What is flexischooling?
Flexischooling is an option where a child attends school only part of the time, the rest of the time the child is home educated (educated elsewhere). Flexischooling is an arrangement between parents and their child’s school to provide full-time education. This can be a long-term arrangement or a short-term measure for a particular reason.
Flexischooling is a perfectly legal option. But there is no right to do flexi-schooling. Whilst a parent may request that their child is flexischooled it is entirely at the discretion of the Head teacher, as to whether or not the school is prepared to agree to a flexischooling arrangement. The overall responsibility for a flexischooled child stays with the school.
Why do parents choose flexischooling?
There are many reasons why parents choose flexi-schooling, such as:
- Parents wish to spend more quality time with their children. They want an active role in their children’s education.
- Children can follow their own interests, and different styles of learning can be respected and accommodated.
- Children can benefit from both worlds, being taught at school and being educated at home:
- – At school: children can work and socialise with their own peer group, they have access to specialist educators and resources they might not have at home, they can join in with activities such as school trips and plays. –
- – At home: Children can benefit from individual tuition or small (mixed age) groups, their learning can be self-directed, they can experience a wider range of activities in different environments, e.g. outdoor activities, museums visits
Children who have difficulties attending school full-time, for example because of illness or emotional or behavioral needs, have the opportunity to follow a reduced timetable but without being removed from the school environment altogether.
How does flexischooling work?
The Flexischooling Contract and Attendance Agreement
When the decision to flexischool is made parents and head teacher should meet and discuss how the arrangement will work. Following this discussion the contract and attendance agreement can be drawn up and signed. The attendance agreement states when and how often the child will attend school. The contract should include:
- – What areas of education each party will provide. To what extent the National Curriculum will be followed in the non-school based element of flexischooling.
– How school and parents will co-operate to make flexischooling work. How parents keep records of learning coverage and their child ’s progress in the off-site element of the agreement.
– What arrangements will be made for pupil assessment (see below).
– Which provisions will be made for any perceived special needs.
– The length of time the agreement is to run before being reviewed.
– How the register will be marked (see section Marking the Attendance Register).
– What flexibility there will be regarding special events which fall outside the normal attendance pattern.
National Curriculum and Assessments/SAT’s
The child will be required to follow the National Curriculum whilst at school. The National Curriculum does not apply whilst the child is being educated at home or elsewhere, but parents may choose to follow it if they wish. If this is the case the school should help by providing support and materials on loan.
Arrangements for assessments will have to be agreed between the parents and the school. Often schools expect that flexischooled children will be assessed at key points (for example at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stages One and Two).
Depending on the individual flexischooling arrangement it may be inappropriate for some children to undertake formal assessment especially if the programme of work followed at home does not fit the structure, content or expectations of the National Curriculum.
Marking the register
There are 2 marks available for schools to use:
Code ‘B’ means that the child is being educated off site, as part of an educational activity which has been approved by the school. When this code is used the school is responsible for supervising the off-site education.
Code ‘C’ means that the pupil is absent, and the absence has been authorised by the school. Where a pupil is marked absent there is no indication that the pupil is involved in any educational activity. When schools use this mark for flexischooling it can cause problems with their attendance statistics.
For detailed information about marking the register see separate leaflet (title of leaflet to be added)
What parents say:
“I felt that I wasn’t ready or able to offer my daughter full-time Home-Education. So after researching huge amounts found out about this happy compromise. We have not looked back.”
“My son goes to a village school about 16 miles away. The school and the head teacher are very, very supportive and fantastic! Nearly half the school is flexischooled.”
“They are competent, independent kids, and for me that is a reward in itself. It allows me to have an interesting job for three days, and for them to do their own thing without me, and then we have a four day weekend when we share our time together and they can follow their own interests.”
“We want our children to play, to experiment, to find their passion, to make friends, to be free, to be wild, and to have time. That is probably the most important thing: To have time. Free time. Time to play.”