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a page for information, news and comment in Lewisham


table of contents:



related links:


Meeting the LA Education Department

Guidance on improving LEAs


EHE Consultation


Ray Harris

Lewisham Children & Young People’s Directorate


3rd floor, Laurence House

1 Catford Road

Catford  SE6 4RU


Local authority

Please Specify: On behalf of Lewisham


1 Do you agree that it is helpful for the DfES to issue guidelines to local authorities?





Comments: The tricky thing for all LAs is to be sufficiently involved while being mindful of the law when parents want to keep the Local Authority at a distance. In most cases there is no problem. It is good that the guidelines quote legal cases, and it will be helpful in future if notes of other cases are circulated with any available view about how they support (or not) the guidelines.


2 Do you agree that the description of the law (paragraphs 2.1-2.3) relating to elective home education is accurate and clear?


Not Sure




Comments: 2.1 and 2.2 seem OK. The link of ‘suitable’ education to the often quoted legal judgement appears to us to be reached too rapidly. Could you perhaps say that a ‘suitable’ education equips the child to grow as a skilled and participant member of society, with a sub-statement that the only known time it has been tested in law was in relation to a child being brought up in a strongly religious community at which time the judgement made was … (as you have written). We are concerned that some parents might use this guidance simply to define their lifestyle/group as the ‘community’ they wanted their child to be prepared for, whereas the judgement seems to be related to a well-formed community. (It is important to bear in mind throughout the guidance that we do not wish to appear to give opportunities to those few parents who use EHE as the alternative to dealing properly with family situations which may have led to poor attendance or exclusion from school.)


3 Do you agree that the description of local authorities’ responsibilities (paragraphs 2.5-2.11) is accurate and helpful?


Not Sure



Comments: 2.5-2.6 OK; 2.7 doesn’t need bold text. It would be useful here to have some suggestions of what might cause the LA to be initially concerned about the child’s situation (which would normally not of themselves lead the LA to consider the education unsuitable but which would lead to particular attention being given): e.g. a child protection review, a letter from the school previously attended, an anonymous phone call. This is balanced by the positive statements for parents in para 3.4.

We feel 2.11 is simply a statement of the law and does not offer LAs guidance. Perhaps a note referring on to para 3.7 would be useful. Does the LA even have a right to contact parents because they are home educating?


4 Do you agree that the section on contact with the local authority (paragraphs 3.4-3.7) is accurate and helpful?




Comments: 3.4 could be usefully added to by writing, after the first sentence, “and it is normal for the LA to contact each family when the LA is aware that EHE is being undertaken.”


5 Do you agree that the section on providing a full-time education (paragraphs 3.11-3.14) – and in particular, the characteristics of provision (paragraph 3.13) – is accurate and helpful?





Comments: We think paragraph 3.11 is not very helpful, although it appears to reflect a view of a specific structure which may still be assumed in a few LAs. It is not appropriate to suggest in the last sentence that a LA should offer support, though many will do so. It could be better to redraft this to describe the sort of arrangements which might be made (it then overlaps with para 3.13 but there could be a restructuring here): things like home educating parents will probably be able to describe the arrangements they make; show how they will help their children to progress; provide a range of experiences in which they can say what their children might learn; ensure their children take sufficient physical exercise; make arrangements for their child to have contact with others of a similar age on a fairly regular basis; design activities which involve progress in reading, writing and speaking English and which cover development of mathematical skills (in our view the list need not be much longer).

Para 3.14, in our view, seems to reduce the process of ascertaining educational provision to a tick list and a report to tell parents when they have failed. The real process involves more discussion; a first visit where the situation is thought unsatisfactory will probably include an offer of advice and example materials etc. The report is likely to be a note reminding a parent what needs to be implemented rather than a full report. you could include here a sample visit form (we would offer ours if you wish)


6 Do you agree that the section on developing relationships (section 4) is useful?




Comments: This looks good. There is a difficulty for LA officers on home visits trying to note CP issues in the relationship between parent and child but an officer needs to be alert to situations which may show as conflict between parent and child, or extreme acquiescence by the child, or even as the child being unseen.


7 a) Are the suggested resources in section 5 and appendix 2 useful?




Comments: In 5.2 might be added such things as extended schools provision; youth service activities; summer university. After 5.5 there might be a reference to other things to which an EHE child might be entitled. In Lewisham this should include participation in the election of a young Mayor. The para should suggest that LA officers should be alert to provisions made for school pupils which the EHE child might miss – work experience. It won’t necessarily be for the LA to provide, but these need to be in the mind of officers setting up provision for 14-19 year olds.

Para 5.6: we believe the correct register mark for a child on flexi-schooling when not in school should be “authorised educational activity”. This then does not count as an absence in the school register.

We are unsure about para 5.11. It’s possible that GRT families might choose EHE, but the expectations are similar to those for all pupils.

Should there be a separate following paragraph on Looked After Children (for if it were ever to happen that LAC are offered EHE?


7 b) Should any other contacts be included?




Comments: The EO contact address should be:

PO Box 325,

Kings Lynn,

PE34 3XW


8 Please use this space for any other comments you wish to make about the guidelines



Comments: para 3.8 might include something like the following. “While it is clearly a parent’s right to choose to home educate, it is not uncommon for the local authority to be phoned prior to this decision being taken. The intention may be related to issues between the parent and the child’s current school. A local authority officer should not remain disinterested at this point but should be aware that home education could be a final option for the parent and should be alert to problems which may have alternative solutions. The local authority should ensure that all who might receive such calls know the central contact for home education so that suitable action might be taken.”

para 3.10 should follow 3.8 directly. We might take out the last sentence of 3.9 (or change direct to directly). Last sentence of 3.10 – parents do not have to submit proposals. There might be a comment like “If the parent does not wish to give information and the LA has no reason to doubt the quality, the LA would aim to maintain contact with parents but not to put pressure on them to conform to any particular activity.”

Para 3.15 Change second sentence to read “Some children with special educational needs have statements of need, but others do not” (“statemented” is not a description of a child). Last sentence, emphasise “must ensure”.

Para 3.18 Add at end, “The child should be kept on the school roll of a special school until the statement is amended, which will not happen until it is agreed that home education will meet the child’s needs.”


























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