Table of Contents
- Summary Home Education Law in Wales
- Summary Welsh Guidelines
- How Many Children Are Home Educated in Wales
- Introduction to Home Education Legislation in Wales
- Home Education Guidelines Differ in England and Wales
- Home Education Guidelines Wales 2006
- Children Missing Education Wales
- Deregistering a Child from School in Wales
- 2012 Review 14-19 Qualifications Wales
- New Proposals For Special Educational Needs/Additional Needs
- Current Regulations for SEN
- Flexischooling in Wales
- What Estyn Looks For When Inspecting Local Authorities
Home Education in Wales
Plans to Change Law on Home Education in Wales Dropped
Feedback from meeting with Welsh Assembly Govermment, March 2013: The consultation closed with 580 responses. Analysis is almost complete and WAG has no plans to include home education in upcoming legislation. Welsh Plans Put On Hold BBC website January 3rd 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-20898475 Leighton Andrews statement backing off change, December 2012 http://edyourself.org/leightonandrewsstatementdec21.pdf Read more about what was proposed here http://edyourself.org/articles/walesbriefing.php
Summary Home Education Law in Wales
The principle primary legislation which applies to elective home education is the Education Act 1996 and the Education and Inspection Act 2006. Section 7 of the Education Act (England and Wales) 1996 states that "the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable — (1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (2) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."
Section 4 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006 deals with Children Missing Education and introduces Section 436A into the 1996 Education Act. Scroll down or click here to read more about Children Missing Education law and guidance for Wales. The procedure to be followed when a parent takes a child out of school for home education (known as deregistration) is covered by Pupil Registration Regulations. Scroll down or click here to read more about deregistration.
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (England and Wales) states that the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable - (a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b)to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
Summary Main Points Welsh Guidelines
In 2006 the Welsh Assembly Government published Elective Home Education Guidelines (14 pages) as part of a much larger document covering Inclusion and Pupil Support http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/pupilsupport/inclusionpupilsupportguidance/section6/?lang=en
Key points from the Welsh Home Education Guidelines as shown below are: assume efficient and suitable unless evidence to contrary; duty to serve School Attendance Order; seek to build effective relationships; named contact familiar with home education; LAs to post information to parents where not meeting in person; no legal framework for regular monitoring; make contact on annual basis; seek agreement to see provision first hand without undue pressure; no right to insist on access to the home; reports, samples of work, alternative venue; expected characteristics of provision; respecting parent's philosophy.
Assume efficient and suitable unless evidence to contrary
The Welsh Home Education Guidelines state that the local authority should assume efficient educational provision is taking place, which is suitable for the child, unless there is evidence to the contrary. "There is no express requirement in the 1996 Act for LEAs to investigate actively whether parents are complying with their duties under Section 7" (page 3, paragraphs 2.6-2.7)
Duty to serve School Attendance Order
Welsh Guidelines say that "under Section 437 of the Education Act 1996, an LEA must by law serve a School Attendance Order (SAO) on the parent of a child of compulsory school age who fails to prove that the child is receiving suitable education and where the authority is of the opinion that the child should attend school" (page 2)
Seek to build effective relationships
Welsh Guidelinessay that local education authorities "should seek to build effective relationships with home educators that function to safeguard the educational interests and welfare of children and young people. Doing so will provide parents with access to any support that is available and allow authorities to understand the parents' educational provision" (page 4, paragraph 3.1)
Named contact familiar with home education
Welsh Guidelines recommend that education authorities "should provide parents who are, or who are considering, home educating with a named contact within the authority who is familiar with home education policy and practice and has an understanding of the relevant legislation and a range of educational philosophies. The named contact’s role could include liaising on a regular basis with already-established local groups of home educators or developing new groups where these don't already exist" (page 4, paragraph 3.2)
LAs to post information to parents where not meeting in person
Welsh Guidelines say that "meetings or other forms of discussion should be taken as an opportunity to provide information for the parents or guardians and that if meeting in person is not possible LEAs should endeavour to provide the same information through the post" (page 5, paragraph 3.6)
No legal framework for regular monitoring
Welsh Guidelines state that "there is no legal framework for the LEA to regularly monitor provision of home education, however such an arrangement is likely to help the LEA to fulfil their duties and can help provide new information and support to parents. The frequency with which an authority will contact parents to discuss their ongoing home education provision will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each family" (page 5, paragraph 3.8)
Make contact on annual basis
Welsh Guidelines recommend "that the authority should ordinarily make contact on an annual basis. Contact with the family should normally be made in writing and should seek a meeting or request an updated report. A report should be made after such contact and copied to the family stating whether the education authority has any concerns about the education provision" (page 5, paragraph 3.9)
Seek agreement to see provision first hand without undue pressure
Welsh Guidelines say that "LEAs should, where possible, and without placing undue pressure on parents, seek agreement to see the provision at first hand as the learning environment can have a strong bearing on the effectiveness of learning. Seeing the child responding to the educational provision of the parents may provide a strong indication that efficient education is being provided" (page 6, paragraph 3.11)
No right to insist on access to home
The Guidelines go on to say that "the authority does not however have the right to insist on seeing education in the home and some parents may not feel comfortable in allowing an education officer access to their child or family home. Trusting relationships may need time to develop before a parent is happy to invite an authority officer to visit. However, where a parent elects not to allow access to their home or their child, this does not of itself constitute a ground for concern about the education provision" (page 6, paragraph 3.12)
Reports, samples work, third party endorsement, alternative venue...
"Where LEAs are not able to visit homes they should, in the vast majority of cases, be able to discuss and evaluate the parents' educational provision by alternative means. Parents might prefer, for example, to write a report, provide samples of work, have their educational provision endorsed by a third party, meet at another venue such as a library or cafe or provide evidence in some other appropriate form" (page 7, paragraph 3.13)
Expected characteristics of provision
The Guidelines say (page 7 paragraph 4.1)that "in their consideration of parents’ provision of education at home, education authorities may reasonably expect the provision to include the following characteristics:
- consistent involvement of parents or other significant carers - it is expected that parents or significant carers would play a significant role, although not necessarily constantly or actively involved in providing education;
- an indication that parents have thought through their reasons for home educating and what they hope to achieve;
- signs of commitment and enthusiasm, and recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations;
- opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences;
- involvement in activities to cater for the interests of the child and his/her stage of development;
- access to resources/materials required to meet the objectives of the parents;
- the opportunity to interact with other children and other adults;
- the involvement of Careers Wales at an appropriate stage; and
- development of numeracy and literacy skills suitable to the child’s age, aptitude and ability and taking into account any special educational needs that they may have
Respecting parent's philosophy
Guidelines state that "the approach home educating parents take to assessing their child's progress is likely to be dictated by their own philosophy or views, and in many cases, the absence of formal assessment may be a feature of the education provision" (page 9, paragraph 4.6)
How Many Children Are Home Educated in Wales?See http://wales.gov.uk/topics/statistics/headlines/schools2012/120829/;jsessionid=tRc1Q2dWMcGsvfTnPs15H4YWVTFTLjLvpv9YdQJsFn0xVshqGpKV!1219044931?lang=en and http://wales.gov.uk/docs/statistics/2012/120829sdr1402012en.pdf 986 pupils of compulsory school age were reported to be educated at home in Wales during 2011/12. The figure for 2010/11 is given as 896.
Home Education Law in Wales
Parents who home educate in Wales are under no obligation to notify the Local Authority. The legal references for this may be found in the Welsh Assembly Home Education Guidelines 2006 the Pupil Registration Guidelines for Wales (2010) and the Welsh Assembly Guidance on Children Missing Education.
Children Missing Education (Wales)
The duty does not apply to children who are being educated at home. Parents have a duty to ensure that their children receive a suitable full-time education either by regular school attendance at school or otherwise (under section 7 of the Education Act 1996) or they may choose, as is their right, to provide this by educating their child at home.
Home Education Guidelines Differ in England and Wales
There are a number of significant differences between the Government Guidelines for England and for Wales.
- Welsh Guidelines specifically state that the authority should assume efficient educational provision is taking place, which is suitable for the child, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
- Welsh Guidelines say the law doesn't specifically require the authority to investigate home education.
- Welsh Guidelines say the authority should make annual contact with the home educating family.
Home Education Guidelines for Wales 2006
2.6 Where parents have notified the LEA or the LEA is otherwise made aware of a child’s withdrawal from school with the intention of being home educated, the LEA should acknowledge the receipt of this notification and consider quickly whether there is any existing evidence, either in an authority’s own records or from other services or agencies, indicating whether there may be cause for concern over the withdrawal. Previous irregular attendance at school is not of itself a sufficient cause for concern. In many cases, parents and their children have reached a crisis point, for example, with bullying, so advice should be sought from education welfare services where there is any doubt. Specific instances where they may be concerns are included in Part 6 of this Section. In these cases the LEA should immediately refer these concerns to the appropriate statutory authorities using established protocols.
2.7 Otherwise, the LEA should assume that efficient educational provision is taking place, which is suitable for the child, unless there is evidence to the contrary. There is no express requirement in the 1996 Act for LEAs to investigate actively whether parents are complying with their duties under Section 7.
3.8 There is no legal framework for the LEA to regularly monitor provision of home education, however such an arrangement is likely to help the LEA to fulfil their duties and can help provide new information and support to parents. The frequency with which an authority will contact parents to discuss their ongoing home education provision will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each family.
3.9 It is recommended that the authority should ordinarily make contact on an annual basis. Contact with the family should normally be made in writing and should seek a meeting or request an updated report. A report should be made after such contact and copied to the family stating whether the education authority has any concerns about the education provision. Any telephone communication should be followed up with a written confirmation of what had been discussed and agreed.Home Education Guidelines for Wales
Wales: Children Missing Education
"Children Missing Education" in both England and Wales comes under section 436a of the Education Act England and Wales 1996 which states:
(1)A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but—
(a)are not registered pupils at a school, and
(b)are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.
(2)In exercising their functions under this section a local education authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(3)In this Chapter, "suitable education", in relation to a child, means efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have."
The All Wales Attendance Framework 2011 reiterated the position set out in Children Missing Education Guidance for Wales, noting that "[the children missing education] duty does not apply to children who are being educated at home. Parents have a duty to ensure that their children receive a suitable full-time education either by regular school attendance at school or otherwise (under section 7 of the Education Act 1996) or they may choose, as is their right, to provide this by educating their child at home."
Children Missing Education Legislation Introduced in Wales 2 Years after England
The Welsh Assembly Government operated a different timetable for introducing the children missing education legislation in Wales which was enacted in England in February 2007 but did not become part of the law in Wales until September 2009 and statutory guidance on Children Missing Education was not published until April 2010 and weighs in at 130 pages.
The Welsh Guidance on Children Missing Education instructs local authorities to focus on vulnerable children. The guidance states that "identifying [children outside the school system] is only part of the task; securing placement in appropriate provision is an equally important element."
Statutory Guidance on Children Missing Education Differs in England and Wales
CME Guidance in Wales (April 2010) differs from the CME Guidance in England (January 2009). The Welsh CME Guidance section on elective home education is largely taken from the 2006 Home Education Guidelines for Wales.
Deregistration: How Soon Should School Notify Local Authority? Government Guidance 2010
There appears to be a contradiction in the Government advice on deregistering children from school. The 2010 Toolkit which accompanies the Welsh CME Guidance tells schools to remove the child's name from the school roll AFTER informing the local authority. However The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 say the child's name should be deleted from the roll BEFORE informing the authority.
The Pupil Registration Regulations are a statutory instrument of secondary legislation and therefore take precedence over a "Toolkit". However, the regulations and the "Toolkit" agree that there should be no delay in removing the child's name from the school roll; the only difference lies in whether the authority is informed before or after the child's name is removed.
[Pupil should be removed from school roll] On receipt of written notification and after the school has informed the LA.
[Shown as having left the school] From the date the parent says they are accepting the responsibility for providing the education.
Toolkit for Children Missing Education April 2010
(3) When the name of a pupil has been deleted from the admission register in accordance with regulation 8(1)(c), (d), (g), (i) or (m), the proprietor must make a return to the local authority giving the full name and address of that pupil within the ten school days immediately following the date on which the pupil’s name was so deleted.Pupil Registration Regulations Wales 2010
Government Guidance on Truancy Sweeps (Wales) 2010
7.22 No further action should be taken where children or young
people indicate that they are home educated unless there is
a reason to doubt that this is the case.
7.23 Home-educating parents need to be made aware that professionals involved in truancy sweeps may need to verify any information given to them in these circumstances. To make sure this is a fast and efficient process, it would be advisable that the LA maintains a list of all school-age children known to them who are home-educated. This list can then be checked by LA staff as part of a Truancy Sweep.
Pupil Registration Regulations Differ in England and Wales
In England where a child is being taken out of school for home education, the Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 (England) instruct schools to delete the child's name from the school roll as soon as the parents have sent written notification. The school must not delay in notifying the local authority.
In Wales, under the Pupil Registration Regulations 2010, the school has 10 days to notify the authority once the child's name has been removed from the school roll after the parents have notified the school in writing that the child is to be educated at home.
Review 14-19 Qualifications Wales
New Proposals For Special Educational Needs/Additional Needs"Feedback from stake holders suggests that it would be beneficial to delay the legislative reform": Leighton Andrews, September 2012 Consultation: changing law on special needs, CLOSED OCTOBER 19TH, 2012
- physical or sensory needs;
- communication needs;
- ability to learn; or
- social and emotional development
Current Regulations for SEN
England and Wales each have their own Special Educational Needs Code of Practice which do differ in some respects, but which have identical paragraphs dealing with education otherwise than at school in cases where the child has a statement of SEN. The Welsh and English Home Education Guidelines contain exactly the same information about home educating children with a statement of SEN.
Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (Wales) 2004
8:95 Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 recognises parents’ right to choose to educate their child at home. Such arrangements are described as ‘education otherwise than at school’. In such cases, if the child has a statement of special educational needs, it remains the LEA’s duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met. The statement must remain in force and the LEA must ensure that parents can make suitable, provision, including provision for the child’s special educational needs. If the parent’s arrangements are suitable the LEA are relieved of their duty to arrange the provision specified in the statement. If, however, the parents’ attempt to educate the child at home results in provision which falls short of meeting the child’s needs, then the parents are not making ‘suitable arrangements’ and the LEA could not conclude that they were absolved of their responsibility to arrange the provision in the statement. Even if the LEA is satisfied, the LEA remains under a duty to maintain the child’s statement and to review it annually, following the procedures set out in Chapter Nine. 8:96 In such situations section 324 (4A) of the Education Act 1996 does not require the name of a school to be specified in Part 4 of the statement. Part 4 should state the type of school the LEA consider appropriate but go on to say that: "parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996." The statement can also specify any provision that the LEA have agreed to make under section 319 to help parents provide suitable education for their child at home." p.111
Home Education Guidelines (Wales) 2006
7.2 Where a child has a statement of special educational needs and is educated at home by the parents the statement does not automatically cease. While the statement is maintained it must be reviewed annually, following the procedures set out in Chapter 9 of the SEN Code of Practice for Wales. In many circumstances the child’s special educational needs identified in the statement will have been related to the school setting and the child’s needs may be readily met at home by the parents without LEA supervision. It may be appropriate, once it is established that a child’s special needs are being met without any additional support from the LEA to give consideration to ceasing the statement, if the parents agree. This may be done at the annual review or at any other time. 7.3 The parents must make suitable provision for the child’s special needs, but due to the change in the child’s educational setting, this provision may be different from that outlined in the statement which would apply in a school setting. Parents need only provide an efficient education suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs the child may have as defined in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996.
Flexischooling in Wales
In 2010, theDepartment for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) published School Attendance Codes (Alternative link here Guidance on Attendance Codes) which can be found via this page or via this page
Code B is to be used where a pupil is Educated off-site (not dual registration) and is engaged in approved educational activity. This covers the situation where a headteacher has agreed a flexischooling arrangement with the parent of a home-educated child.