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Flexi-schooling and the Law

So I’ve been thinking recently of home-schooling my son, but I’m not sure which approach I should take or what’s involved in home -schooling – the pros and cons to really make an informed decision before deciding whether home-schooling is right for my family and my son. During my research  I came across the term flexi-schooling. I never heard of flexi-schooling before so I did some reading and I was really drawn to it. But I’m not sure how practical it would be for my family and how it would fit into my schedule. But at least it’s another option.

It is important to note first of all that home education is legal in all parts of the UK. In England and Wales HE is given equal status with schools under section 7 of the Education Act 1996. See also section 444 (3). Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar arrangements.

Flexi-schooling tries to combine the benefits of educating a child at home with the benefits of attendance at School. According to edyourself.org (Home Education & The Law), “Children are registered as pupils at school and attend part-time, but spend other parts of the week being educated off-site by their parents. This arrangement is a matter for the head teacher, rather than the local authority, to negotiate with parents. The child will be required to follow the National Curriculum whilst at school but not whilst he or she is being educated at home. Since the child is a registered pupil at the school, this is technically NOT home education, though the families concerned may consider themselves to be in part-time school and part-time home education.”

Flexi-schooling tries to combine the benefits of educating a child at home with the benefits of attendance at School. According to edyourself.org (Home Education & The Law), “Children are registered as pupils at school and attend part-time, but spend other parts of the week being educated off-site by their parents. This arrangement is a matter for the head teacher, rather than the local authority, to negotiate with parents. The child will be required to follow the National Curriculum whilst at school but not whilst he or she is being educated at home. Since the child is a registered pupil at the school, this is technically NOT home education, though the families concerned may consider themselves to be in part-time school and part-time home education.”

Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children receive a suitable full-time education either by regular attendance at School or otherwise. It is an offence for a parent to fail to ensure that a child of compulsory school age attends regularly at the school at which s/he is registered. However, the 1996 Education Act states that “The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school (a) with leave” (Section 444 (3)). The term “Leave” in relation to a school means “… leave granted by any person authorised to do so by the governing body or proprietor of the school.” (Section 444(9)).

The right to home educate children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) is upheld by section 7 (b) and section 313 (2) of the Act which gives LEAs a duty to have regard to the provision of The Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs, issued by the secretary of State.

One mother shared her experience with the Independent – “Many schools are unaware that flexi-schooling is an option. They often don’t hear about it unless parents request it, and are then hesitant to agree. One common misconception is that local authorities will disapprove, although they have no power to decide – it is the head teacher’s decision. There can be concern that the school’s global absence scores will suffer, but if the child is registered as “educated offsite” rather than absent, for home-based sessions, this will not be an issue…”

There are, however, some difficulties with arranging flexi-schooling. So be sure to do as much research as possible before deciding whether flexi-schooling is right for you and your child.

Links you might find interesting 

Muslim Home Education Network: http://www.muslimhomeschool.net/hsa/homeschoolworks.html

Successful Muslim Homeschooling: https://www.facebook.com/muslimhomeschooling?fref=ts

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