Home Educators Handbook Wales June 2023

On June 12th 2023 the Welsh Government published its Home Educators Handbook with “Information for parents and carers who are educating their child at home and those who are considering doing so.” My page on home education in Wales is here and my page on the 2023 Welsh EHE guidance is here.

The Handbook gives advice about home education requirements; what to expect from the local authority; plus how to access services when your child is out of school.

Extracts from the Handbook

You do not need permission from the local authority to home educate (unless your child is registered at a special school). You do not have to follow a curriculum, although it may be a useful reference. What learning opportunities you provide and how your child learns are up to you, providing that the education you provide is ‘full-time’, ‘suitable’ and ‘efficient’.” [1.5]
You should never be encouraged by the school to home educate because of your child’s poor behaviour, poor attainment or poor attendance. This is especially so if you are influenced to home educate to avoid permanent exclusion or prosecution due to non-school attendance.” [1.9]
In order for a local authority to satisfy itself of the suitability of education provided by the parents or carers it is not unreasonable for the local authority to see and communicate with the child.”[2.11]
The individual circumstances of each child and their family should inform decisions about when to see a child. Such a meeting does not have to take place in the home; it can take place in a mutually agreed location. The local authority is expected to make every reasonable effort and to be accommodating when arranging these meetings, which are an opportunity for local authorities to discuss the education provided and any support the family may need. Parents and Gillick competent children are not, however, obliged to meet with the local authority and are free to decline a meeting if they so wish. (A child can make their own decisions when they have sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up their own mind on the matter requiring decision (Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] UKHL 7).) “[2.11]
If the local authority is not reassured that you are providing a suitable education, due to, for example, a lack of information provided by you or the information you have provided does not make it clear that the education is suitable and efficient, the local authority will continue to engage with you to provide that information.” [2.13]
If the local authority, having made all reasonable attempts through discussions with you, remains unsatisfied that the education you are providing is suitable and efficient, they will follow formal processes outlined in legislation.” [2.14]
“In evidencing the suitability of educational provision, you may, for example, provide this information in the following ways:

  • information sent by email as an attachment
  • your child showing some of their work or talking about their learning
  • original work
  • photocopies of written work
  • photographs
  • artwork
  • scrapbooks
  • musical and sporting achievements (certificates)
  • a diary of events
  • CD recordings
  • using digital media
  • websites contributed to or created by your family
  • a written report” [2.26]

“There has been a package of support agreed with individual local authorities which is outlined below.

  • Home educating families have the opportunity to sit examinations in a local centre.
  • Home educating families are able to request that local authorities determine whether their child has ALN (additional learning needs).
  • Home educating families are able to make referrals for their child to access counselling.
  • Home educating families should be aware of referral processes to careers advisers.
  • Enhanced access is available to libraries (to borrow more books).
  • Local authorities will provide a local offer, which comprises a bespoke local activity offer and allocation of consumable materials, where any home educating grant funding permits.
  • Home educating families will have access to Cadw sites.
  • Home educating families will be signposted to Welsh language support.” [4.9]

Handbook Headings

  • What home education is
  • ‘Full-time’, ‘suitable’, and ‘efficient’ education
  • Why parents and carers home educate
  • Support if you feel pressured to home educate
  • Questions to consider before deciding to home educate
  • What to do if you decide to educate your child at home
  • What to do if your child has an individual development plan (IDP) or a statement of special educational needs (SEN)
  • What to do if you would like a flexi-schooling arrangement
  • Rights of the child
  • Rights and responsibilities of the parent or carer
  • Responsibilities of the local authority
  • What will happen if it appears you’re not providing a suitable education
  • How to evidence satisfactory education provision
  • Following a curriculum when home educating
  • Ways you can educate your child
  • What good education looks like
  • Funding and support
  • Children returning to school
  • The social aspect of school
  • What to do if your child wants to go into further education
  • Private tutors
  • How to access Welsh language support
  • Support from my local authority
  • Entitlement to careers advice
  • Hwb
  • Examination support
  • How to prepare your child for their examinations
  • IGCSEs
  • Alternatives to GCSEs
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families
  • Safety on the internet
  • Children’s advocacy
  • The Children’s Commissioner for Wales
  • Mediation between child and parent or carer
  • Mediation between parent or carer and school
  • Accessing support services
  • Health services
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Additional learning needs (ALN) and special educational needs (SEN) support
  • SNAP Cymru
  • Neurodevelopment services
  • Independent counselling
  • Family information service (FIS)
  • Families First
  • Useful contacts and resources