Home Education And Your Legal Rights
A vaccination poster drawn by a child in a Westminster school, shows the social conditioning going on in today’s schools.
Isn’t school a legal requirement?
Do I have to register as a home educator with the Local Authorities?
Am I required to have home visits from the LA?
No. If the LA becomes aware you are home educating, they may invite you to meet with one of their consultants to discuss how you educate your child, but this is voluntary.
They can then ask for written evidence of the child’s education. This is also voluntary, as the LA has no authority over home educated children. Their job is to over see schools and to monitor children who are not being educated at all, i.e. not in school and not learning at home either.
You can refuse to provide information to them, but it would be better if you didn’t. Examples of information include samples of work, a diary of the activities you do or list of subjects your child learns.
Learning does not have to be formal, it could be part of every day life. For instance, my 6 year old daughter was telling the time on a clock on the bus we were travelling on.
If you would rather not go into explicit detail with the LA, you can write an ‘educational philosophy’ of your aims and objectives for your child’s education.
What if the LA isn’t happy with my response?
According to 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)).
This means that if you have not provided information or they aren’t satisfied with the information, they have to serve you with a written notice to provide more information.
Section 437 (2) states that you are allowed a minimum of 15 days from recieving the notice to comply with their request.
If you don’t respond, they can then refer you to social services. Legally, they are not allowed to refer you to social services without first serving you this notice and giving you time.
In the majority of cases, the education is found to be suitable. If not, they may make suggestions on how you could improve.
What If My LA Reports Me To Social Services Without Asking For Evidence Of Education?
Unfortunately since the government informed LA’s they have no legal power of enforcement with home educated children, they sometimes refer parent’s to social services without requesting evidence of the child’s education.
If they do this, they are BREAKING THE LAW.
You can write a letter to your LA in this instance, and remind them of their legal obligation.
They did this to me and here’s the letter I wrote them as an example:
‘I recently declined home visits for my home educated child and telephoned your department twice to request that someone contact me about my daughter’s education. I spoke to a secretary on one occassion who told me incorrectly that I had to accept home visits. I then informed her of the law on this subject and asked her to get you to contact me with regard my child’s education. No one phoned me or replied to my telephone message.
I also emailed you to say I would send in a report of my daughter’s work but I did not get any response. I was not told where to send the report. In fact, you have never spoken to me.
Now it transpires you have referred me to social services.
I would like to remind you of your legal obligation. It states in ‘Elective Home Education: A Guide For Local Authorities’, from the children, schools and families dept that
According to section 437(1) of the education act 1996, ‘if it appears to the local authority that a child of complusory school age is not recieving suitable education, either 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 recieving a suitable education. ‘
Section 437 (2) states that the period will not be less than 15 days from when the notice was given.
It is only after that time and after I have sent in information, that you are allowed to notify social services if you are not happy with my response.
I did not recieve a written request from you for information, only a standard letter about home visits which I declined. I did not get any response to my repeated communications and I did not recieve a notice to provide information or have my minimum 15 days in which to respond.
What you did in referring me to social services without giving me a notice first, is illegal.
Please follow the proper procedure as defined in law. If you are unsatisfied with the information provided after you have sent me this notice, then I will see a social worker.
Please would you kindly inform me which email address I am to send information to or which address if you require it as a paper copy.
I look forward to your request for information.
If you have provided satisfactory information, then there is no reason for the LA to give you a notice to provide that information, or issue a school attendance order. If they don’t respond to your communications, try again as they may not have recieved your letter or email. Telephone to clarify and avoid any misunderstandings.
If you have a social services visit and they want to discuss home education, tell them it is not a child protection issue and your child’s education is a matter for the LA.
If there is any confusion as to why you have been referred, get your solicitor to write them a letter asking them to outline the details of why you have been referred.
If you are at all worried, you can have a solicitor present at the meeting. This can be helpful in case there are any unfounded allegations.
Remember, don’t worry. Home education is LEGAL and the LA have no power of enforcement over home educated children.
The only time they can legally intervene is when a child is found to be not educated or there is an issue with abuse or neglect.
How Often Will The LA Ask To See Information?
There is no legal requirement for LA involvement with home educated children, so therefore there is no suggestion for how often any visits or requests for information are.
Some LEA’s like to check once a term, other’s once a year. There is no rule.
I’ve been told the health visitor can’t close my child’s file unless I inform the LA I am home educating, is this true?
That isn’t true. She can close the file. At any rate, health visitors are voluntary, not mandatory. If you don’t want to see one, you don’t tick the box for child health surveilance on your’s child’s GP registration form and put a black line through it with permanent marker to make sure the surgery receptionist doesn’t tick the box for you.
Then you won’t have any difficulty if you choose to home educate.
Why Would I Not Want Home Visits?
Some parents find LA visits helpful, particularly if the consultant is pro home education. A parent can receive suggestions for activities and advice if there is a problem.
Some LA consultants base their reports on the national cirriculum and school based education, which usually doesn’t apply to home education, so they may unfairly judge you.
They can write negative reports and damage your confidence or your child’s confidence.
Some parents don’t like the idea of their home being inspected. If this is the case, but you would still like visits, you can request the visit somewhere else.
Sometimes LA’s can be unsympathetic or hostile and involve social services, particularly if there are other issues like non-vaccination, single parenthood or disability, and many families find it easier just not to be involved with them.
If your child has never been to school, there is no reason to inform the LA and most parents in that position, choose not to have LA involvement.
Statement From Derbyshire LA
The principles we work to insist on positive, supportive language. We do our utmost to avoid negative or judgemental comments.
As a LA, we believe that the best place for the majority of children to learn is in a school, however we accept that for some children, EHE is as, if not more appropriate for them than attending school. We are never unsympathetic or hostile.
In talking to other home educating families, I have found that experiences vary greatly depending on the area you live in and your particular consultant. Some LA visits can be positive, others not.
Government Are Trying To Assert That Home Educator’s Are Potiential Child Abusers
They are currently involved in a consultation which asserts that home educated children may be at risk for child abuse – a completely unfounded claim that is based solely on their desire to end or limit the right to home educate, and probably brought to the fore because there are now 55,000 home educated children in the UK and the numbers are rising all the time.
Please PROTEST this discrimination strongly by voicing your opinion to their consultation, online here:
No other community would be accused of child abuse without evidence or just cause. For instance, vegetarians are not accused of nutritional neglect for choosing to raise their children meat free so why should a home educating family be classed as potiential child abusers just for choosing where their child in educated, and wanting to direct their child’s education?
Parents who are in a slightly ‘different’ family set up, eg, single mothers, those on welfare, those with a disabled child, may find themselves targetted by the authorities.
For instance, I am disabled and I was accused by the government organisation Surestart of ‘home educating so my daughters could ‘care’ for me. I don’t require any care and never have. This was clearly DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION, using home education as an excuse. I am currently involved in a lengthy complaint to the government and would urge any home educator or those considering it to write to your MP to stand up for your right to home education.
DID YOU KNOW?
16 British children a year, commit suicide because of bullying at school.
450,000 children are the victims of bullying each WEEK in school.
50% of those bullied will think about committing suicide.
86% of schools did NOTHING to address the bullying problem.
84% of those schools BLAMED THE CHILD for being ‘too sensitive’.
“Each week 450,000 children are bullied in school. Another 500,000 are taunted
by their peer group in the community. And more than one in five children will
turn to suicide as a way out of being severely bullied” writes Debbie Andalo. ”
It is an image that MPs highlight in their report into bullying in school
published in March 2007. The report by the Commons Education and Skills Select
Committee claims up to 20% of young people experience some kind of general
bullying. But this can be as high as 50% among pupils in secondary schools who
are attracted to the same sex and find themselves at the receiving end of
homophobic taunts. The incidence of bullying is also substantiated by figures
from the child support charity ChildLine, which said it received 37,000 calls
from young people who were bullied between 2005 and 2006 – a 12% rise compared
with the previous year.
(3). At least 16 children commit suicide each year as a result of school
bullying: Neil Marr and Tim Field’s book “Bullycide: death at playtime” reveals
the hidden epidemic of suicide caused by bullying and harassment.
Famous People Who Were Home Educated
US Presidents: John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, Theordore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, James Garfield, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson.
Religious Leaders: William Carey, Jonathan Edwards, Philipp Melancthon, Dwight L. Moody, John Newton, John Owen, Hudson Taylor, Brigham Young, John Wesley.
Inventors & Scientists: Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Cyrus McCormick, Orville & Wilbur Wright, Alec Issigonis, John Moses Browning, Peter Cooper, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Elias Howe, William Lear, Cyrus McCormick, Ruth Lawrence, Guglielmo Marconi, Eli Whitney, Sir Frank Whittle, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Booker T. Washington, Blaise Pascal, George Washington Carver, Pierre Curie, Michael Faraday, Oliver Heaviside.
Architects: Frank Lloyd Wright.
Writers: Hans Christian Anderson, Pearl Buck, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Bret Harte, Mercy Warren, Rumer Godden, Sean O’Casey, Mark Twain, Noel Coward, Angelina Archer, Margaret Atwood, William F. Buckley, Jr., Willa Cather, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Robert Frost, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Alex Haley, Amy Lowell, Gabriela Mistral, Christopher Paolini, Isabel Paterson, Beatrix Potter, Carl Sandburg, Mattie J. T. Stepanek, Mercy Warren, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Musicians: John Barry, Yehudi Menuhin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, John Philip Sousa, Anton Bruckner, Francis Poulenc, Conlon Nancarrow, Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield, Irving Berlin, Louis Armstrong, Hanson, Moffatts, LeAnne Rimes.
Artists: Claude Monet, Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth, Leonardo da Vinci, Jamie Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, John Singleton Copley, William Blake, Ansel Adams, Herbert Spencer.
Actors: Whoopi Goldberg, Frankie Muniz, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Charles Chaplin, Noel Coward, Will Rogers.
Business Entrepreneurs: Amadeo Giannini, Horace Greeley, Soichiro Honda, Peter Kindersley, Ray Kroc, Jimmy Lai, Dr. Orison Swett Marden, Adolph Ochs, Joseph Pulitzer, Colonel Harland Sanders, Dave Thomas.
Famous Women: Abigail Adams, Mercy Warren, Martha Washington, Florence Nightingale, Phyllis Wheatley, Pearl S. Buck.
GCSE Pupils Brainwashed To Support MMR Vaccine
The Government has been accused of using a school exam paper to indoctrinate children about the controversial MMR vaccine. Teenagers sitting a GCSE science exam were awarded marks only if they agreed that the study that first raised fears over the safety of MMR was bad science and biased because money changed hands. The study in 1998 by Dr Andrew Wakefield led to a crisis of public confidence in immunisation. The exam paper was set by UK exam board the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA). It stated that Dr Wakefield claimed to have found a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism and went on to say that his research into children with autism and bowel problems was being funded by lawyers who ‘wanted evidence to use against vaccine manufacturers’.
Marks were awarded for those who said the research was not based on ‘reliable scientific evidence’ and then went on to attack the study sample size either for being too small or for relying on ‘hearsay from parents’ who claimed that their children had suffered damage from MMR. Answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘Might Dr Wakefield’s research have been biased?’ earned another mark if it was backed up with a comment about him being paid by ‘parents/lawyers’.
Dr Wakefield and a campaign group of parents who believe vaccines have damaged their children last night accused the Government of adopting sinister tactics over MMR. Speaking from Texas, where he works at a centre for autistic children, Dr Wakefield said: ‘The thought police appear to be saying, “To pass this exam you have to adopt this particular point of view.”
‘We didn’t make any claims that MMR was the cause of anything. The exam question completely misrepresents what we said. The Lancet study received no funding whatsoever.’
Jackie Fletcher, of campaign group JABS, said: ‘This is an insidious way of shaping young people’s opinions.’
Last night AQA apologised for any ‘misunderstanding’ and removed the GCSE January 2008 Science paper from its website, where it had remained active for schools to use as a test paper.
Source: The Daily Mail, 9th May 2009.
Why I Disagree With Nursery, Surestart and School
1. My initial reasoning to seek alternative education for my children (which was Steiner schooling earlier on in my parenting life) was that through running VAN, I had heard of several cases of FORCED vaccination in school and I felt that I could not guarantee my child’s safety in a school, from that procedure. In the Steiner schools, many are not vaccinated or selectively vaccinated and homeopathy is used as first aid so I felt this represented our views as a family and how we wanted to raise our children.
2. Bullying in school is still rife and most schools don’t admit it. They have these posh anti-bullying statements but they don’t mean anything in real life. I myself was beaten, kicked, taunted and other students refused to sit next to me in class. Some adults (teachers/carers) were involved in this, too. Kids in this environment are picked on for a wonky nose, braces, ginger hair, or whatever else the child feels like bullying them over. 16 British children kill themselves due to bullying every year. My children aren’t going to be part of the statistic.
3. School education is based on fundamental Christianity (no offence to any Christians, if that is your faith, good for you) – and our family are not that way inclined. We are more spiritual than religious.
4. Schools are touted as ‘socialisation’ for children but they are not. In one class of 4 and 5 year old’s that I walked into, the children were all silent, working on paintings and not talking to each other. It felt unnatural and wrong. I was shouted at when I spoke to a friend in class and learned to keep my head down.
5. Break times are structured with tables with activities outside. Children are no longer allowed to simply chill out during their break.
6. Child abuse is going on in schools. They use public shaming to get the child to conform. My local school puts the child’s name up in a rain cloud on the wall if they don’t follow the rules. Some of my children are sensitive and would be really upset by that and I think it is a form of emotional abuse and that social services should investigate THAT.
7. Social conditioning is happening in socialogy classes at schools. For instance, classes on why vaccinations are great (in spite of lots of evidence that says the opposite) to pressure children into submitting to shots, since they can consent independently of their parents. Sex education for primary aged children is another example. My 7 year old doesn’t even know about sex and I would hit the roof if a teacher spoilt her childhood by mentioning it. They can’t even be children.
8. The hours are way too long – 8.30am till 3.30pm is far too long for a little 5 year old. Nowadays, 1 in 10 tots and small children has depression or mental illness and I think this is a major reason.
9. The school system illegally farms in 4 year old’s when the LEGAL starting age for education is 5. A child does not have to have an education until he is 5 years old, yet all schools begin their intake at 4, and do NOT inform parents that reception is voluntary. This is dishonest and deceitful and does not engender trust between the parent and teachers.
10. Homework is given to primary aged children, when they have already worked 7 hour days – that’s 35 hours a week, and just 5 hours less than a working man’s full time job. I think homework is totally wrong if you school educate and that family time should be family time.
11. I was given forms to sign to say that I agreed with all the policies of the school, which I had to sign for my children to attend. I didn’t agree, and couldn’t opt out of homework or the abusive punishment of children. I could not sign, and there was no room for parental discussion or involvement in how the child was educated.
12. I was given forms threatening to take me to court for non-attendance at school, before the children even attended. Admitedly, they were given to ALL parents, but I found them offensive and did not like the ‘prison’ screw style in which schools are run. Other leaflets given included one on reading, which said
“If your child asks you to read him a story, don’t say ‘I can’t be bothered.’
I couldn’t believe the tone! As if I, as an educated, articulate parent would say that. I felt that leaflets written for the parent were written as if they were meant for 5 year old’s.
13. There were rules about meal times – parents were NOT ALLOWED to give their children chocolate or junk food. I don’t anyway, and am an advocate of healthy living, as you all know from reading this site – BUT parental responsibility and the freedom to choose means that we all have the right to choose what we eat and feed our families. What to make for lunch used to be the domain of mums – now schools think they have the right to do this.
14. You have to apply for ‘permission’ to take your child on holiday. Any holiday without ‘permission’ and you are fined £200. Excuse me, but I gave birth. The child is mine and I choose when we go on holiday, and if that means going in October because it’s cheaper, so be it. I am the parent, not the school.
15. Nurseries and ‘Surestart’ facilities do the opposite of providing a Surestart. They encourage separation of mother and child from as young as 6 weeks, and during the child’s formative years. An ideal environment for a baby or toddler is with his mother, not in an institution, and research has shown over and over again that day care damages children, not to mention increasing the risk of diseases like hib.
No value is placed on a mother actually raising her child and women are encouraged to abandon their babies and head into work as soon as possible. Well, what then is the point of having a baby?
Breast feeding and the importance of full term breast feeding in the first years (a MIMIMUM of two years for every child, recommended by WHO) is not supported by these institutional style agencies proporting to be in the best interests of children.
16. Nurseries and schools have moved away from their intended function – that of providing play and education to children. They are now primarily a state intervention against suspected child abuse and every parent is guilty until proven otherwise, with health visitors and social workers routinely placed in schools and children removed from their families for insane reasons such as ‘he was overweight’ or ‘he didn’t have 5 portions of fruit and veg and day’ (these were REAL cases I read about in the newspaper!).
With the introduction of breakfast clubs and after-school clubs, more and more children do not get to see their family for the majority of the time and the government pressures young mothers to send their 2 year old’s to nursery under the ilusion that it is law because they want to raise the child and erode even more of our parental rights. Then they wonder why there are 6 year old’s with petrol bombs and so many teenage pregnancies? It’s a strong FAMILY structure and love and community that prevent all that.
17. If you are disabled or single or any other group they deem ‘high risk’ they will use schools as a means of monitoring you and the way you are raising your child. For disabled parents, there is no legislation to protect against discrimination in the parenting role. As I am disabled, staying out of a state system was an easier option, having faced discrimination continuously in my parenting life.
Schools Used For Experiments on Our Children – Plans To Vaccinate Every School Child In The UK With Untested Swine Flu Vaccine. Our Kids Are Described As A ‘Captive Audience’
Source: The Guardian, 6 August 2009.
Schools Could Serve As Mass Vaccination Sites
Duncan said schools could serve as mass vaccination sites this fall if swine flu makes a strong comeback. The typical public school is “a natural location” for vaccinations on a large scale. “It’s where our students are.”
Last spring, when the swine flu first struck, federal health officials advised schools with suspected cases to shut down for about two weeks. After investigators found that the bug was milder than expected, the CDC said parents should keep infected children home for a week instead.
Source: USA Today, 7 August 2009.