Parental disputes over home-schooling children

11th March 2022

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by Daniel Sims, Solicitor, Family Law Department

The Law is clear that whilst education is compulsory, school attendance is not, and the State should only intervene where there is evidence that a child is not receiving “suitable” education.  There is no presumption that State education is the best form of education, or that home education is unsuitable.

The number of children being home-schooled has been increasing in recent years, but English Councils identified at the end of 2021 that the pandemic had pushed this even further, with a 34% increase on the previous years’ numbers.

Some parents and children will see home-schooling to have many advantages, such as more flexibility and one-to-one teaching, in addition to current safety concerns, but there can be concerns about a lack of routine and social interaction with same-aged peers.

We have acted for parents where there are disputes about this issue – to home-school or not?

Mediation is the first avenue to discuss child arrangements, but if no resolution can be reached, either parent may feel it necessary to take the issue to Court.

The children’s welfare will be the Court’s primary consideration, and the Court will consider the ‘success’ of home-schooling, and the children’s attainment at home – are they keeping up with expected levels of literacy and numeracy?

The Court may see a short report from the local authority’s home-schooling team, reviewing the home arrangements and the children’s feelings. However, we have seen cases where Children’s Services or CAFCASS have also been asked to investigate this and prepare a written report – and have then recommended that the children return to school in some cases.

If you have a dispute about home-schooling, or any other child arrangements, you should take legal advice. Fraser Dawbarns have a team of Family lawyers with experience of these cases and can help with initial advice, or assistance with Court proceedings if they become necessary.

Contact Daniel Sims directly by email danielsims@fraserdawbarns.com or by telephone 01553 666407 for specialist family advice.

 

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This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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