“I’m afraid this is one of the most common queries I get, but sadly is the one I most struggle to help with as there is no straight forward fix.
The core information to keep in mind is that, when a parent chooses to home educate their child, all associated costs and responsibilities pass to the parent, this included the costs of sitting exams. When a child is at school, the school, the local authority and the government are responsible for all costs and standards of education, but when a child is home educated, the parents take the full responsibility.
This means that home schooling a child is a huge undertaking and comes with legal risks and liability if suitable education isn’t provided. It is a legal requirement for children under 16 to have an education. The majority of parents choose to use a state funded school to do this, and as long as the child attends, there is very little risk for parents. However, parents who attempt to home educate but don’t meet the standards set by the local authority risk fines, a criminal record and even prison in the most serious cases.
My intention is not to frighten or worry you, but it is to make clear the reality, as I deal with far too many cases of parents in scenarios like yourself who feel that school isn’t right for their child, often for a valid reason, but nevertheless find themselves in court and facing hefty fines.
Because of the above issues with home schooling, my first suggestion to parents is to really consider finding a way to make the situation better whilst keeping their child in school. This can be challenging, but I do offer support with this, as do other local and national services. Additionally, the school has a duty to care and provide support for your child, so it is often quite easy to get extra help through the school. Schools should have a huge number of services available to them to offer support where required. I would also add that many children feel anxious about attending school and it can be a very challenging environment, but we know that the outcomes for children who stay in school until 16 are significantly better than those children who are educated at home by a parent. Finally, by only sitting two GCSE’s, this will instantly limit your child’s options when it comes to looking at college, which in England is now mandatory. This essentially means without 5 GCSE’s a significant number of options, careers and jobs will no longer be available to your child in their future. With a good set of GCSE’s your child can go on to do whatever they choose.
If you feel strongly that the current school isn’t supporting your child properly, then it is perfectly acceptable to look for another local school who will. Despite what the government may say, not all schools are the same, I have dealt with some terrible schools, but I have also worked with schools who have seriously impressed me with the help and guidance they give to parents and pupils to ensure they continue to have access to formal education. I, and others, can also assist with this process, which is call an in-year transfer, or managed move. The good thing about this is, you can visit other local schools and ask them questions about how they support children in a similar place to your child, who may have similar needs. Schools will often show you how they work with similar children, which can be really reassuring.
Should you wish to still consider home education, you may reach out to the local authority to see if they have resources to support. This is unfortunately very uncommon, as most LA’s will only fund teams to check the standard of education being given to home educated children and then prosecute parents who are deemed to be providing unsuitable home education. To add, there is no current duty for local authorities to help with electively home educated children.
Should the local authority not be able to support, I would strongly encourage parents of any educational background to seek support from a professional local tutor, who specialises in home education. However, this can be expensive and there is no support available to help with these costs. Additionally, if the tutor resigns or does not provide suitable education, which is unlikely, the responsibility still falls on the parent, meaning that the failure of the tutor could result in parents being prosecuted.
I know this information may not be what you were looking for, but it really is the best advice available for parents needing support when considering home educating children.”