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Home education

The statutory duty of the local authority

The local authority has a statutory duty under section 436A of the Education Act 1996 (inserted by the Education and Inspections Act 2006), to make arrangements to establish the identities, as far as it is possible to do so, of children in the county who are not receiving a suitable education.

If the child is being home educated, this will be recorded on the local authority’s database. SHE will, in due course, contact all the parents of children who are known to them to establish that the home education provided is suitable.

If, after reasonable steps have been taken, the local authority is not satisfied with a child’s home education programme, a school attendance order may be served. 

If parents wish to maintain their child’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, the local authority has a duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met. SHE is responsible for seeing that Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan reviews take place annually, so it can be assessed and amended if necessary.

Although local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 175(i) of the Education Act 2002, they do not have the power to enter the homes or otherwise see children who are home educated, unless there are grounds for concern. See section 17 and 47 of the Children Act 1989.