My name is Rehena Prior, the founder of Black and Other UK Home Educators. I have had such pleasure in joining the home education community, that I want to give something back. I have always been a home educator, as have all of us. It is natural progression from giving birth onwards. Even after handing over to the state I was, at the very least a part-timer. This was before I knew that I had the choice to a carry on nurturing my children full time. Society would have labelled me as being a state school mum, although I continued naturally to exercise home education on a day-to-day basis. We did a lot of research and visits etc. outside of school hours, sitting, encouraging and explaining to supplement learning. It took a while before the penny dropped. Having been told that home education was an option, we realised that we had out grown school and no longer wanted to attend. With some serious thought and discussion the decision was made. I took on the full responsibility of educating 'otherwise'. This started my journey to find a new way of learning. Rediscovering the need for childhood and just being ourselves. Working through strengths and weaknesses with a positive outlook. Capturing the innocence and inquisitiveness. If you are considering that home education might be for you, then read on. There is a lot to think about. Once the decision is made then its just question of what comes next. I hope that you find this booklet helpful in making your decision, only you know what's best for your children. We as a family have grown as result, and so have the number of home educators of multicultural faith, class, race and gender. If home education is not the right thing for you, but you know someone who might find this booklet useful, then please pass this booklet on to them. We live in a time where recycling is a good thing, and this could help someone who might need to re-evaluate their options for their children and themselves.

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Introduction How Do I Home Educate? Elective Home Education Legal Guidelines Who Home Educates? The DfES Statistics What Home Education Gives Your Children What Home Education Gives You What About Children With Special Needs? Black Parents and Their Children’s Education: 20 Action Points

Copyright Notices: Introduction, “How Do I Home Educate”, “Who Home Educates”, “What Home Education Gives Your Children”, “What Home Education Gives You” and “What About Children With Special Needs?” © 2006-2007 Rehena Prior. DfEE Statistics Crown copyright. “Black Parents and their Children's Education: 20 Action Points”, copyright Runnymede Trust. Drawings © 2005-2007 C. Chambers.

How Do I Home Educate?
Now that you're thinking, deciding to or are about to home educate, you have the advantage of instilling your cultural beliefs that are important to your family and your community into your children's education. You may build on family background and traditions have been set aside. Follow aspirations, and shared learning ideas. You can help your children develop into whole individuals within the family togetherness that you feel might be lacking in both your and their lives as well. At this point you have to go by your instincts. Only you know the best way to help your children. Look at their interests and ask your children what are the sorts of things that they like. Children always have a good idea of what they want to do. Given time they will let you know. Learning can take place in any form: For instance conversational learning is wonderful for children and is so under used. This forms a common bond between both your children and yourself. Taking on this form of learning gives children and parents a sense of empowerment, as children know what they want to achieve. Parents instinctively know when their children's learning is being properly provided for. This opens and frees the mind and spirit to broaden children and adults communication skills. Learning takes place any time, anywhere. Visiting museums, new exhibitions and learning related websites that have a host of interactive resources online. Watching DVDs, videos, wildlife programmes on television and the world at large, is only a small portion of opportunities in the learning process. This will give your children the zest for asking questions and you the chance to research in order to answer these questions and help them find out what they need to know. Using all forms of multimedia is a good learning tool that re-enforces and develops their communication skills. There are other resources such as workshops in the UK and aboard, which expand both your child's and your learning. Some children and parents might prefer “school at home” and follow some form of curriculum with set hours. Others would like a more practical approach, following their children's interest and taking each day as it comes, to learn from a more “hands on” experience. On other occasions some children just prefer to learn in an autonomous fashion in the sort of environment where is no time limit, so children learn when they want to at their own pace. Observing your children is the key to learning the best way to suit their individual learning needs. There are no rules!

Elective Home Education
Legal Guidelines

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Education Law Parental Responsibilities De-registration LEA Duties Diverse Approaches Irregular School Attendance Special Educational Needs Further Reading
Act numbers refer to The Education Act 1996 unless otherwise stated.

Education is compulsory - school attendance is not The freedom to educate children at home forms an intrinsic and essential element of educational provision in our society, a right which has been protected by a succession of Education Acts. The law is clear that while education is compulsory, school attendance is not. Education Law The fundamental piece of legislation regarding education in England and Wales is the Education Act 1996 (a consolidating act which incorporates the 1944 Education Act and later legislation). The only relevant sections are: (emphasis added) Parental Duties: Section 7
"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."

LEA Duties: The LEA's duties and powers in relation to home-educated children are contained in the Education Acts, 1944 to 1996. These are fully set out in sections 437 to 443 of the 1996 Act and (except in relation to special educational needs) are limited to the provisions of those sections.
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.

Parental Responsibilities Under section 576 of the Education Act 1996, a parent is defined in relation to a child or young person as also including any individual:

(a) who is not a parent of his but who has parental responsibility for him, or (b) who has care of him.

As parents are responsible for ensuring that their children are properly educated, it is their decision whether to use schools or provide education at home. It is important to note that the duty to secure education is stated entirely in section 7 and nowhere else. Provided the child is not a registered pupil at a school, the parent is bound by no other constraints. In particular, there is no obligation:
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to to to to to to to to to to to to to

seek permission to educate 'otherwise'; take the initiative in informing the LEA; have regular contact with the LEA; have premises equipped to any particular standard; have any specific qualifications; cover the same syllabus as any school; adopt the National Curriculum; make detailed plans in advance; observe school hours, days or terms; have a fixed timetable; give formal lessons; reproduce school type peer group socialisation; match school, age-specific standards.

De-registration The grounds on which a pupil's name must be deleted from the admission register are listed in Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 9, 1995 [SI 1995/2089]. Under regulation 9(1)(c), a 'school-age' pupil's name is to be deleted from the admission register if:
he has ceased to attend the school and the proprietor has received written notification from the parent that the pupil is receiving education otherwise than at school.

If the parent writes to the proprietor explaining that the child is being educated at home, the school is obliged to take the child's name off the register, and the duty to secure regular attendance thus comes to an end. Since 1995 this has been an absolute legal requirement: no discretion is involved. (Under regulation 13(3) the proprietor of the school must also report the deletion of the pupil's name from the admission register to the LEA ‘within ten school days’.) In this way the legal position of a parent embarking on home-based education is the same regardless of whether or not the child has been withdrawn from a school for this purpose, i.e., the LEA is entitled to make informal inquiries of the parent(s). The only circumstances under which parents are under an obligation to inform the LEA of the intention to home educate a child concern pupils registered at a special school where parents must seek the consent of the LEA (Regulation 9(2) Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations, 1995 [SI 1995/2089]). This extra requirement is intended to allow LEAs to ensure that a child's special educational needs will continue to be provided for when the child is withdrawn from school, and not to discriminate against the choice to home educate a child with SEN. Parents should be given reasonable opportunity to show that a 'suitable' education, taking account of the child's special educational needs, can be provided at home, and should be given sufficient time and information to rectify any perceived shortcomings in their provision. If an LEA refuses its consent, a parent may appeal to the Secretary of State.

LEA Duties The wording of the Education Act 1996 requires the LEA to act only if something comes to its attention which gives it reason to suppose a breach of a parent's section 7 duty. It does not need to investigate any instances of home education which come to its attention unaccompanied by any grounds for suspicion that an adequate education is not taking place. However, case law (Phillips v Brown, Divisional Court [20 June 1980, unreported] Judicial review by Lord Justice Donaldson, as he then was) has established that an LEA may make informal inquiries of parents. Lord Donaldson said: "Of course such a request is not the same as a notice under s 37 (1) of the Education Act 1944 (now s 437 (1) of the 1996 Education Act) and the parents will be under no duty to comply. However it would be sensible for them to do so. If parents give no information or adopt the course ... of merely stating that they are discharging their duty without giving any details of how they are doing so, the LEA will have to consider and decide whether it ‘appears’ to it that the parents are in breach of s 36. (now s7 of the 1996 Education Act.)" Determining ‘Suitable Education’ LEAs should bear in mind when considering the replies to such informal inquiries (and other more formal ones, should the matter go that far) that parents taken to court for failing to comply with a School Attendance Order only have to show the court that they are providing a suitable education on a balance of probabilities. That is the test that LEAs must also apply. Also a court will receive any evidence a parent produces, it will not have to be in any specified form and it will be sufficient so long as it shows that a suitable education is being given. Similarly an LEA has no power to require that information be given to it in a specified form or way. The DfES acknowledges this in their information leaflet entitled, "ENGLAND AND WALES EDUCATING CHILDREN AT HOME":
"3. LEAs, however, have no automatic right of access to the parent's home. Parents may refuse a meeting in the home, if they can offer an alternative way of demonstrating that they are providing a suitable education, for example, through showing examples of work and agreeing to a meeting at another venue."

Another "example" might be information provided in written form, sufficiently comprehensive to establish competence and intention, and beyond the mere assertion that education is taking place which Lord Donaldson determined was inadequate. Many parents are quite concerned not to have their child’s privacy invaded out of respect for the child’s autonomy, and any hint of testing or examination by strangers with a different agenda can be experienced as undermining. Therefore for reasons of educational approach, some parents may not wish to provide information to their LEA through home visits. It would be helpful if LEAs carry out their duty to accept information provided in any reasonable and adequate form, by not making a prior assumption of the normalcy of any particular form this might take, but on first approach to present the parents with the free choice the law supports. In the case of R v Surrey Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee, ex parte Tweedie (1963), Lord Parker held that: ' education authority should not, as a matter of policy, insist on inspection in the home as the only method of satisfying themselves that the children were receiving full time education.'

There is no legal requirement for the LEA to make continual inquiries Once in receipt of a reasonable account of the educational provision, their legal obligation is fulfilled and no further contact is necessary. However, some parents may appreciate continuous help, support and contact and under these circumstances further contact can be arranged. Some LEAs arrange 'drop-in' centres where families can maintain contact. School Attendance Orders Education Act 1996 s 437-443, (previously s 192-198 1993 Act) This begins:
"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..."

The formal steps provided for in these sections should not be needed unless something has gone seriously wrong. Nevertheless they are summarised here for reference: 1. If the LEA has evidence that the educational provision appears to be inadequate, the LEA must serve the parents with a notice giving them at least 15 days to satisfy them that they are educating properly. 2. If the parents fail to do this, the LEA then have to consider whether it is expedient for the child to go to school. If they think it is they must serve a 'school attendance order', but before doing so they must serve a notice stating which school they intend to name in the order, and giving the parents a chance to choose an alternative. 3. The LEA serve a school attendance order requiring the parents to register the child as a pupil at the school named in it. 4. The parents can ask the LEA to revoke the order because they are educating 'otherwise'. 5. The LEA can prosecute the parents for not complying with the order, but the action will fail if the parents can show the court that they are educating 'otherwise'. The evidence a court requires to satisfy it that adequate education is taking place, is such as would convince ‘a reasonable person’, ‘on the balance of probabilities’. (Under section 447, whether they prosecute or not, the LEA must also consider applying for an education supervision order.) Diverse approaches to home education The principle of parental choice is paramount. Families are entitled to choose what they feel to be the most suitable educational approach. One system cannot be expected to cater for the needs and interests of all individuals, (many fail to thrive or reach their full potential whilst receiving formal instruction in a school environment). A variety of alternatives in education is therefore important and the law allows for this diversity. A clearer interpretation of some terminology used in the 1944 Education Act (replaced by the 1996 Act), was gained in the case of Harrison & Harrison v Stephenson (appeal to Worcester Crown Court 1981). The term 'suitable education' was defined as one which enabled the children ‘to achieve their full potential’, and was such as ‘to prepare the children for life in modern civilised society’. The term 'efficient' was defined as achieving ‘that which it sets out to achieve’.

Clearly this definition covers a great variety of educational approaches. There is no one 'correct' educational system. All children learn in different ways and at varying rates, and chronological age has little bearing on the process. It would be wholly inappropriate for example to seek to impose ‘reading and numeracy age’ scales on home educated children, not subject to the specific educational methods in state schools. Individual children come to literacy and numeracy over a huge age range, which has no subsequent bearing on their competence in these areas as adults. It is vital that parents and children choose a type of education which is right for them, and it is important that any LEA officers understand and are supportive of many differing approaches or "ways of educating" which are all feasible and legally valid. Education Act 1996, Part V (incorporating Education Reform Act 1988) This deals with the National Curriculum, stating in ss 351 to 353 (replacing ss1&2) that it only applies to children who are registered pupils of maintained (i.e. State or Statesupported) schools. Home educators may choose whether to base their studies around these guidelines fully, partially, or not at all. Irregular or Non-attendance at School Education Act 1996 s 444, (previously s 199 of 1993 Act derived from s 39 1944 Act) This deals with the non-attendance, or irregular attendance at school, of registered pupils. If poor/non attendance is due to severe school anxieties, usually the Educational Welfare department becomes involved and the family should be informed of all their duties, rights and available options including education at home. Many LEAs, when confronted with the problems of School Phobia/Anxieties, School Refusal/Truanting, encourage families to contact one of the home education support groups for help and advice. This provides a useful alternative course of action for officials, because if endeavours are made to pressure children with the above problems back into schools under duress, the whole family (as well as the child) suffers the ensuing stress and the truanting and nervous illnesses inevitably continue. Education at home may prevent further distress and the possibility of the child returning to school at a later date remains an option. Flexi-time or Part-time schooling There may be families who would prefer a flexi-time schooling approach. Under s444(3)(a) of the 1996 Education Act:
Any ‘school age’ child who goes to school at all must attend regularly, but absence ‘with leave’ does not count as irregular attendance. During such absences the child is officially at school, but is effectively being educated off site. (S)he is therefore covered for insurance and attracts full funding. Such arrangements are at the discretion of the school. (s 444 (9))

Home Educating Children with Special Educational Needs. Children with special educational needs (SEN), are defined in section 312 (1) of the 1996 Education Act as having:
a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him.

A ‘learning difficulty’ is further defined with regard to children over 5 in section 312 (2):
(a) he has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of his age, (b) he has a disability which either prevents or hinders him from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of his age in schools within the area of the local education authority...

The right to home educate children with SEN is upheld by section 7 (b) :
"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."

No particular qualifications or special needs training are required of parents fulfilling their Section 7 duty by educating ‘otherwise’. Section 313 (2) of the Act gives LEAs a duty to have regard to the provision of The Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs, issued by the secretary of State. Identification and assessment of children with SEN Section 321 (3) (d) states that, in the area of SEN only, LEAs ‘are responsible for’ a child:
if he is in their area and... he is not a registered pupil at a school but is not under the age of two or over compulsory school age and has been brought to their attention as having (or probably having) SEN

Under section 321 (2) LEAs have a duty to formally identify a child for whom they are responsible if:
a) he has special educational needs, and b) it is necessary for the authority to determine the special educational provision which any learning difficulty he may have calls for.

Although the LEA have a responsibility toward home educated children with special educational needs, in their area, they would only need to formally identify and assess those children if the authority themselves needed to make provision for those special educational needs. Where the parents and the LEA are satisfied that the needs can be catered for by the parents in a home based education, embarking on the formal assessment and statementing procedure should not be necessary. Statements of SEN The statementing procedure is primarily designed to facilitate the LEA in deciding what special educational provision it may need to make beyond that being provided by a school or family. Section 324 (1) states that:

If, in the light of an assessment under section 323 ... it is necessary for the local educational authority to determine the special educational provision which any learning difficulty he may have calls for, the authority shall make and maintain a statement of his special educational needs.

If an LEA carry out a statutory assessment of a child educated otherwise and conclude that the child’s special educational needs cannot be met without extra funding by the LEA or that it would be beneficial for the LEA to monitor the child’s progress, a statement must be made. The LEA must first serve the parent with a proposed statement (Schedule 27 (2) (a)). A parent may, within certain time restraints, appeal against any part of the proposed statement. The LEA may also decide that a statement will not be necessary. In such cases they must give notice in writing of the decision and of the parent’s right to appeal (section 325 (1) ) . The SEN Code of Practice section 4.18 states that the LEA should also consider issuing a ‘note in lieu of a statement’, against which a parent wanting a statement may also appeal.

The LEA has a duty to honour the rights of parents to make representations, to request reassessment and to appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal as detailed in sections 326 and 328 and Schedule 27 of the 1996 Act, and to fully inform the parent of those rights. Where issue of a statement is necessary and an LEA is to make provision for the child’s special educational needs, section 319 of the Act allows for the provision to be made by the LEA otherwise than in a school. Maintenance of a statement When a statement is issued, for as long as it is in place, the LEA have a duty to maintain it and to review the statement and provision for the child’s special educational needs, annually. The Code of Practice 1994 section 6:1 also allows for the LEA to review the statement at any other time. At review, the statement of a child who is deregistered from school, for the purposes of education ‘otherwise’ may need amendment, particularly:
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Where section 4 of the statement names a particular school or type of facility it will need to be altered to education otherwise than at school. It may be clear to the parent and the LEA that some of the special provision can now readily be provided by the parent. The child may no longer need extra provision once out of the school environment It may be clear to the parent and the LEA that all of the special provision can readily be provided by the parent without LEA oversight.

At review, it may be possible to cease the statement of a child educated ‘otherwise’.
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Further Reading A detailed account of the law and home education further qualifying the points made throughout this document, can be found in 'Home Education and the Law’ (1991) by Dr. David Deutsch & Kolya Wolf, which has been subject to careful checking by a solicitor and by Counsel's Opinion, to ensure that "all statements of law, regulations and proper legal and administrative practice that it contains are correct". (Preface to 2nd Edition). The Elective Home Education Legal Guidelines is published by Choice in Education. PO Box 20284 London NW1 3AA The EHELG is the work of a number of home educators led by Neil Taylor-Moore, and has been checked for accuracy by legally qualified experts. Copying in the original form and distribution is encouraged.

Who Home Educates?
There has been an idea that all parents that home educate are from white middle class families that is a myth. Parents from all backgrounds home-educate. It's not just those who come from high-income groups. There are many who are on low incomes, two parent, single parents and families from all other social groups. There is no one model. There is not a particular type of parents whom home educates, we are all different. We are just parents who are willing to choose and take up the desire to home educate. Parents who want to spent more time with their children. Some parents decide not to send their children to school from the start, but want the opportunity to learn and grow along side their children. Some times home education can be a stopgap between schools. Where there is no school place available, learning at home is an option while waiting for a school place. This could be for less than a year or even longer. A child may simply not be suited to the school environment, this is not a myth the style of learning can adversely effect a child's behaviour and well-being. Home education may be the perfect solution. Children can some times be forced to leave school due to bullying. The figures speak for themselves. Special needs cannot be catered for successfully so parents may decide to withdraw their child and home educate. Parents might have a job that takes them overseas. Rather than the children continue to change schools, parents decide that home education is a better option, as learning is consistent. Parents who want to have more of a pro-active positive role in their children's up bringing, choose this option. Parents who want to have a cultural, religious foundation based outlook on learning. Home educated children are successful and achieve above average results. Most go on to College, University, go out to work or start their own enterprises. They go on to lead successful lives. Home educated children grow with their parents. They go on to become caring parents themselves with the flexible approach that is needed in the fast changing society in which we live.

The DfES Statistics
England & Wales Indian girls White girls Indian boys Black girls White boys Other groups girls Other groups boys Pakistani/Bangladeshi girls Black boys Pakistani/Bangladeshi boys Percentages 66 55 54 46 45 44 40 37 31 22

Proportion of boys and girls aged 16 who achieved 5 of more GCSEs (grade A*-C), 1999

GCSE performance
In 1999, a higher proportion of girls than boys in each ethnic group achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C (or equivalent). Indian pupils are more likely to get these qualifications than other ethnic group, with 66% of Indian girls and 54% of Indian boys doing so in 1999. This contrasts with only 37% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls and 22% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi boys. Of those who achieved five or more A*-C grade GCSEs, only half of Black pupils achieved very high results (8 or more A*-C grades) whereas at least two-thirds of all other ethnic groups achieved this level. Between 1997 and 1999 all ethnic groups, with the exception of Pakistani and Bangladeshis, saw a rise in achievement of five or more A*-C grade GCSEs by sixteen year olds. This meant that the gap between the lowest and highest achieving ethnic groups widened over this time period.

School exclusions
In 2000/01, Black pupils were more likely to be permanently excluded from schools in England than children from any other ethnic group. The highest permanent exclusion rates were among children belonging to the ‘Other Black’ group (40 in every 10 thousand pupils) and Black Caribbean pupils (38 in every 10 thousand). This compared with 13 in every 10 thousand White children. The lowest rate of permanent exclusions was for Indian pupils (3 in every 10 thousand). For all ethnic groups, the rate of permanent exclusions was higher for boys than for girls.

Highest qualification
In 2001/02 people from some minority ethnic groups in the United Kingdom were more likely to have degrees (or equivalent) than White people. Those most likely to have degrees were Chinese people, Indians, Black Africans and Other Asians.

Among men, Black Caribbeans were the least likely to have degrees (8%). Among women, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were the least likely to have degrees (7%). Despite some ethnic groups being more likely than the White population to have a degree, they were also more likely to have no qualifications at all. In particular Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were most likely to be unqualified. Nearly half (48%) of Bangladeshi women and 40% of Bangladeshi men had no qualifications. Among Pakistanis, 40% of women and 27% of men had no qualifications.


“Indian pupils have best GCSE results”, URL accessed 22 September 2006.

What Home Education Gives Your Children
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The chance to learn at their own pace. To think for themselves, have the time to work out different ways of learning. To play, explore and enjoy being a child. Grow to understand the meaning of real friendship. A choice about learning styles. A choice about learning content. A chance to get to know both themselves and you better. An understanding what being in a family is all about on another level of consciousness. Creates good long lasting relationships between parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, colleagues and associates. A chance to trust their feelings. Boosts self esteem. An understanding of their own learning abilities. Kicks out stereotypes. Allows children to rethink the stigma that “learning is not cool”, when in fact learning is the key to everything. Reintroduces the rites of passage. Helps children gain a sense of identity. Helps them to grow up and mature, with a positive outlook on life Freedom from peer pressure.

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What Home Education Gives You
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No more school runs. No school uniform. More time with your family. Your money is spent directly on your children as you see fit. More time to network amongst other home educators. To learn along side your children. To be the master of your own ship. Create a long lasting relationship with your children based on trust and respect. Your children will learn about your beliefs, culture, religion and traditions. A choice about learning styles. A choice about learning content. Better choice of meals with time to plan. An understanding what being in a family is all about on higher level of consciousness. Creates good long lasting relationships between parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, colleagues, and associates, and within the wider community. With your mentoring, you can help your children grow and mature with a positive outlook on life free from peer pressure. Helps improve your organisational skills. Guide and advise your children on issues of importance. You can develop your adversary skills in order to help your child progress in problem solving and critical thinking.

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Only you know your children well and whether home education is an option that you want to take.

What About Children With Special Needs?
Children with special needs benefit greatly by being home educated. Their learning is met without being held up with red tape, meetings, assessments, tribunals, court cases and time periods, which lends its weight in stress to every parent. Working one to one with children gives them the immediate response and attention that they need, there is no waiting around so no time is lost. And having a loving parent on hand building on a child's self-esteem. Who could ask for more? More and more children are affected by food; this has been proven by Jamie Oliver's Feed Me Better campaign. Thousands of parents watched his documentary series Jamie's School Dinners and subsequently Jamie's Return to School Dinners, which highlighted the point. Black parents are proven to give good nutritional content to their children's diet. Home education gives parents an advantage as there is more time and consideration in creating a diet that is best suited to their children, helping 100% with children's concentration and growth. It has been proven for a long time that learning always starts from the home. Having a “one-to-one” experience with parents from birth increases children's natural learning style. Children develop at a steady and consistent rate, fulfilling their own personal achievement that continues throughout their whole lives, where they learn when they need to without having to be compared or to compete with others. This is what all parents strive for, individualism that builds self-esteem and helps a child develop with self worth. This expands into team building, appreciating good relationships, making good long lasting bonds between family members, friends and associates. There is at times a lesser need for external intervention and more of an holistic approach, and if parents are in any need of external advice, it can be easily found if warranted. If a child has a Special Needs statement, and is in a special needs school, then permission should to be sought after to de-register. This will on whole be granted, as the child's interests and the parent's wishes are always taken into account.

Black Parents and Their Children’s Education: 20 Action Points
Written by Yolande Beckles in collaboration with Lynthia Grant of Moyenda Black Families, Peter Stanislas of Utani & Dr Debbie Weekes

1. MAKE EDUCATION NUMBER ONE ON YOUR AGENDA For all parents the education of their children is very important. However, because of pressures at work and elsewhere in their lives, Black parents often feel isolated when it comes to approaching schools for support for their children. We therefore urge parents to seek help and advice where necessary from local community organizations, other parents at your child’s school, friends and relatives. 2. MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN AT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL When parents need to find out how their child is progressing, they should contact their child’s tutor to discuss this. Where possible visit the school to speak to teachers about your child’s progress. It is important that you do not feel that you only visit the school when a problem arises with your child. You should also attend parents evenings and other events to discuss your child’s development. 3. QUESTION CRITICALLY THE WAY YOU PARENT YOUR CHILD Parenting is the only job we have for life, but it is also a job that changes throughout life and is different under different circumstances. As Black parents, we have to remember that if we have been parented in a culture which is different from the one in which we are bringing up our own children, then there are likely to be additional stresses. 4. IF YOU ARE A SINGLE PARENT, ASK A FRIEND TO BE A ROLE MODEL OR MENTOR TO YOUR CHILD As a parent you are your child’s main role model. If there is an absent partner it is worth seriously considering having a mentor for your child who could assist in helping them to develop a strong and confident self-image. 5. LINK UP WITH A PARENT SUPPORT GROUP WITHIN YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL Many Black parents within schools are beginning to meet together within a supportive environment to discuss their needs and the needs of their children. However, these groups cannot begin if parents do not make the decision to start them up themselves. Talk to other Black parents whose children attend your child’s school to explore whether they would like to set up such a group. You can contact local community organisations or the Race Equality Council (REC) in you borough for information on other support groups for schools in your area. It is important for Black parents to set up such initiatives themselves so that their interests can be met and their voices heard.

6. CONSIDER BECOMING A PARENT GOVERNOR IN YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL Black parents should take an active role in the running of their child’s school. One way to do this is to participate in the decision-making of the school. Once a year, schools try to encourage parents to become governors. It is therefore important that you seek such a position in the school or in the local LEA governor section. Black governors may feel isolated once in these positions, so our advice is to join a support network especially for Black governors. 7. ATTEND AS MANY PARENTS’ EVENINGS AS POSSIBLE If you want to find out how your child is doing at school, it is vital for you to attend parents’ evenings. You as a parent need to find our how your child is progressing. It is important for your child to see that you are interested. Attending parents’ evenings gives you the best opportunity to voice your concerns to teachers, particularly in view of the busy lives many parents now lead which makes it difficult for them to ring or visit schools during the day. 8. RESPOND TO DISAGREEMENTS THAT MAY ARISE WITH THE SCHOOL Parents often receive reports and letters about their child and become angry if they disagree with them. Should this happen, do not remain silent or voice your anger to your child. Rather, go back to the school and discuss your concerns with the teacher. Ask your child about the problem, inform them about any planned meetings and monitor the situation as appropriate. 9. BECOME FAMILIAR WITH SCHOOL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES Some parents may feel intimidated when they do not fully understand the information sent to them by schools in prospectuses and newsletters. Read this information thoroughly and seek to understand the school procedures. Do not be afraid to ask questions about information and policies. There needs to be a dialogue between parents and schools, and parental opinion to important to schools. 10. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO READ MORE AT HOME: MAKE READING PART OF YOUR LEISURE ACTIVITY If you want your child to get excited about reading, make sure you read! Parents are often busy and tired by the time they get home but try to make time to read with your child. For reading to be fun for your child, you might need to develop a set routine for when and where it takes place. 11. CHECK YOUR CHILD’S HOMEWORK You should have a visible homework diary for your child, so that you are clear when your child needs to be doing homework. Agree a time and suitable place for homework. You may want to have a place in the home where your children can leave questions or problems they may have about their homework. Above all, give as much encouragement and praise as you can to your child. 12. ENSURING FAIR TREATMENT When you believe your child has been treated unfairly by any school procedure, be this an hour-long detention or an exclusion, it is always important that you let a senior teacher know of your concerns. When you attend an appeal it is always wise to bring a representative from a local community organisation, or a friend who can give you support and advice on educational matters. Parents often feel isolated when their child is excluded and they are required to attend school to appeal the decision. Try to have as much support as possible. Schools are required to listen and consider appeals.

13. GET SECOND OPINIONS AROUND ISSUES SUCH AS SPECIAL NEEDS Whenever a decision has been made which you are not completely happy about concerning your child, always try to get a second opinion. Try to meet with Education Welfare Officers, Special Needs Co-ordinators or Educational Psychologists in order to discuss your child’s particular needs. Also contact local agencies who may be able to identify cultural issues involved in special needs assessments. 14. USING BLACK SUPPPLEMENTARY SCHOOL AND HOMEWORK CLUBS Black Supplementary schools are vital in providing additional educational support and development opportunities for your child. Some organisations have long waiting lists so put your child’s name down early to ensure a place. Homework Clubs allow children to do their homework with additional tutor support, especially if their parents are working full-time and can’t give direct support after school. 15. DEVELOP A CAREER TRACK OR ACTION PLAN FOR YOUR CHILD Setting targets and devising action plans should not be something restricted to the school environment. Parents and their children can also set targets, which involve not only the child’s progress at school but also at home, in areas such as homework, studying, helping out around home – as well as planning for the future. Career tracks and action plans are a useful guide for parents and children. They should be started at primary school and updated regularly. 16. BE AWARE OF GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES The Government wishes to consult with parents about educational issues; they have published papers such as “Excellence in Schools”. Sometimes these papers are available in doctors’ surgeries and supermarkets. If you have concerns or comments about Government papers, express them to your local MP or the Department for Education and Employment. 17.TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT THEIR DAY AT SCHOOL Using mealtime as a time for enjoying conversation and sharing ideas is a good place to start. It is also important to listen to your child without judging. This is a unique opportunity for parents to demonstrate their interest in the ‘little’ details of their child’s life. It is often easier to do this with younger children but secondary age children need this type of attention just as much. 18. DEALING WITH RACISM AND BULLYING Coping with racial abuse and discrimination is painful for all who experience it, but it can be particularly difficult for children and young people. Black families have a long history of providing their members with support and techniques for surviving the harshness of racism, and Black parents are often best placed to give advice to Black children. When Black children experience bullying at school they may feel too anxious to approach their teacher for help (especially when teachers do not come from similar racial backgrounds). A child experiencing racist bullying at school may become withdrawn or respond by expressing anger at friends, family members and in the classroom. 19. ENCOURAGEMENT AND SELF-ESTEEM Encouragement is a very important aspect of parenting. A child cannot grow, develop and gain an sense of belonging without encouragement. As parents, we often try to improve our children by concentrating on their mistakes. We can be experts at finding fault. This is discouraging to a child. Our society does not train us to encourage, but

when we are on the lookout for effort and improvement, children begin to grow in confidence and make good strides. All human beings, regardless of ethnicity, need to develop a positive sense of self. The Black family plays a major role in assisting the Black child in developing a personal identity. This includes pride, self-esteem, positive feeling and self-confidence. 20. COPING WITH ADOLESCENCE As parents we may have a tendency to view the many physical and emotional changes that our young experience simply as part of growing up. Black parents need to draw on their own memories of their teenage years. Being an adolescent is made all the more complicated when you are Black in White society. Remember that your teenager may be feeling insecure and vulnerable and will need to know that there is a safe have in your home. You must also question yourself as a parent. Are you prepared for your child’s growth into adulthood, their increasing independence, the possibility that they will be sexually active and that they may soon leave home? Try to deal with your own worries as a parent and show your teenager that you are supportive but not interfering. Through this you can help your child approach adulthood safely and will set in place the foundations for a long-lasting parent-child relationship. Remember it is your child’s right to be educated – so give the necessary support to ensure that this is done properly. Supported by the National Lottery Charities Board

Black Parents and Their Children’s Education: 20 Action Points
Written by Yolande Beckles in collaboration with Lynthia Grant of Moyenda Black Families, Peter Stanislas of Utani & Dr Debbie Weekes. Copyright The Runnymede Trust, supported by the National Lottery Charities Board.

The DfES Statistics
The DfES statistics were taken from They were accessed on 22nd September 2006. Crown copyright.

The Elective Home Education Legal Guidelines
The Elective Home Education Legal Guidelines (EHELG) are published by Choice in Education. Choice in Education's website was unavailable at the time of going to press, but they still can be contacted at the following postal address: PO Box 20284 London NW1 3AA

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Claudette Chambers – for her illustrations Choice in Education - for support and guidance

Further Reading
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How To Unlock Your Child's Genius, by David Simon Jamie's School Dinners and Jamie's Return to School Dinners:

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