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Dealing with the LA – Wales

When the new EHE guidance came out in May 2023 Home Educators around the UK were appalled, the guidance, which we are sure is not legal in places, goes against the right to a private life, is contradictory, and intrusive.

Below are some tips and suggestions on how we think you could best deal with your LA. Please read our BREAKDOWN OF EHE GUIDANCE to fully understand the government statutory guidance.

Provide a reason for Home Educating at the point of deregistration.

  • Provide your reason for Home Ed in writing at the point of deregistration, keep it positive. We suggest giving reasons such as enjoying the flexibility Home Ed gives, the ability to learn more than is taught in school, ability to have many more outings.

  • The EHE guidance puts quite a but of emphasis on stepping in and stopping families from deregistering if they are not doing it for good reasons. Therefore if you definitely want to Home Educate even if school was awful, we suggest only giving a positive reason.

Your philosophy and style

  • Include your philosophy and style in writing in response to communication from the LA, especially when they request a meeting/information.

  • Repeat your reason in your response to LA communication asking about the provision. 

This just needs to be a simple paragraph ‘We have chosen to Home Educate because XX, we believe Home Education XX and XX, we are currently following a XX style.
You could use the philosophy and style part of our guide to writing a report to help you word it. There is no need to make it complicated. The EHE guidance talks about the value of respecting the philosophy and style, so we think these are important details to have given in writing. (Email is best, or letter but keep a copy and proof of postage).

The LA asked for info/meeting

  • When the LA ask for info but not a meeting/visit then we suggest using our guide to writing a report to write a brief report about the provision and resources.

  • If the LA ask for a meeting or a visit, we recommend you use our template letters to help you respond.

  • We believe most LAs will accept information in lieu of a meeting, we urge you to write a report about the provision, including lots of examples, and get your child to write their thoughts on Home Ed and some details about things they’ve enjoyed learning. Respond to the EHE using our template letter, that states you’re sending a report as an alternative to a meeting.

  • If the LA say they will not accept just your report, offer to provide further info rather than have a meeting, some LAs may accept this.

  • We think there are many valid reasons you may have for not meeting with the LA. We think explaining that your child is competent and able to decide not to meet, that between work and home educating commitments you do not have the time, that you’re more than happy to provide them written info about the provision etc could be adequate reasons. 

  • If they insist (serving a formal notice to satisfy claiming not seeing your child as a reason) we suggest the best option is a video call.

Samples and examples and progress.

  • Samples would mean a child’s completed workbook, or sheets, a screenshot of a completed website activity, drawings, photos etc

  • Examples would mean a description of what they’ve learned e.g. Bob has completed the CGP ks2 maths workbook over the last year. Avril has recently used baking to master 1/2 and 1/3 fractions.

  • Detailing progress would be something like last year Zelda struggled to understand multiplication but is now able to confidently do all of the timetables, or when we first deregistered Max could read simple words that were described as suitable to 2 years below his age, he is now reading fluently from the age 7 Biff and Chip books.

  • The EHE guidance seems to confuse terminology.

  • We think being asked to provide samples is akin to being accused of lying.

  • We encourage giving lots of examples of progress.

  • Some LAs will push for samples though as this is what the EHE guidance suggests people show at meetings, try to stand firm that they are the property of your child.

LA questionnaire.

  • The new guidance suggests the LA seek out more information than a meeting alone, and suggests sending a questionnaire.

  • If the LA send a questionnaire, make sure it is suitable to Home Education and doesn’t ask irrelevant questions. Choose what you do and don’t fill in and don’t give information you feel is irrelevant. For example you don’t need to give plans, a timetable, your qualifications, etc.

  • Or respond saying all the information they're entitled to was in your provision and resource report.

Deciding to meet the LA (which we suggest you don't do if you can help it).

  • Send our template letter if you do decide to go ahead with a meeting (it asks for the LA qualifications, DBS, who will attend, and the questions beforehand).

  • Never meet at your home.

  • Record the meeting.

  • Take a friend with you so your child doesn’t have to sit through the full meeting.

  • You DO NOT have to consent to anyone else being present.

  • Take your written report with you if you do meet. That way the EHE can’t claim they didn’t know about something. Prior to the change in guidance we noticed many LAs would claim there were concerns after a meeting but this was mostly due to the EHE person forgetting to ask something, or the parent not being able to remember all the details. Having all the info in writing will mean the LA has little reason to claim concerns.

  • Take plenty of examples of learning, these can be a list of activities your child has done, info about how your child has progressed, if pushed you could provide photos, examples of completed learning, explanations of what the child has done etc. make sure these adequately show progress in literacy and numeracy.

What happens after you provide info or meet?

  • The LA must respond with a written report within 10 days.

  • Chase up the EHE report if you don’t have it within 10 days and push hard for errors in the EHE report to be corrected. 

  • Do not leave even the smallest of errors unchallenged (in writing).

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