Thank you for contacting me about home schooling, or elective home education.
All children are entitled to receive a world-class education that allows them to reach their potential and live a fulfilled life, and the Department for Education's objective is to ensure that all parents who decide to educate their child at home are supported.
There is no legal definition of 'full time' education. Home-educating parents are not required to have a timetable, set hours during which education will take place or observe school hours, days or terms. However, the Government believes that home schooling parents should be able to quantify and demonstrate the amount of time for which their child is being educated.
Ministers are aware that home educating parents play a fantastic role in educating their children. However, it is important that children and young people do not drop off the radar and the Department is keen to ensure there are no risks to their wellbeing. As such, the creation of local authority administered registers for home educated children will allow the Department to support local authorities to make sure they know where every child is being taught, that it is of the right quality, and that support is offered to home educating families.
The move to require local authority registration is not intended to undermine privacy nor interfere with parents’ right to educate their child in a way they see fit. These registers will assist local authorities in planning and targeting their resources to children who are truly missing education and to safeguard where it is needed. Indeed, every local authority must provide support to any parent of a child registered in the Children Not In School register.
I can assure you that the Department does not intend to criminalise parents who fail to provide information for their home-educated child to be registered with the local authority. Ultimately however, the important issue is that the child receives a suitable education. The use of existing School Attendance Order procedures will help local authorities achieve this aim and the best outcome for the child.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking