• Tips from us

    Read our FAQ and the legal stuff. Knowing your rights is VERY important.

    Advice from Home Educators

    "Chill out for a good few weeks, maybe a month or so and do nothing "educational", other than go out and have fun with your children."

    Dan

The LA / ELB

You’ve probably read a lot about LAs trying to monitor Home Educators, or that families have had horrible experiences.

We would like to explain that, whilst these stories seem to be fairly common, this is only because they are the more talked about events. Afterall who is going to keep talking about something that has no impact? For example: a letter from the LA/ELB that was legally accurate and reflected the families wishes is not going to be a talking point.

There are some good LAs out there, there are some that offer support without strings, that offer a service that doesn’t involve visits or a judgement on the educational provision.

We advise keeping contact in writing with your LA until you know what they are like.

Legally the LA should initially only be making informal enquiries so will be more than happy for you to correspond in writing.

You can use our sample letters as a basis for saying no to visits and monitoring, we can advise you further once you’ve read through the site.

Please remember:

If you do not want any one from the Local Authority in your home you do not have to let them in.

Do not ever feel pressured, upset or worried about visits, opting not to have one is a legal option and will not be used against you.

Many people find that their children are upset about the thought of allowing a stranger in to the house, let alone that they’re there to talk about the education.

You can use our sample letters as a basis for saying no to visits and monitoring, we can advise you further once you’ve read through the site.

We would also like to assure you that even when an LA/ELB has a website that is incorrect, or letters that sound demanding and threatening, that a simple letter from you (see SAMPLE LETTERS) explaining that you do not wish to have a visit at any point, and would prefer to keep things in writing, usually has the desired effect.

Most LAs are happy to keep things in writing.  You are of course welcome to contact us if you have any concerns.

One way to gauge how your LA ranks is to talk to other families in the area (please see the MAP or Facebook/Yahoo groups).

You could read your LA/ELB website and see what their take is on the law, remember it isn’t always in line with the law.

Communication with the Local Authorities in Scotland

The LA should, during the WITHDRAWAL  process send you a copy of its ‘information/guidelines for parents’  this should be based on the statutory guidance issued by the Scottish Government in January 2008. It is important to be aware of this guidance and what it means, it ensures that you know your rights and that you know whether the LA information is accurate and up to date, you can of course contact us if you are not sure.

LAs will often suggest a home visit or meeting, to discuss your intention to Home Educate and to ask if you have considered the implications of Home Education, they will want to see that you are committed and thought this through.  You are legally not obliged to meet them, you can choose to provide information in a different form, e.g. a written report. The authority may also ask you for your reasons for wishing to Home Educate and your qualifications, you are not obliged to answer these questions.

LA  officers could ask inappropriate things like:  if you have any plans to send your child back to school in the future, what exam plans you have, they may ask about socialisation assuming your child will be isolated, also questions about where the child will ‘work’ etc could be asked. The LA may assume school at home will be recreated, this is not a legal requirement of Home Education. So to avoid these kind of questions we recommend keeping things in writing with the LA.

If you are aware of the guidelines, you can make an informed decision on how you wish contact to happen with the LA.  There are some SAMPLE LETTERS here and of course you can CONTACT US for support.

Some of the things to expect are described in the FAQ.

But in brief:

You send the DEREGISTRATION letter to school and you can immediately stop sending your child (no permission needed). The school will forward the letter onto the LA who will sometimes send out an EWO to knock on your door (doorstepping). You DO NOT have to let them in. You can be polite and tell them that you are happy with your decision to Home Educate and do not need their service. Also say that you will happily correspond with the EHE in writing.

The EHE person will make contact with you, often as early as the same day you deregister, sometimes it can be months (if ever) before you hear from them.  The content of this contact can vary dependent on the LA area.  A good LA will tell you about local groups and support networks. They will explain that visits and form filling are not legal requirements. LAs should include some written information based on the governments EHE guidance. If you read the guidelines and familiarise yourself with them, you are more likely to know when/if your LA is acting outside of them (ultra vires).

The LA should include their details for you to contact them should you need them.

A bad LA will include that they have arranged to visit you on a set day and time, they may try claiming they have a duty to monitor, or that they have to meet the child or see work (not acceptable especially if you are new to Home Ed).  In Wales there is an automatic assumption that the education is adequate therefore even less of a reason to demand a visit. 

What ever the LA sends you, you should ALWAYS respond, never ignore them.  Respond with one of our sample letters or contact us if you are not sure.

Once the LA have had contact from you, they will let you know how often they will be contacting you, legally because they have no duty to monitor, an annual ‘how are you’ kind of letter is acceptable, many don’t do this, they send another visit request as often as 3 monthly, if you need support please do contact us.

 

You do not need permission from an ELB to deregister your child from school. Send a letter (see SAMPLE LETTERS) either by registered post or if hand delivering to the school ask for a receipt. Check the DEREGISTRATION section for further information.

The school will notify the ELB/EWO who will make contact and request a visit. You are not required to agree to a visit and it is recommended that you keep communication by writing. This means you have records of any communication that takes place if ever needed. Always respond to letters from the ELB – if they demand to see evidence of your educational provision a short report on the provision (can include your educational philosophy) is all that is required.

The ELB is there as a support to your decision to Home Educate. They are not there to tell you how to Home Educate or to assess your Home Education style. They only have a duty to act if there is evidence that an education is NOT being provided – they do not have the power to enter your home and assess that an education IS taking place.

As there are no ELB guidelines similar to the LA guidelines used in England you will find that ELBs have written their own. They are found on ELB websites and are based on internal ELB policies, often going beyond the law. Referring to the LA guidelines gives a more commonsense approach to dealing with ELBs if they ask more than is legally expected from home educating parents.

If you are unsure of how to respond to a demand from an ELB/EWO please feel free to contact us.

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