Home schooling

What you need to consider

Educating your child at home instead of sending them to school is a step which should not be taken lightly. It is a major commitment of time, energy and money.

It is important to consider the nature of the education you intend for your child. This includes the curriculum you will provide and how this will allow your child to reach his or her potential.

You should consider whether or not you expect your child to sit public examinations such as GCSEs. You should also consider whether home education is in your child’s best interests in terms of social development.

The Education Act 1996 suggests that every child of compulsory school age should receive efficient full time education.

This should be suitable for:

  • their age, ability and aptitude
  • any special educational needs they may have

This should apply whether by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

The latest Government guidelines, outlining both the role of parents and the local authority, are available below:

What is a ‘suitable’ education?

  • The education you provide must be appropriate to the child’s age
  • It must enable the child to make progress according to their particular level of ability
  • It should take account of any specific aptitudes your child may have

What must you do before you start to educate your child at home?

If your child is currently at school, you must inform the school in writing of your decision to withdraw your child for the purpose of home education.

You do not have to gain consent to electively home educate your child. However, if both parents have parental responsibility, both will need to sign the letter confirming the decision to educate your child at home.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and is attending a mainstream school then the same applies.

However, if your child attends a special school and this was arranged by a local authority, you will need to obtain permission from the local authority. This is so your child’s name can be removed from the schools admission register. For further information and guidance, contact your SEN Officer.

As parents you are under no legal obligation to agree to such a meeting or to produce specific evidence.

If you do not provide any evidence regarding the education you are providing, it may mean that the local authority will be required to take steps to support you to apply for a school place.

If you fail to do so, the local authority may commence the School Attendance Order (SAO) process, in order to ensure your child obtains a school place.

Further support

Our Elective Home Education Support Advisor would welcome the opportunity to work with you and to support your decision to home educate your child.

If you would like to talk to them, or arrange a home visit, email EHE@Swindon.gov.uk.

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