Legal Framework

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Is Flexischooling Legal in England?

The simple answer is yes, although lots of people, including teachers, parents and school governors, believe that it isn’t.

What is Flexischooling?

Flexischooling is an arrangement whereby children of compulsory school age receive their education partially at school, and partially elsewhere under the supervision of their parents.

Is Flexischooling the same as part time education?

No, part time education is only allowed in law as a temporary solution to a specific problem (usually for medical or mental health reasons or for integrating a pupil into a new situation).

Flexischooling is different. Flexischooling provides children with a full time education although not all of it will occur in school. It can be a temporary or permanent arrangement and may be requested for a wide variety of reasons.

Under what circumstances is flexischooling allowed?

Schools may agree to parental applications for flexischooling regardless of the qualifications of the parents or their reasons for choosing flexischooling. Legally flexischooling can commence when a private arrangement is reached between the school and the parent which fulfils the attendance register requirements of The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 regulation 6, and when the school is satisfied that the child will receive a suitable, full time education overall.

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 regulation 6(4))

(4) An approved educational activity is either—

(a)an activity which takes place outside the school premises and which is—

(i)approved by a person authorised in that behalf by the proprietor of the school;

(ii)of an educational nature, including work experience under section 560 of the Education Act 1996(1) and a sporting activity; and

(iii)supervised by a person authorised in that behalf by the proprietor or the head teacher of the school; or

(b)attendance at another school at which the pupil is a registered pupil.

 Will flexischooling affect the school’s funding?

No, because the funding is currently applied to a place at a school not the number of hours the child attends. Therefore schools currently receive the same funding for flexischooled pupils as they would for a child receiving all of his/her education in school.

What if the child has special educational needs?

Flexischooling is a legal and viable option for all children regardless of SEN, even if the child has an EHC plan or SEN statement, or attends a special school. Sometimes flexischooling is written into the plan as the appropriate provision for the child.

 Does the National Curriculum Apply?

Yes to the school based part but not necessarily the non-school based part. In law, the national curriculum does not apply to the non-school based part of the education of a flexischooled child unless this was part of the arrangement/agreement between the school and the parent.

What about SATs?

SATs are a statutory requirement for schools so the normal rules apply and the child will be expected to sit them all.

How does Ofsted view flexischooling?

Despite concerns raised by some schools concerning the absence codes, no school is known to have been criticised for allowing flexischooling. The schools we are aware of that have the majority of the children on roll subject to a flexischooling arrangement have been praised by Ofsted for their provision and meeting of the children’s individual needs. The April 2019 guidance supports this position.

What about safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the responsibility of the parents or of any person acting in loco parentis. Essentially, whilst the child is at school the school is responsible for safeguarding. At all other times the parent is responsible unless the child is being cared for/educated by somebody else. For example, if a child is at a swimming lesson the swimming pool staff are responsible for safeguarding. The school cannot legally be held responsible for the welfare of the child in the part of the school day where the child is by agreement not in school.

How is Flexischooling recorded in the register?

Historically code B has been acceptable but following the issue of The Elective Home Education Departmental Guidance for Local Authorities (April 19), the DfE have made it clear that they want schools to only use code C for flexischooling.


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