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Reasons not to pay for Home Education Support

As some of you will know, Educational Freedom has been a not for profit organisation since 2013, before that our team ran Home Education support groups on Facebook.

We have NEVER charged Home Educators for access to our information or our support, whether that is through our private Facebook group, our public FB page, or via email through the website.

When we created Educational Freedom we agreed that it was not fair to refuse support to those who could not afford a membership or one off fee. And this still holds true now, even 10 years on.

You do not need a membership to access information, as we have everything you could ever need on our website. This includes information on how to deregister, the legalities, dealing with your Local Authority, writing a Home Education provision report, template letters, information about Home Ed styles including unschooling, semi-structured, autonomous, child-led and fully structured methods. We offer lots of resource ideas, details about Home Ed camps, how to access GCSE and IGCSE exams, flexischooling and benefit entitlement. In our FAQ you’ll find answers to nearly everything you could imagine wanting to ask. We have literally left no stone unturned.

On our Facebook group you’ll find a really friendly team of experienced admin as well as many thousands of Home Educators willing to offer support or give ideas to help you in your journey. Whether you’re having a wobble or want to share some good news, our private group is the place to be.

We are actively involved in government meetings and discussions around Home Education, we are part of the Home Education Alliance a group working hard to protect the rights of Home Educators. We take an active role in consultations as well as advising local Home Ed groups when dealing with their LA. We believe strongly in using our individual and collective voices and ensuring you are provided with accurate information for England, Scotland and Wales.

Despite some organisations claiming to offer exclusive discounts or access to otherwise inaccessible things we would like to remind you that these are not locked behind membership fees. If a venue or service offers a discount then it can be accessed without membership, or equivalent services are available elsewhere. Exam centres for example, even with a discount are very expensive, there are much cheaper alternatives with a little bit of research. Our exams page explains more.

When your LA asks for information about the provision we suggest (as do most respectable Home Education services) keeping contact in writing, providing a written update on the provision (often called a report) is a safer way to satisfy the LA informal enquiries, but this information does not need to be lengthy or complicated. There is no need to have your report checked by a paid for service or with a membership. You do not need to provide any more than a couple of pages of information. The LA enquiry is not to monitor or assess, it is purely to establish that their duty to identify children missing from education has been satisfied. Providing lengthy reports is a waste of your time, and could lead to issues with the LA demanding the same from everyone, there is also more chance of you giving them info that could be used against you in the future. Our report writing guide takes you step by step through what to include and not to include in a report. This is free to access. If the LA decide they need more information, they will ask, often it is info they are not entitled to, so do check with us before replying, our report guide has an excellent track record though.

You may see claims that paying a membership will get you a professional who will look over the report for you, there is no such professional! There is no training or accreditation as there are no rules on what a suitable report would look like, there is no single legally accepted way to respond to the LA, and the only legal requirements are that the education meets the child’s age, ability, aptitude and SEN and the LA expect information about literacy and numeracy, it is impossible for an individual within an organisation to tell you that your report is ok. There are no guarantees, in fact we have seen many people run into difficulties when they had their report checked but the LA deemed the education unsuitable. This is because not all services focus on the key points needed.

As mentioned, we are a free to access service, at no point will you be asked to pay to access higher level support or information, our website is not locked behind membership fees, nor are our experienced team of volunteers. Our team are all volunteers with children, jobs and lives of their own, they do this because it is important to them. We take no wage. But we will always be here.

We do not have many overheads, web hosting fees and similar costs are paid for through your kind donations and the couple of pence profit made on each sale. Any other costs such as legal challenges against the government are funded through specific crowdfunding. Therefore we will never charge you a fee and if you choose to donate then that is totally your call.

We advise caution, and are trying not to sound too negative, but there are services out there, new and old, who do not provide accurate advice. If you are ever in doubt you can contact us and we will provide the information you need.

Our goal is to ensure every UK Home Educator has equal access to support and information that is up to date and correct.

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