Home Schooling – Home Education
Can you foster if you home school?
The short answer is yes!
Fostering Service Regulations 2002 Regulation 16
‘The fostering service provider shall promote the educational attainment of children placed with foster parents’
The Regulation states the fostering agency’s duty, and as with the Education Act, the type of education is not defined.
You can apply to become a foster carer if you home educate (home school) your own children. The assessment would just need to look at the extra issues that home educating would have for you as a foster carer and for them as the placing agency.
The related questions from the assessing agency would probably cover the following;
- why and when you decided to educate your child at home, and is your child settled and ready for the challenges?
- your and your child’s attitude to the UK education system, are you anti the school system?
- how would you explain your decision to a foster child and encourage and support the foster child’s schooling?
- how would you manage taking to and collecting a child from school, would you have the flexibility?
- how easily would you liaise with the child’s school, would home educating effect your commitment to promoting a child’s schooling?
- how would you respond if your child asked to attend or to return to school?
If the assessment is started, any schools your child might have attended would probably be contacted as part of the referencing process.
As a home-educating (or homeschooling) family, along with all other types of fostering, you would be a particularly good match to foster pre-school children, school leavers, mother and baby placements, and asylum-seeking children.
Because most people are not sure about their legal position or the process, below is a summary of how to home educate in the UK, your duty, your child’s right to be educated, the law and your local authority.
We hope you find this helpful.
Home Education in England – Scotland – Wales – Northern Ireland
National Law – A brief summary
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Parent’s duty – children’s rights
The Education Act 1996 Section 7
‘The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable :
(a) to his age, ability, and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs, he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’.
The Act states your duty as a parent to ensure that your child receives an appropriate education ‘at school or otherwise’, in this instance, at home. You may elect to home educate at any stage up to the end of compulsory school age. Your duty applies equally where a child has SEN.
As a parent, you are not required to register or seek approval from the local authority to educate your children at home. However, if your child attends a special school, you should seek agreement from the local authority before your child’s name can be removed from the register. That agreement may not be unreasonably withheld.
If your child is registered with a school, to home educate you need to write to your child’s school stating that your child is being educated otherwise than school and that your child’s name should be deleted from the admissions register.
Local authority duties
Local authorities have a statutory duty to establish the identities, so far as it is possible to do so, of children in their area who are not receiving a suitable education. However, the duty does not apply to children who are being educated at home.
Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis. However, most local authorities will contact you on an annual basis and you should respond to those communications.
Education (Scotland) Act 1980 – Section 30
(1) ‘It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of school age to provide efficient education for him suitable to his age, ability and aptitude either by causing him to attend a public school regularly or by other means.’
As a parent you have the choice to fulfill your duty by educating your child at home, however, you need consent.
If your child has been attending a public school you must seek the local authority’s consent before withdrawing your child from that school.
Consent is not needed to home educate in itself. Consent is not needed if your child has never attended a public school or if your child has never attended a public school in that authority’s area.
Consent is not needed if your child is being withdrawn from an independent school, or your child has finished primary education in one school but has not started secondary education in another. Or if the school your child has been attending has closed.
Write to the local authority informing them of when you wish to withdraw your child from school and how you will educate him or her. You are not required to give any reasons for your decision.
If you home educate your child, most authorities will contact you annually, however, the authority is not required to visit or have a right of access to the home and your child.
There is no statutory duty upon parents to inform the local authority that they are home educating (homeschooling) if they do not require consent.
We need to state that we believe that the information above is accurate at the time of writing.