing. She even reminded us, when she was at our house, that we didn’t have to show her my plans and also Henry’s work but she would love to see if that was okay with us.
I talked through what our thoughts on how we were to educate Henry for the next academic year. Our plan is to follow the national curriculum for his year group where we can and start from the Year 1 objectives where it is necessary. This is to plug the large gaps Henry has in his learning due to not being given sufficient time to adequately learn what was expected or that he needed support to access the curriculum for his SEN (special educational needs). Again you don’t have to follow the national curriculum or any curriculum but you do need to be providing a full time (however that is defined in your house) education. I don’t have any issues with the national curriculum as such it’s more the way it was being taught for Henry that I disagreed with. We are now able to use the topics that Henry chooses and I can adapt them to suit him and we can also include many more hands on, practical, real-life learning situations which suit Henry more. I can also step outside the learning objectives and include other linked work that follow Henry’s interests which again, works well for him.
The HE lady took notes while Hubbie and I talked. She asked about sport and we detailed what we are doing for Henry and she also talked about making links with other Home Education groups so Henry can make friends. This we are slowly doing but not for subjects such as maths as Henry needs 1:1 for the foreseeable future as he has lost such confidence in his abilities from being in school with no support. He feels very threatened if another child is with him and either becomes very silly or gives up entirely.
I did have a couple of questions and I asked the consultant if I could still access the same SEN assessments and provisions that Henry was entitled in school and she said that absolutely we could. She advised us to get in touch with the County SENDCo who works closely with the Home Education Team as she could help us were we have a need. I was very happy with this as I thought we would pretty much be on our own.
The meeting lasted just under three quarters of an hour and then she left. She didn’t ask to see Henry and, in fact, didn’t even meet him as he was playing with his Lego upstairs though I would have been happy for her to have met him.
After a couple of days we received in the post a letter detailing what we had discussed and this was in a factual non-judgmental way. I agreed with what was in the letter and I’ll file it away to keep should I need it.
The Home Education Adviser also suggested we have another meeting in 6 months time to catch up to see how things are going and I’d be happy to do this.
In all it was a positive meeting and I’m glad we agreed to it and whilst I can’t recommend other families do the same – it’s entirely for you to decide what your family does with regards to official meetings with local education authorities – I was more than happy to show what we are doing for Henry. I wanted them to see that he wasn’t just sat on the sofa playing computer games!