Parents Guidance Complaints

One of the changes the government is considering making to the parents home education guidance is adding information about formal complaints. The proposed new guidance would allow LAs to set their own rules for engagement and the revised draft is presented as the government’s “interpretation” of the law so it is difficult to see how a home education complaint could be upheld.

The new guidance is not ready to be used. It is still at the draft stage. The consultation closed 18.1.24. The current guidance remains in force until such time as a final new version is published. The current guidance can be found here


The Ombudsman will not normally investigate until parents have come to the end of the corporate complaints process. A corporate complaint is sent to the organisation (in this case the local authority) rather than to a person working for the LA. A corporate complaint about education services will have at least 2 stages, comprising investigation and review. The Ombudsman says “You should complain to the organisation first to give them a chance to sort out your problem. You should go through all stages of the organisation’s complaints process” See also Nothing compels a local authority to resolve a formal complaint within 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, safeguarding referrals look set to increase significantly if the new draft guidance goes forward, due to the Department’s “interpretation” of safeguarding law in the proposed new draft which claims that “insufficient information” and lack of detail about home education provision could justify a child protection enquiry.

Statutory Duties

Complaints can also be made about failures to meet statutory duties such as lack of section 19 provision for children unable to attend school including where it is not expedient for a child to attend school and/or for decisions related to EHCPs including missing statutory deadlines around reviews and amendments and failing to secure special educational provision under section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 where the LA has delayed deregistration. The draft home education guidance has nothing to say about any of this. Read more on the link below including links to Ombudsman decisions

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