Home Education or Elective Home Education

Home Education or Elective Home Education

The reasons that parents elect to home educate their child or young person are extremely varied however, we find that many parents turn to home education as a reaction to a school-based issue or dissatisfaction with a school environment. If there is a school-based issue, we strongly advise you not to withdraw your child from school until you have explored all the options.

Once your child is off a school roll, you are responsible for ensuring they have a full-time, suitable education. There are no automatic support services or resources for home education.

If you want your child to take GCSEs, this can be very costly. If you would like your child to go back to school in the future, there is no automatic right to return. You will have to go through the normal admissions procedures and there may not be an available place at the school you choose. If you would prefer your child to go to another school, the local authority may be able to help.

For all these reasons, we would suggest you take advice, before opting out of school for your child or young person, either from the Access and Inclusion Service at accessandinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk or one of the independent home education organisations.

Newcastle local authority (LA) believes that:

  • Every child has the right to education that is appropriate to their age, ability, aptitude, and any special educational needs they may have.
  • Parents have the legal responsibility for ensuring that their child is properly educated and we respect their right to choose to educate their child, other than at school, according to their philosophical, ideological or religious views/beliefs.
  • Although we consider that school provides the best learning opportunity, for the majority of children, we affirm that parents have the right to choose how to educate their children outside of the school system and that they do so for a variety of reasons.
  • The decision by parents to elect to educate their child at home should be an informed, active and positive one. It is important that parents obtain sufficient information about home education before making the decision.
  • In order to fulfil our statutory duty to assure ourselves that children who are home educated receive a suitable education, we should promote an active dialogue with parents and work in partnership with them. We find the best way to do this is to offer a home visit with one of our team.
  • If a parent chooses to withdraw their child from school to home educate them, we recognise that they may need time to establish their home education practice. We therefore do not necessarily expect a detailed plan at the beginning and will maintain a regular and supportive dialogue with parents, as appropriate.
  • As well as their educational needs, the local authority will be mindful of a child’s personal, health, safety and welfare needs, at all times.

Newcastle LA will support the choice of parents who elect to home educate, unless it appears to us that suitable provision is not being made for the child. If we consider that provision is not suitable, we will make further investigations.

What is involved in home-schooling

What education should I provide?

The law expects you to arrange an education that is: “suitable for your child”.

What you provide and how you provide it, is up to you.

Some parents follow the National Curriculum, but this is only one way of meeting your child’s educational needs. Following the National Curriculum may make it easier for your child, if they ever wish to return to school. The content of the National Curriculum can be obtained from the address at the back of this document.

When your child is 16 years of age, they will be able to take up post-16 education, training and employment opportunities. Access to these opportunities will depend on your child’s ability and skills. We therefore suggest that the development basic skills of reading, writing, maths, computer literacy and inter-personal skills are a minimum requirement.

To ensure some breadth to your child’s education, areas such as science, humanities, creative arts and physical activity should also be included, where possible.

How should I approach home education?

It is entirely up to you to decide the most appropriate approach.

You should decide what you are ultimately hoping to achieve for your child. You will need to take account of their character and personality and their preferred learning styles.

There are three very broad approaches used by home educators:

  • School at home - This is usually subject-based and may follow textbooks, workbooks and traditional programmes of study. There is usually a “timetable” of subjects being learned.
  • Semi-structured learning - There is a structured learning programme but it is more broadly based than a traditional subject based one. Often children choose areas that interest them and study them in depth.
  • Autonomous learning - This approach involves the child following his/her interests entirely, with encouragement by parents to access a wide range of resources. It does not mean the child doing or learning nothing.

Many new home educators start with School at Home and then become more flexible as their children become more independent learners.

What you teach and how your child learns is up to you. There are many different ways to plan teaching and learning.

Tips

Whilst the following list is not compulsory, Newcastle LA offers the following suggestions for your consideration:

  • Try to make the learning process active, practical, enjoyable and participative, rather than something that is “done” to your child.
  • Vary the style and content of the approach so that your child does not get “bored”.
  • Plan the learning programme systematically rather than piecemeal or with purely haphazard activities, to occupy time.
  • Give appropriate opportunities for independent studies and research as well as direct teaching.
  • Consider ways of assessing what your child has learned from time to time, so that your child can see the progress they are making.
  • Some home educators write a “diary of learning”, which can be used to map progress and identify learning gaps.
  • Take advantage of all the resources available to you e.g. the local environment, library (including the wealth of free resources on the Internet) “night-school”, education courses, leisure facilities, places of interest etc.
  • Give great importance to reading, as being able to read will enable your child to access a wide range of information and knowledge.
  • Don’t forget both physical and social activities that will help develop your child’s skills.
What about socialisation?

When a child attends a school, there are daily opportunities to meet with and interact with other children and adults. There is no reason why home educated children cannot meet with and interact with other children and adults. The only difference is that you will have to create the opportunities. Thousands of children are home educated.

Many formal and informal groups exist that meet together, not only for educational activities but also social activities. These groups network and share ideas and resources. There are details on how to make contact with these groups here:

National Contacts

Examinations Support

Special Needs Support

What funding for equipment, books or visits is available?

Unfortunately, there is no specific national or local funding for home-educators. Some museums etc, give free or discounted admissions to home educators. You may find it useful to build up contacts with other parents also educating their children at home. This also allows you to exchange ideas and resources. You can always explore the possibility of group discounts on entry fees for educational visits.

There is an increasing amount of free learning material on the internet.

Exams

What about exams?

Home educated children can take GCSEs, but the exams costs money.

In the majority of cases, if a young person wants to take a GCSE which requires an exam, the exam has to be taken at an approved exam centre, usually a secondary school or post 16 provider. As a home educator you will have to contact the provider directly. You can contact individual examination boards in order to find out the precise way in which they handle private candidates. Making contact with one of the home education support organisations for advice on GCSEs can be most useful. You will have to pay for any exam registration fee and assessment of coursework by an accredited person. At the time of writing, [March 2018] the registration fee for a GCSE exam is approximately £30-50 per subject plus an administration fee.

If you want your child to take GCSEs, at no cost, they will need to be on a school roll. To enable them to be on a school roll for Year 10 and Year 11, you should start the process the preceding autumn. Some schools start GCSEs in Y9. You should contact the Schools Admission team at admissions.information@newcastle.gov.uk for advice on school places.

  • Correspondence courses are also available, although they can be expensive (about £300+ per subject).
  • If your child wants to go on to Higher Education, universities do not necessarily expect GCSEs, - A-level grades are more important. Universities do not discriminate against home educated applicants as they often view home educated children as motivated self-learners.
What should I do if my child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

If your child has an Education Health Care Plan (statement of SEN), you must ensure that you can make suitable provision for your child’s SEN before home educating. If your child attends a mainstream school, you should ensure that you can meet their needs before withdrawing them and then write to the Head Teacher stating that you intend to home educate.

If your child attends a special school, you need to discuss this with the LA before you withdraw your child. However, so long as you can show that the education you will be providing will meet your child’s needs, as well as being suitable for his or her age, ability and aptitude, home education should be agreed.

Once home education has been agreed, the LA no longer has the responsibility to arrange special educational provision for your child. Nevertheless, the LA must continue to maintain the EHCP/statement, which will be amended, to record that you have made your own arrangements for your child’s education.

The SEN team will continue to arrange an annual review for students with and EHCP.

Plan

Planning for the future

When embarking on home education, you need to consider what you and your child wants the outcome to be at the end of the journey. All parents will want their child to be a happy, rounded individual who can be successful in whatever they choose to do in the future. At some point, your child is likely to want a job or career. The route for achieving this needs to be considered carefully. If exams, qualifications and academic success are important, advance planning is essential.

Education opportunities in the wider community

There is a wealth of resources in the wider community, available to home educators such as libraries, parks, community centres, museums, nature reserves, art galleries, historic buildings, theatres, colleges, tourist information centres.

Children and young people not on a school register

If your child is of pre-school age, or has already left a school roll, you do not have to inform Newcastle LA, however it would help considerably if you can contact the Access and Inclusion Service at accessandinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk stating your intention to educate your child at home and reasons why, giving the following information:

Name of children or young people Date of birth Address and telephone/email contact Starting date

Steps involved in home-educating

Once the school becomes aware that a parent is considering home-educating or intends to home educate:

Step 1

The school will send the parent an information leaflet explaining the LA guidance on Elective Home Education and ensure the head teacher or pastoral lead has an opportunity to speak to parents to check that they are making an informed choice.

Step 2

If the parent is sure that this is the right thing for their child, they should write to the head teacher to explain that they wish to educate their child at home and request that the school remove them from the register. If they are unsure they can contact the attendance team at attendanceservice@newcastle.gov.uk for advice or a national organisation such as the Home Education Advisory Service at www.heas.org.uk.

Step 3

The school should notify the Access and Inclusion Service of a parent’s intentions and that they intend to remove the pupil from the school register through the Newcastle Schools to Services website. The Elective Home Education Specialist will contact parents within 10 days once they receive notification from school and arrange to undertake a home visit.

Step 4

At the initial visit the Specialist will discuss how you plan to educate your child. It is helpful if you have an education plan which may include the following: subjects to be studied, projects undertaken, examples of your child’s work and the resources you will be using. How you will assess your child’s learning and how you will show progression is also important. If you are new to home education, we understand that there may be limited evidence. We would ask you to show, by whatever means you can, what you have or intend to arrange for your child’s education. The EHE Specialist may also make some suggestions for further improvement. The majority of home educators have clear reasons for choosing home education and can easily satisfy the Specialist that they have suitable plans in place. If the Specialist is satisfied that you are providing, or have clear plans to provide, a suitable education for your child, they will tell you and a follow-up visit will be made approximately 12 months later.

Step 5

Approximately 12 months after the visit, we will write to you again with a proposed date for a follow-up visit to discuss your child’s educational progress.

Step 6

If the Specialist considers that you are not providing, or cannot provide a suitable education, they will tell you and arrange a further visit. If after a number of visits the Specialist considers that you are still not providing, or cannot provide a suitable education, Newcastle local authority may consider more formal action. This can include issuing a School Attendance Order which will direct a parent to register their child at a school.

If, as a result of any visit the Specialist has major safeguarding concerns, in the interest of the child, they may refer to Newcastle’s Children’s Social Care initial response team.

Where Can I get help?

Newcastle Access and Inclusion Service

Newcastle Access and Inclusion Service is responsible for arranging and managing the visits to parents who elect to educate their child at home.

For any queries about home education please:

Newcastle Special Educational Needs and Disability Information and Support Service (SENDIASS)

Newcastle SENDIASS provide information, advice and support at any stage of a child or young person’s education and provide an Independent Supporter for families in the process of getting an Education Health and Care Plan.

This is an impartial confidential service providing information, advice and support for:

  • parents and carers of children with special educational needs
  • children and young people up to the age of 25 years

Contact SENDIASS via:

Health Services

Electively home educated children in Newcastle do not automatically receive the health support services that visit schools regularly.

Routine Health Checks and immunisations that are provided for children at school:

  1. Eye checks - done through the Orthoptist in school
  2. Height and weight in Reception and Year 6 - done with school or school nurse/health assistant
  3. Around 12-13 years - cervical cancer vaccine (HPV) which protects against cervical cancer (girls only) 3 jabs given within 6 months – via your GP
  4. Around 13-18 years - diphtheria, tetanus and polio booster, given as a single jab – via your GP

Vaccinations - NHS (www.nhs.uk) - provides a full list of routine and non-routine immunisations.

You should let your GP know that you are home educating so that they can provide information, guidance and advice about routine health checks.

Newcastle School Health Service can be contacted on 0191 2823411

Careers and Guidance

The Careers and Guidance team in Newcastle are based in Newcastle City Library and can be contacted on 0191 277 1944.