HE and the Local Authority - 2

In 2007 the Department issued Guidelines for Local Authorities in relation to the discharge of their statutory duties in relation to elective home educators within their area.

The 2007 Guidelines state:


Parents are required to provide an efficient, full-time education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of the child. There is currently no legal definition of "full-time". Children normally attend school for between 22 and 25 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but this measurement of "contact time" is not relevant to elective home education where there is often almost continuous one-to-one contact and education may take place outside normal "school hours". The type of educational activity can be varied and flexible. Home educating parents are not required to:

teach the National Curriculum
provide a broad and balanced education
have a timetable
have premises equipped to any particular standard
set hours during which education will take place
have any specific qualifications
make detailed plans in advance
observe school hours, days or terms
give formal lessons
mark work done by their child
formally assess progress or set development objectives
reproduce school type peer group socialisation
match school-based, age-specific standards
(Section 3.13)

The Guidelines also remind LAs of their legal duty towards children who appear not to be receiving suitable education. This is found in Sections 437 to 443 of the Education Act 1996:

If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education. (s 437 (1))

Beyond this, nothing in the Education Act requires a local authority to carry out regular monitoring of provision where a child is receiving education otherwise than at school.