DfE Advice on school attendance, Feb 2013

Admin

Administrator
Interesting development on the flexi-schooling front in England.

DfE Advice on school attendance, Feb 2013

Can a school agree to a so-called flexi-schooling arrangement; where the pupil is partly educated at school and partly educated at home?

No. Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age receiving full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude. Parents can fulfil this duty by either registering their children at a school or by education otherwise than at a school (which includes home education). The law does not provide for a combination of both. Where parents decide to educate their child at a school, parents have a legal duty to ensure their child attends regularly. If they fail to do this they may be committing an offence. Schools are funded to provide full-time education for all pupils (age 5-16) on their register and therefore are accountable for the standard of education their pupils receive. A flexi-schooling arrangement means some schools would receive a full unit of funding for certain pupils for whom they do not provide fulltime education, and in some cases, may provide very little.
As I have said elsewhere, flexischooling is not home education by definition. However, what the DfE (England only) now appears to be saying is that there will be no capitation allowance paid unless children attend school full time, when up until now they got the dosh as long as they had a name on the register (full or flexi).

It sounds like a penny pinching exercise, perhaps after the flexischooling adherents started advocating to schools that it would be a nice little full time earner with part time responsibility.
 
You're missing the point. The 2007 EHE guidelines specifically mentioned flexi-schooling as an option if the school was agreeable and now, with no warning and no consultation, DfE has changed its mind. If they can do it for flexi-schooling, imagine what else they might try.

Had they consulted, or at least declared that it would no longer be funded after this school year, that would have been a start, but there's now a couple of thousand children who might suddenly and unexpectedly have their lives thrown into turmoil because of a government cock-up.
 

Dad23

Well-known member
This is a major change. A lot of councils are going to have to revise their sites and remove their documents and pdfs explaining how flexi-schooling works in their catchments.

Surrey
Devon (pdf)
Leicester (pdf)
Dorset
West Sussex
Numerous others.

That's not to mention the hundreds (thousands?) of schools that have flexi-schooling related info on their sites and their documentation.

Education Otherwise (pdf), Home-Education.org (pdf) and various other HE sites are going to have to revise their advice as well.

This disrupts (fatally in some cases) various businesses, services etc., built around flexi-schooling particularly in relation to SEN. It blows the Flexischooling conference out of the water.

As llondel points out, there are children under flexischooling now whose fate, it appears, hasn't been taken into consideration.

I don't buy the monetary argument about the unfairness of schools getting full time payment for part time teaching. That argument would appear logical if HE parents currently get a full refund of the cost they are saving the state.
 
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Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
Oh fancy that the link seems to have disappeared methinks the dfe may have realised they have cocked up .
Simple fact of the matter is that many children with disabilities simply cannot manage full time school , it is physically beyond them and therefore they flexi school and as there is no specific law covering this then I don't see how the dfe can change the rules.
Does anyone have a screenshot of the page ?
 

Dad23

Well-known member
Does anyone have a screenshot of the page ?
I can upload a copy of the pdf but this forum has a limit of 200 KB and the file is 400 KB.

Extract is attached but it doesn't provide much more than Ali's post.

Can a school place a pupil on a part-time timetable?
As a rule, no. All pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education. In
very exceptional circumstances there may be a need for a temporary part-time timetable
to meet a pupil’s individual needs. For example where a medical condition prevents a
pupil from attending full-time education and a part-time timetable is considered as part of
a re-integration package. A part-time timetable must not be treated as a long-term
solution. Any pastoral support programme or other agreement must have a time limit by
which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with alternative
provision.

In agreeing to a part-time timetable a school has agreed to a pupil being absent from
school for part of the week or day and therefore must record it as authorised absence.

Can a school agree to a so-called flexi-schooling arrangement; where the pupil is
partly educated at school and partly educated at home?
No. Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age
receiving full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude. Parents can fulfil
this duty by either registering their children at a school or by education otherwise than at
a school (which includes home education). The law does not provide for a combination of
both.
Where parents decide to educate their child at a school, parents have a legal duty to
ensure their child attends regularly. If they fail to do this they may be committing an
offence. Schools are funded to provide full-time education for all pupils (age 5-16) on
their register and therefore are accountable for the standard of education their pupils
receive. A flexi-schooling arrangement means some schools would receive a full unit of
funding for certain pupils for whom they do not provide fulltime education, and in some
cases, may provide very little.

Are pupils entitled to study leave?
No. Study leave should not be granted by default once tuition of the exam syllabus is
complete, and study leave should only ever be granted to pupils in year 11. If schools do
decide to grant study leave, provision should still be made available for those pupils who
want to continue to come into school to revise. ...
 
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Admin

Administrator
Does anyone have a screenshot of the page ?
I think Louisa has the doc saved to one of her Facebook groups. I didn't bother keeping a copy as I had other stresses over the weekend. ;)

As a proud member of the Paranoid Pack :behindsofa:, I find it interesting (but hardly surprising) that it should have disappeared so quickly but it didn't seem to be anything other than (badly drafted) "advice".

At the moment in England, educated "off site" (for which there is still a tickable box) appears to cover all the various incarnations of so called flexischooling, so was there ever any need for a whole new industry to be built around it by home ed opportunists?

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (the primary legislation) states:

Compulsory Education

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.
I once discussed the meaning of "regular attendance at school" with a lawyer (turned politician, then back again) who suggested that part time attendance could still be held to be "regular" if it was, say, 2 days every week or whatever.

However I wouldn't trust a judge to reach such a logical conclusion, just as I wouldn't trust a single sheriff in one particular area of Scotland to make an impartial and sensible decision, based on what the law says, when it comes to home education.
 

Dad23

Well-known member
...as there is no specific law covering this then I don't see how the dfe can change the rules.
There is no specific law saying that LAs have to provide flexi so, strictly speaking and within the rules, the DfE can order schools to stop doing it. It saves them money as the few thousand children currently being flexi-schooled will likely be forced into HE saving the education budget an annual sum equal to roughly £6000 x several thousand pupils.
 

Dad23

Well-known member
At the moment in England, educated "off site" (for which there is still a tickable box) appears to cover all the various incarnations of so called flexischooling, so was there ever any need for a whole new industry to be built around it by home ed opportunists?
I don't know about these opportunists you mention, but I know of a local small business that provides vital services to a children's hospice I'm involved with. If those children (who aren't "full-time residents" at the hospice) can't be registered at a school this business would have to close.
 
The page is still there, Ali's link at the top is broken.

Go to this page and click on the PDF on the RH side.

As an aside, the 2007 EHE guidelines are now missing and the link page to that notes that they are "under review". They're probably removing section 5.6 that specifically mentioned flexi-schooling as an option.

Was it Eastasia or Eurasia this week?
 

Vallhala

New member
This is interesting, particularly as my daughter's school suggested flexi-schooling to me just last week. The school and I are due to discuss it within the next couple of days.

I'm tempted to say nothing of the change to the guidelines and see what happens.
 
Anyone discussing home education with a journalist or government official should have at least an outline of the Khyra Ishaq case, if only to put them in a position to shoot down in flames any suggestion that home education was responsible for her demise.

On that basis, therefore, drawing attention to it is possibly not as inappropriate as it may at first sight seem.
 
I've just read on another list that there was a conference organised last year encouraging schools to offer flexi schooling because it means they get full time cash for part time places. It seems (I have no idea how accurate this info is but will post more as/when it turns up) that the plan backfired as the Gov realised then how much money is being paid for children who aren't actually there and that is why they want to put a stop to it.
 

Admin

Administrator
That conference was organised by an outfit I used to have significant involvement with, but from which I resigned several years ago when issues came to light that were not dealt with properly.

Having just found my name and my husband's still listed on the website as trustees, along with someone who died last year, I am not at all amused.

They are apparently planning another flexischooling conference, which will be a bit of a damp squib in the circumstances.

The HEF site does not link to the organisation in question, in the same way that we do not link to several others.
 

Diane

HEdups
It could be argued that children are getting a good education even from part time attendance at schools and, therefore, the schools should be given the full funding amount. Although it would be better if they divided the funding between the home part and the school part, if you see what I mean.

Diane
 
[...] as the Gov realised then how much money is being paid for children who aren't actually there and that is why they want to put a stop to it.
Which is really short-sighted of them. How much is it going to cost them if the child turns up full-time and either doesn't learn (thus wasting the money) or is bored/disruptive after a day or two and so prevents others from gaining benefit from the classes? Or needs a teaching assistant, which is going to cost more. If they're concerned about paying for five days when only two or three are used then why not agree to pay for two or three days?

Based on what Graham Stuart said yesterday, it looks like we'll have another U-turn next week, or at least a good explanation of why there won't be one.
 

Dad23

Well-known member
The HEF site does not link to the organisation in question, in the same way that we do not link to several others.
I see you modified my post to remove the link to an organisation that's apparently on some sort of HEF blacklist I wasn't aware of.

Restrictions such as these do impact on a forum's ability to cater properly for all participants but, fair enough, it's your forum. Is there a list somewhere of other organisations we shouldn't be linking to?

llondel, what did Graham Stuart say yesterday?

Which is really short-sighted of them. How much is it going to cost them if the child turns up full-time and either doesn't learn (thus wasting the money) or is bored/disruptive after a day or two and so prevents others from gaining benefit from the classes?
I can see the government's problem though. If they've taken a stand on attendance being closely related to achievement it doesn't sit well with a facility where pupils can go in and out of flexischooling to get around the restrictions on, for example, term time holidays.
 
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from a post on Graham Stuart's Facebook page:
The sudden change in flexi-schooling policy announced by the Government - without consultation or even notice - would, if left as is, cause huge disruption and upset to hundreds (if not thousands) of children. I have spoken to the responsible minister, Liz Truss, and hope and expect to have substantive news early next week. The overnight abolition of this long established practice cannot be justified and will, therefore, I predict, be reversed, whatever the longer term outcome may be.
 

Admin

Administrator
The English EHE Guidelines are back from their refresh

The English EHE Guidelines are back from their refresh and it looks like flexischooling (at least as we have known it) is dead in the water.

Here is the amended version:

Flexi-schooling

5.6 Flexi-schooling is normally an arrangement whereby a child is registered at a school but attends only part-time and is home educated at other times. The Government has looked at this issue and takes a different stance from that of the previous Government. It does not believe that a hybrid arrangement
between home education and mainstream school is adequately provided for in law, or in the school funding system, for children of compulsory school age. Where parents decide to educate their child at a school, parents have a legal duty to ensure their child attends regularly. If they fail to do this they may be committing an offence. Schools are funded to provide full-time education for all pupils (age 5-16) on their
register and therefore are accountable for the standard of education their pupils receive. A flexi-schooling
arrangement means some schools would receive a full unit of funding for certain pupils for whom they do not provide full-time education, and in some cases, may provide very little. (Revised March 2013)
Graham Stuart has apparently asked a Question of the Minister (after the event), but it will no doubt fall on 'deaf ears' (as the previous DfES used to be known).

Meanwhile Gill has blogged about it here.
 
It's up on Hansard today.
Mr Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness) (Con): I am worried about the curriculum for children who are currently being flexi-schooled. The Government recently announced—without consultation and without notice—the abolition of flexi-schooling, which has existed for decades and which meets the needs of many children. How will the Minister ensure that the needs of those children are met in the immediate future?

Elizabeth Truss: We will ensure that our attendance procedures are absolutely correct, so that we know whether students are at school or not. If they are being home-schooled, that is a decision for their parents; if they are at school, they must be properly at school, and their attendance records must be properly monitored.
So complete tripe from the minister who didn't even answer the question.
 
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