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Home Education – A Right to Return?

16 May 2019

One of the interesting recommendations from the Timpson Review relates to home education. As part of the Timpson Review, there were reports of schools encouraging parents to remove their children from school to home educate, to avoid the need for exclusion. The recommendation from Edward Timpson is that the DfE should explore a ‘right to return’ period so that children would be entitled to a place back at the school that they had last attended if the parents subsequently realised home education was not for them.

The DfE has been non-committal on the specific recommendation, agreeing to consult in the autumn on how to mitigate against unintended consequences of the accountability system. Practically there would be questions how such a right would be enforced, how long the period would be for and how parents would even know about it.

The DfE is already consulting on a set of changes around home education that include a proposed new duty on parents to inform their local authority if they home educate their child.

Whilst parents are free to choose to home educate, schools have to be careful to not appear as encouraging this as an option, especially where parents would not be in a position to offer a suitable education.

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