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2.2.25 Elective Home Education

The law allows parents of children in England and Wales to educate their child however they wish. The local authority has limited powers to intervene or even to be informed about this. Please refer to the Education Act 1996.

If a parent never registers their child at a school, they are not obliged to inform the local authority.

If a parent registers their child at an independent sector school and then withdraws their child from school to educate them at home, they are not obliged to inform the local authority. Nor is the independent school obliged to inform the local authority.

If the parent registers their child at a state school and then withdraws their child to educate them at home, they themselves are not obliged to inform the local authority. However, they are obliged to inform the state school. This must be done in writing and the school should remove the child from the school roll immediately. The school is is obliged to inform the local authority within two weeks of removing the child from the school roll to initiate a response

Where the local authority is informed of a parent’s desire to educate their child at home, they have limited powers but the parent is required to assure them about the nature and quality of the education they are giving to the child. Currently parents can refuse the offer of a visit and provide alternative evidence of education. This means that there is the potential for a child not to be seen. This can also be the case where a child is previously registered as a child missing education (CME) but where the parents state they are home educating. There may be circumstances where the parent is seeking to avoid agency intervention in the child’s life to conceal abuse or neglect or where, however well meaning, their desire to educate their child at home may give rise to general concerns about the child’s welfare.

In these circumstances, it may be necessary for local authority Specialist Children’s Services (Kent)/Children’s Social Care Services (Medway) to conduct an assessment into whether the child’s needs are being met or whether they are suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm. See Recognition of Significant Harm Procedure and  Referrals Procedure and Assessment sections of this manual.

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