Initial contact – do I have to have a visit from anyone?

The short answer is: No you do not you do not have to have a visit from anyone.

In Staffs the first person you hear from is usually a member of the EHE team at Entrust (who have been outsourced by the Council to provide education services). However if it goes to CME first, then it is not unheard of for someone from CME to turn up on your doorstep. You do not have to any contact with them, let alone a visit, though they may try an insist on visiting your home you can say NO. They do not have automatic right of access to your home, they do not have a right of access to your children. Doorstepping is not good practice and you are well within your rights to make a formal complaint, if that should happen.

If they make an appointment to visit you (and you don’t want to have a visit) and you cancel (if you do cancel make sure you do it in writing either by post or e-mail so there is a record of it and you have proof of postage if posting a letter), ensure you are out that day as they may turn up anyway.

In some cases some Home Educators may decide they would like a visit, in this case we would suggest having another Home Educator in the meeting to ensure you are given correct information by the LEA and we would advise you not to sign anything. If you decide to have a visit,  you may find it better to have it in a public place, and not have the visit at home, in a place such as the library and without your children about. Always talk about your child’s education in the past tense (I.E what you have already done) and take a period of ‘de-schooling’ if you have just de-registered, this is a bit like a holiday, and is generally one month for every year your child was at school.

As stated here;

In the case of R v Surrey Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee, ex parte Tweedie (1963), Lord Parker held that:

‘… education authority should not, as a matter of policy, insist on inspection in the home as the only method of satisfying themselves that the children were receiving full time education.’

and also:

“the Act of 1944 (replaced by the 1996 education act) does not provide for or contemplate an intrusion of a parent’s privacy by inspectors coming into the home and that it is quite wrong for a local authority to insist on such inspection.”

Although we would not suggest ignoring the letter completely. See more here under ‘LA duties’.

The LEA were given the right to make ‘informal’ enquiries through S436 of the 1996 Education Act if it comes to their attention that a parent is Home Educating their child.

So exactly how much information do I need to give?

There is a lot of information out there, so we will try not to replicate it as it is in the link above;

The evidence a court requires to satisfy it that adequate education is taking place, is such as would convince ‘a reasonable person’, ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

This is the same for all LEAs.

What information you give, how much you give, and what format you give it in, is completely up to you. The LEA cannot and should not dictate the form of the information you give them either through visits or otherwise. This is Ultra Vires and they have no standing in law to do this.


One response to “Initial contact – do I have to have a visit from anyone?

  1. Pingback: What if I want to home educate from the start? | HE Staffordshire (HEST)

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