Satisfying the LA with an annual report

Dad23

Well-known member
Whatever the legal requirement (or lack of requirement) to satisfy the LA about the provision of a suitable education, some LAs feel they need to get an annual report. Maybe it's a box ticking exercise for them, maybe it's a fishing expedition.

My question doesn't relate to rights or what the LA is entitled to ask. It's targeted at those parents who do attempt to satisfy the LA every year. You probably put a report together covering what you've been teaching over the year. However, given that information provided can be always be misinterpreted or otherwise used against you, have you considered other ways of satisfying the LA's box ticking exercise?

For example, you could get a local friendly school Head/Chair of Governors to put a letter together that you're doing a sterling job and that you are more than meeting the legal requirement. That would tick the LA's box without giving them any information about what you're doing or not doing.

Has anyone tried that and do you have a format for the letter? What points would it need to cover?
 
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Hi D23,

I think you'd need to know what box they were tring to tick first? Plus you'd need to know a head or chair of governors with a sound working knowledge of home ed provision - good luck with that one - and assume that the LA have a good working knowledge of home education law - again, difficult to find. Presumably you'd have to give the friendly head a full report of what you'd been doing in order to get them to say they think it's good enough?
 

Dad23

Well-known member
The box they would be trying to tick is the one that they see clearing them of liability under 437 - (1):

If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.
They do not want to be accused of not being aware that a particular child is not receiving "suitable" education. Their superiors require them to file some paperwork to cover their asses. The paperwork which parents submit often takes the form of some detailed reports. It does not need to be so. Bear in mind that the LA has no power to require that information be given to it in a specified form. A letter from a respected teaching professional should be good enough. It doesn't even need to be a head, a well respected local teacher should do! Or even one from another country who is a qualified professional... and they don't need to know anything about HE. Giving the friendly Head a "full report" is, I would have thought, a darn sight better than giving it to the LA.

Given this:
"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 would presume that, at the very least, the letter needs to cover that 1. The child is receiving a "full time" education 2. That, in the teacher's/Head's opinion, it is suited to his/her age, ability and aptitude 3. That the child has no special needs (or that if the child has special needs that the education is appropriate to those needs).

To be on the safe side it would be wise to also cover what seem to be definitions used for "suitable education" and to explain that the parental provision is helping the child achieve their "full potential" and "preparing the child for life in modern society".

Anything else, or does nobody have any constructive suggestions?
 
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(Disclaimer: I don't have to satisfy an EWO or similar every year, we seem to be pretty lucky here in Bristol)

You could try putting together a blog. Some parents and kids find that to actually be fun, and it can give LEA peeps the feedback they need to tick their boxes. I gave the URL of ours to our EWO. It doesn't cover everything we do by a long way.

Originally I had a drupal blog complete with 'LEA' usertype so I could fine tune their permissions, ie what they could and couldn't see. Wasn't worth it for us, so now we have a blogger account, which is free and has a fun designer thingy.

Good luck,
Stuart
 

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
As has already been said, there is no requirement for an annual report .
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Why would a head be preferable to any other public employee ?? They are public employees.
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It is rather like another system operating elsewhere on the globe where educational provision is approved by A.N.Other be it a head or 'approved' home educator. If I recall correctly Badman enthused about the said system at one point and it was heartily rejected by home educators.
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Maybe somebody could find relevant threads on the subject and add links to them to this thread I would love to but am on my phone at the moment.
 
While noting that at present it's a hypothetical problem to me, I'd probably give them something the first time because case law supports their side on that, and then make them argue a lot each year by telling them there is no need for them to have an annual report.
 

Dad23

Well-known member
(Disclaimer: I don't have to satisfy an EWO or similar every year, we ..Stuart
Thanks, Stuart. We are in that same lucky position. However, the purpose of this post was to examine, for those who do submit reports, a way parents can continue satisfying the LA but with less details in the report than they provide now. Zero details, in fact.

As has already been said, there is no requirement for an annual report .
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Why would a head be preferable to any other public employee ??
Whatever ideological opposition you have to LA intrusion, the fact remains that some parents do attempt to keep the LA satisfied and do provide an annual report. Taking a stubborn stand that they shouldn't comply isn't as helpful to them as exploring how best they can continue a non-combative relationship with the LA while reducing what information they do provide. A Head would be preferable because on education matters the LA would be more likely to accept the opinion of a third party education professional over that of the local plumber. Whether these professionals do or do not know more than parents ...is not relevant.

I'd probably give them something the first time because case law supports their side on that...
Thanks for pointing out the case law precedents. Even for this first year why submit a report? The paranoid :))) would argue that a report simply gives the LA the opportunity to pick holes that justify demanding further reports in subsequent years. My third party letter suggestion could be used even in these cases. Particularly in these cases. The LA would then never have any details on what or how you're teaching and it would be difficult for them to argue in a court of law that a state school Head doesn't know much about education and isn't qualified to comment on a family's HE provision.

I am a qualified teacher and they refused to accept the twenty page report I submitted regarding my son.
By "they" I assume you meant your own LA and aren't suggesting all LAs would react in exactly the same way.
 

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
Good reply dad23 but you still haven't explained how the head is going to determine if an education is suitable and why people should take the road of least resistance to ultra wires demands.
Non confrontational does not translate to ' dance to their tune' .
 

HomeEdMum

Well-known member
Hate to be stubborn Dad23 but, in law, there is no provision or right of the LA to repeatedly question families and even the government guidelines tell councils that they have no provision to monitor home education. Not to be confrontational, I think it might be OK to prefer my own particular ideology that public servants should abide by the law and within those functions conferred upon them instead of making it up as they go along, if that isn't too extreme. I totally accept that many parents choose to reply with further information to repeat enquiries and have done some of that myself.

I believe some parents have had third party endorsement of their provision in some circumstances, but this is not easily available to a lot of people. I wonder how heads would feel about being asked to do this. Perhaps they would see it as a business opportunity and charge a fee. I can't see them being able to do it without close personal knowledge of the family and child. Another intrusion if there is no existing personal relationship.

In addition, some philosophies would preclude any outside assessments because of the affect it has on the process of learning and being a self directed learner.
 
By "they" I assume you meant your own LA and aren't suggesting all LAs would react in exactly the same way.[/QUOTE]

Your assumption is correct.
 

Dad23

Well-known member
...you still haven't explained ... why people should take the road of least resistance to ultra wires demands.
Because that is irrelevant. If you read my posts more carefully you'll see no recommendation for road of least resistance. Taking an obstinate stand that parents should stand up to the LA's "ultra wires" demands is not helpful to those parents who do see fit to satisfy the LA. It's simply attempting to bully people into one's own confrontational mindset.

I totally accept that many parents choose to reply with further information to repeat enquiries and have done some of that myself.
Excellent! Some seem to find that difficult to accept :) and would rather castigate these parents than assist, as I am attempting to do, via reducing the information they provide to the LA.

I agree it's not an option available to all, but most people know a good teacher or two in their family/friend circle. There wouldn't be enough demand in a local area for a Head to make a business of issuing these certificates but even if they did charge, parents have a choice of providing a whole bunch of info to the LA or providing it temporarily to a trusted third party who returns all the documentation. However, I'm beginning to suspect that any solution which is likely to cost money - and therefore not be universally accessible - is going to be one that is shot down on these forums.

In addition, some philosophies would preclude any outside assessments because of the affect it has on the process of learning and being a self directed learner.
Agreed, again. Those people need never consider such outside involvement. I do not market this as a magic solution for every family. However, I believe it's worth exploring ways of frustrating LA data collection.

Maybe I choose the wrong forum to initiate a dispassionate discussion on the topic. I won't say any more on the matter.
 
How is the home ed going, D23? I hope you are all enjoying things - I seem to remember you saying in the early days that your daughter had some reservations about the idea? Hopefully she overcame those quickly and things are going well :)
 

Dad23

Well-known member
She's most enthusiastic about HE now and it's been fantastic. It's been the best year ever. They've made huge progress academically and even more progress on the non-academic front (swimming, elocution, music etc). It's scary how fast kids pick stuff up with the odd half hour of one-to-one. We took them to a few countries and gave them some interesting experiences (including staying with an Amish family - they LOVED it). The only disappointing bit is that when we're in the UK there aren't local HE kids within walking distance so they need to be driven to friends' houses, but that's a small price. Thanks for asking.
 
That's really good to hear, I'm glad it's all going so well. The amount of driving is the only downside for us as well, but I'm hoping to move somewhere with a better public transport system next year so hopefully that will no longer be an issue. Glad you're all enjoying it, staying with an Amish family sounds very interesting. :)
 

HomeEdMum

Well-known member
I don't see people castigating those who choose to send info to the LA Dad23. I see you castigating people and characterising them in a bad way for their views.

If you want to help people to reduce the info they send, your idea is one idea that has worked for some people. People should also know that there are ways to do this when faced with repeat enquiries without possibly appealing to an "authority" in which they do not actually believe. I say this quite dispassionately (even though I might not be engaging in the manner you imagined or hoped people would.)

I'm very glad that you are enjoying home ed in your family. :) Are you looking for ways to reduce the amount of data you send to your LA in response to repeat enquiries? I'm sure people could help.
 
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