Parents or carers may decide to provide home-based education for their children instead of sending them to school – this is usually referred to as ‘elective home education’. Hampshire County Council, as the local authority with general responsibility for education in its area (LA) recognises that home education is a key aspect of parental choice and is equal, in law, to education provided in school.
Every Child Matters and the Children Act
Our Policy Statement and Information and Guidance for Parents and Carers seek to support all five outcomes of the government’s Every Child Matters agenda, particularly:
- enjoy and achieve
- make a positive contribution
- achieve economic well-being
Information and Guidance for Parents and Carers
The Children’s Services Department of Hampshire County Council takes the lead role in working with home educators and children and young people who are being home educated in Hampshire. We offer support, advice and guidance to home educators, normally through a series of mutually agreed visits although other options are available (see the ‘Frequently asked questions’ section – ‘What will happen now that my child is being educated at home?’).
Our role is set out in sections 437 to 443 of 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 we may make initial, informal enquiries to ask about the education that is being provided for a child in Hampshire in accordance with that role.
No educational choice should ever be taken lightly. Before deciding to home educate you should consider the time, resources and energy you will need to put into this important area of your child’s life and you may want to involve your child in making that decision.