It is the duty of every parent to ensure their child receives a suitable education. It is a parent's right to provide that education other than at school; ie: 'at home'.
In deciding to educate other than at school you are taking sole and complete responsibility for all aspects of your child's education and this will usually include:
- Guiding your child's learning.
- Providing appropriate resources and equipment to support learning.
- Providing access to a wide range of subjects, activities and experiences.
- Making sure your child's individual learning needs are met, including any special educational needs they may have.
- Regular monitoring and recording of progress (is the education you are providing working?).
- Funding your child's education, including for exam entry when appropriate. Birmingham City Council, as the Local Authority, is unable to provide any financial assistance for elective home education.
- Organising and monitoring any work experience undertaken and ensuring appropriate conditions and insurance.
- Verifying the credentials of any tutors or other helpers you may decide to involve in your child’s education.
The Local Authority (LA) has a duty, under section 175(1) of the Education Act 2002, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. In relation to this, the LA may prompt discussion between it's safeguarding agencies where children are not seen. The LA also has legal duties relating to the education of children within its boundaries.
Under section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, LAs are required to take action if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education.
The LA will therefore make enquiries in all cases where parents indicate their wish to home educate in order to satisfy itself that the child concerned is in receipt of suitable education.
Normally, an Elective Home Education Adviser (EHEA) will arrange to visit the child's home, or another suitable venue if desired, to share with parents or carers discussion and advice on the education being provided. Whilst this visit is not compulsory our aim is to be helpful and to work in partnership with home educating families and this contact encourages easy exchange of information. If it appears to the LA that a child is not receiving a suitable education they have a duty to take further action. This is almost always done informally and recourse to formal procedures is rare, only taken as a last resort and only if it is considered to be in the best interests of the child.
More detail and discussion of the law relating to education otherwise than at school can be found from the following links;
- DfE Guidelines for Local Authorities
- Home Education Support / Charity websites eg: