Hesfes Talks 2014

Legal references on this page apply to England.

Hesfes Talks 2014


The Hesfes bookstall is open every day with a selection of books + someone to talk to about home education. At the bookstall you can also book a half hour session with me (between 2.30 and 4.30) for a more in-depth discussion of issues or problems. The bookstall had the following books, which I promised to list as some ran out very quickly.


Stonham Barns picture by Adrian Cable

Sunday Ian Dowty's legal talk
Monday local authorities
Tuesday early years/learning through play
Tuesday afternoon Jill Anderson What Is Education For
Wednesday autonomous education. Question and answer session with autonomously home educated young people, led by Julie Bunker
Thursday 14-19s including benefits, college, and exams
Friday legal changes, including special needs

Ian Dowty

Ian went through what the law says about home education, with the starting point being section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which 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.

Ian analysed the legal meaning of each of these words and phrases in turn: "parent"; "compulsory school age"; "efficient education"; "full time education"; "suitable education;" "regular attendance"; and "otherwise."

Ian also examined the interplay between section 436A (children missing education) and section 437 (serving School Attendance Orders).

Ian urged everyone to familiarise themselves with the Government Home Education Guidelines for local authorities.

For enforcement purposes a "parent" is defined in the Education Act as "any person— (a) who is not a parent of his but who has parental responsibility for him, or (b)who has care of him." "Compulsory school age" relates specifically to 5-16; the raising of the participation age in England does NOT affect this.

Government Guidelines refer to efficient" education in "case law" which is not strictly accurate, but in any event it is the dictionary definition of "achieves what it sets out to achieve". The significance of this is explained in the article about writing your Educational Philosophy here. "Full time" has no definition in relation to home education.

Government Guidelines are wrong to say that "suitable education" is not defined, since of course it IS defined as "suitable to age ability aptitude and SEN".

In relation to "education otherwise than at school", Ian looked at legal technicalities such as the concept of euisdem generis whereby if a law lists specific class of things and then refers to them in general, the general statements only apply to the same kind of things specifically listed. This is relevant to mentions of education "otherwise", which sometimes in context can mean ALL education otherwise than at a school and in other contexts will ONLY mean education arranged by the local authority ie NOT elective home education.

Towards the end of the talk, Ian was asked whether the current arrangements might be improved and was categorical that "age ability aptitude and SEN" + the LA Guidelines was the best we could expect and that any reform would run the risk of making things worse.

Ian took questions on whether deregistration could be by email, and what he thought would wbe the impact of the new CME Guidance (which was November 2013 at the time of Ian's talk). In terms of deregistration, Ian said that the Pupil Registration Regulations referred to "written notification" and that parents would be on the safe side to put the notification in hard copy (ie written on paper) as there wasn't a positive legal right to have it accepted by email. (As an aside, when I'm asked this I tend to say that email CAN be accepted as "written notification" if the school already knows this is a reliable email address for the parent, but that I believe it is discretionary.) For CME, Ian felt it was a drawback that the revised 2013 guidance did not explicitly direct LAs to follow the Home Education Guidelines as the previous (longer) guidance had done.

Early Years/Learning Through Play


Talk with Jill Ingle. Early formal learning in nurseries and school, starting school at 4, how children are being prepared to fit in to the system, if not reading by 6 that's a problem at school but not in home education, what difference does it make to see an earlier generation of home educated children grow up, are we less likely to worry? Influence of family worrying about unconventional home education.

Jill picked up on Ian Dowty's reference to how many questions children ask in an hour. See Tizard and Hughes, Young Children Learning (More Download summary here)

Jill Anderson Talk

Write-up of Jill's talk, Tuesday afternoon Hesfes 2014 "What Is Education For"

So What's Wrong With School download as pdf Jessica Mwanze Currency Converter So What's Wrong With School buy the book from Lulu.com

Local Authorities

Dialogue with local authorities. Where is the money? Used to be in "Attendance/Inclusion" or "Education Welfare" but with the cuts to central LA budgets it may shift to "Troubled Families" or "Early Intervention" or "Prevention."

Home education is not a full time job for most LA officers who have responsibility for this area of work, and they may not know much about home education.


Raising Participation Age LAs are not expected or required to have any involvement in post-16 home education, and in fact there is no legal power for them to do so. However, some LAs will contact home educating families as the young person turns 16 to ask about future plans, since LAs have to return information to the government about the rate of post-16 participation in their area. There is no obligation on the family to respond but if there is no answer the young person may be recorded as NEET (not in employment education or training)
Guidance from DfE on Home Ed 16+
APPG October 2014 14-19s theme, email appg@heas.org.uk

Home Ed 16+ Benefits
Child Benefit 16+ The GOV.UK page on child benefit 16-19 says child benefit "continues if they stay in approved education or training"...and "can include...home education - if started before your child turned 16." It is not necessary for the young person to be studying for exams or to be on a course.

Question to HMRC 2013: What does studying mean in relation to the question “Are they studying for any qualifications” and if “working towards” is an acceptable answer.
Answer from HMRC: Working towards qualifications is the same as studying towards qualifications from a Child Benefit entitlement perspective. Studying in this instance means a child/young person in a learning environment other than at school/college where they are progressing in an educational sense even though that learning environment may be structured differently than at a school/college.
Child Benefit FOI

14-16 College FAQ
Westminster Meeting 2013 to sort rules for 14-16 college
Wolf Report What's changed for college 14-16s
Positive examples 14-16 College not an exhaustive list! Central College Nottingham (contact Brendan Coulson); South Gloucestershire College; Peterborough Regional College; Halesowen College; Telford College Arts and Technology; Newcastle College; West Suffolk College; Moulton College; Doncaster College; Milton Keynes College; Wirral Metropolitan College; East Thanet College; South Staffordshire College; Carshalton College ...

Exams Introduction
Useful Links for Exams
FAQ for Exams Officers
APPG October 2014 theme 14-19s

Access to Music
Crest Awards (Science)
More on Crest Awards
John Muir Awards (Environment, conservation)
Smallpeice Trust (Engineering, short residential courses)
Smallpeice Trust information for parents
University of Kent Space School (Astronomy, short residential course)
University of Leicester Space School
Headstart residentials on university campus for Project and Systems Engineering
ASDAN awards (personal skills, work-related learning, foundation learning and volunteering)
Arts Awards "You can do an Arts Award in any area of the arts from fashion to poetry, rapping to dancing, sculpture to film. You can be the creator or performer of your own work, or develop your skills in essential roles like marketing or stage management..."
Setting up Arts Award Centre

Legal Changes Including SEN

The law in England: what's changed, what's going to change, what we thought would change but it didn't. How do legal things change and where can you find out about the changes. The biggest changes are primary legislation ie Acts of Parliament. These generally take a long time, and can be amended by subsequent legislation. If you want to check "the law", be aware that the latest version might not be on the government legislation website. People say that they can't keep up with the changes. Some changes are made very quietly and go unnoticed. Other changes are talked up in advance for a long time but might never actually materialise. Secondary legislation consists of regulations, guidance, guidelines and what I have called "attitude towards guidelines". CME was changed by guidance. Flexischooling was changed by "Advice on Attendance" not obviously related to flexischooling. Both of these had a knock-on effect on the Home Education Guidelines.

  1. Home Education Guidelines, initially the coalition government talked about possible change to policy/said not decided, but over the past 4 years it has moved to stand firmly behind the Guidelines, as seen by recent letters to LAs
  2. Children Missing Education Guidance
  3. Compulsory School Age/Raised Participation Age
  4. Flexischooling
  5. Having to do English and Maths GCSE for 6th form
  6. Children and Families Act: family law
  7. Tax Credits etc Being Scrapped
  8. Universal Credit removal severe disabled child element, monthly payments, no automatic in-work subsidy - ie conditionality and sanctions even for claimants who are in paid employment + new regime for self-employed, including the minimum income floor. Delays in UC being introduced, no firm start date for more complicated claims. "All work related requirements" will apply to single parents with a child age 5 or over unless there are other factors eg a recognised disability or eligibility as a carer (restrictive conditions apply for both) Claimants will be expected to increase working hours or get better paid work up to the equivalent of a minimum wage for 35 hours a week. Limited to school hours plus travel for single parents of child under 13.
  9. Cuts to Legal Aid
  10. Legal Changes to SEN
  11. Education Health and Care Plans
  12. New SEN Code of Practice (+ timetable for transition)
  13. Better for 16+ (Comparison ECHP with LDA)
  14. Personal Budgets and Direct Payments (extremely unlikely but here are examples from Pathfinders)

There is an entire website devoted to home education and special needs here

Children with special educational needs have an equal right to be educated at home. There will be a new SEN system and a new Code of Practice and regulations from September 2014. There is a good introduction to the changes here

Children who already have a statement of SEN will be transferred to the new system between 2015 and 2018

The fact that a school is named in Part 4 of the statement doesn't mean that the child is automatically registered. Nor does naming the school in Part 4 mean that a child will be obliged to attend the named school in future. Where a child has a statement of special needs the local authority has a duty to review the statement annually. The statement isn't enforceable on the parent.

if the child needs help over and above what is provided in school, the school or the parent can request a statutory assessment which may ultimately lead to a statement of special needs. You can appeal a refusal to assess and IPSEA should be able to help you. The child doesn't have to be in school to be assessed. If you are home educating, the statement generally won't bring any help. The only way to force the LA to provide services and support is if you prove it would be impossible at school, or the LA can't come up with an appropriate school. However, a statement is insurance. While the statement remains in force it has to be reviewed annually.

Link Reference

This article is http://edyourself.org/articles/hesfestalks2014.php. The following links to other websites are contained in the article, displayed as citations to aid you in printing the document.

  1. http://edyourself.org/articles/hesfestalks2015.php http://edyourself.org/articles/hesfestalks2015.php
  2. A Funny Kind of Education http://rossmountney.wordpress.com/a-funny-kind-of-education-2/
  3. More about Alan Thomas http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2657984-educating-children-at-home
  4. the London Home Education Fair http://edyourself.org/articles/conferences.php#homeedfair14
  5. One to One A Practical Guide to Learning at Home http://www.nezertbooks.net/
  6. Teach Your Own The John Holt Book of Homeschooling http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/560019-teach-your-own-the-john-holt-book-of-homeschooling
  7. Project Based Learning Facebook http://project-based-homeschooling.com/books
  8. Face of Home Based Education http://www.personalisededucationnow.org.uk/Research.php
  9. Big Book of Unschooling http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7202546-sandra-dodd-s-big-book-of-unschooling
  10. The Teenage Liberation Handbook http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/305758.The_Teenage_Liberation_Handbook
  11. Home Educating Our Autistic Spectrum Children http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/986883.Home_Educating_Our_Autistic_Spectrum_Children
  12. So What's Wrong With School download as pdf http://sowhatswrongwithschool.wordpress.com/buy-pdf-version/
  13. Currency Converter http://www.currency.me.uk/convert/usd/gbp
  14. So What's Wrong With School http://www.lulu.com/shop/view-cart.ep
  15. section 7 of the Education Act 1996 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/7
  16. serving School Attendance Orders http://edyourself.org/articles/cme.php
  17. Government Home Education Guidelines http://edyourself.org/articles/guidelines.php
  18. raising of the participation age in England http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/576
  19. here http://edyourself.org/articles/edphilgeneral.php
  20. Government Guidelines http://edyourself.org/articles/guidelines.php
  21. euisdem generis http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Ejusdem+generis
  22. the new CME Guidance http://edyourself.org/articles/deregistration.php
  23. Download summary here http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/9780470774328
  24. Hesfes 2014 http://sowhatswrongwithschool.wordpress.com/
  25. So What's Wrong With School download as pdf http://sowhatswrongwithschool.wordpress.com/buy-pdf-version/
  26. Currency Converter http://www.currency.me.uk/convert/usd/gbp
  27. So What's Wrong With School http://www.lulu.com/shop/view-cart.ep
  28. "Troubled Families" http://www.insidegovernment.co.uk/event-details/troubled-families/381/#agenda
  29. APPG at Westminster http://edyourself.org/articles/allpartygrouphomeeducation.php
  30. Education Committee Recommendations http://edyourself.org/articles/edcomsupporthomeed.php
  31. Education Otherwise Government Policy Group http://edyourself.org/articles/EO.php
  32. LA EHE Regional Network http://edyourself.org/articles/conferences.php
  33. subscribe to Newsletter http://edyourself.org/newsletter.php
  34. Campaign Workshops 2007 http://edyourself.org/articles/2007workshops.php
  35. 152 local authorities http://edyourself.org/articles/costhomeeducation.php
  36. Numbers http://edyourself.org/articles/latotalnumber.php
  37. Trend in Numbers http://edyourself.org/articles/lalinegraph.php
  38. What are LAs Allowed To Do http://edyourself.org/articles/helaw.php
  39. Council Web Pages http://edyourself.org/articles/councilwebpages.php
  40. LAs and Autonomous Education http://edyourself.org/articles/autonomous.php
  41. Raising Participation Age http://edyourself.org/articles/leavingage.php
  42. Guidance from DfE on Home Ed 16+ http://edyourself.org/articles/leavingage.php#newguidancemarch2013
  43. APPG October 2014 http://edyourself.org/articles/allpartygrouphomeeducation.php#oct2014
  44. Home Ed 16+ Benefits http://edyourself.org/articles/claimbenefitspost16s.php
  45. The GOV.UK page http://edyourself.org/articles/childbenefit.php
  46. Child Benefit FOI http://edyourself.org/articles/childbenefit.php#questions
  47. 14-16 College http://edyourself.org/articles/14-16collegeFAQ.php
  48. Westminster Meeting 2013 http://edyourself.org/articles/allpartygrouphomeeducation.php#apgfe14-16
  49. Wolf Report http://edyourself.org/articles/WolfReport.php#14-16collegelatest
  50. Positive examples 14-16 College http://edyourself.org/articles/WolfReport.php#14-16spositive
  51. Exams Introduction http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php
  52. Useful Links for Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php#links
  53. FAQ for Exams Officers http://edyourself.org/articles/examofficers.php
  54. APPG October 2014 http://edyourself.org/articles/conferences.php#apgoct14
  55. Access to Music http://www.accesstomusic.co.uk/open-days
  56. Crest Awards http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/british-science-association-crest-awards
  57. More on Crest Awards http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/collection/966/crest-awards
  58. John Muir Awards http://www.jmt.org/jmaward-home.asp
  59. Smallpeice Trust http://www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk/
  60. Smallpeice Trust information for parents http://www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31
  61. University of Kent Space School http://astro.kent.ac.uk/mds/Spaceschool/
  62. University of Leicester Space School http://spaceschool.co.uk/M_Spaceschool/
  63. Headstart http://www.etrust.org.uk/headstart
  64. ASDAN awards http://www.asdan.org.uk/about
  65. Arts Awards http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=1954
  66. Setting up Arts Award Centre http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=71
  67. as seen by recent letters to LAs http://edyourself.org/articles/guidelines.php
  68. Children Missing Education Guidance http://edyourself.org/articles/cme.php
  69. Raised Participation Age http://edyourself.org/articles/leavingage.php
  70. Flexischooling http://edyourself.org/articles/flexischooling.php
  71. Having to do English and Maths GCSE for 6th form http://edyourself.org/articles/WolfReport.php#compulsengmath
  72. Children and Families Act: family law http://edyourself.org/articles/candfact2014.php#changefamlaw
  73. Tax Credits etc Being Scrapped http://edyourself.org/articles/welfarereform.php
  74. Universal Credit http://edyourself.org/articles/welfarereform.php#universalcreditdelay
  75. Legal Changes to SEN http://edyourself.org/articles/candfact2014.php
  76. Education Health and Care Plans http://edyourself.org/articles/newcode.php#EHCplans
  77. New SEN Code of Practice http://edyourself.org/articles/newcode.php#ehecomment
  78. Personal Budgets and Direct Payments http://snafu2.org.uk/
  79. here http://www.ehe-sen.org.uk/
  80. a new SEN system http://edyourself.org/articles/candfact2014.php
  81. here http://www.specialneedsjungle.com/sen-law-douglas-silas/
  82. a duty http://ehe-sen.org.uk/statement.php