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Writing Reports for Local Authority/Education Officers

This article contains some helpful guidance about what you could include in a report.

Local Authority Report

Do I have to write a report?

Under s.436A of the Education Act 1996 – “to make arrangements to enable the authority to establish, so far as it is possible to do so, the identities of children in its area who are not receiving a suitable education. The duty applies in relation to children of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll, and who are not receiving a suitable education otherwise than at school (for example, at home, or in alternative provision). Until a local authority is satisfied that a home-educated child is receiving a suitable full-time education, then a child being educated at home is potentially in scope of this duty. The department’s children missing education statutory guidance for local authorities applies. However, this should not be taken as implying that it is the responsibility of parents under s.436A to ‘prove’ that education at home is suitable. A proportionate approach needs to be taken.”

So, you do not have to write a report but the Local Authority (LA) does have a duty to ensure your child is receiving a suitable education and it is, therefore, reasonable for them to ask for evidence of this and that is why many families create a report.

Do I have to meet the LA?

You do not have to meet with the LA but as previously mentioned they do have a duty to ensure you are providing a suitable education so if you want to that is entirely your choice. Some families do agree to meet an Elective Home Education (EHE) officer at home, some prefer to meet somewhere neutral, some meet via an online platform but again this is your choice and some prefer not to meet and just send in a report of some description. EHE officers may ask to meet as a way of ensuring that your child is safe and seemingly healthy which can’t be done via a report but it is still your choice. They also like to talk to the child by way of hearing how the child is doing and how they feel about being home educated but this is not statutory and is still your choice. Some EHE teams just like to have an initial visit and from then on are happy with reports but this can vary between LAs.

What should a report look like?

These are just guidelines, there is no wrong or right way but these are here to help you if you are unsure about the sort of content to include.

  • If you are typing a report it should not be more than 1-2 pages of writing or around 5 pages with images embedded within it, this may be longer if your child has additional needs that you need to talk about
  • You should describe the education you are offering your child, your ethos, how education is structured and who delivers it
  • Ensure you have checked the report’s spelling and grammar, you can also ask someone to proofread it before you send it
  • There should be key info like child name, age, strengths, weaknesses and how you support these (focus on their literacy and numeracy skills as these are what they will most want to see), what progress they are making, have made since the last report, SEN, ambition (if you plan to take GCSEs or go to college and what provision you have in place for this) 
  • For notes on individual bits of work you should ensure you write: what happened, did it link to anything else, what worked well, what did the child say/think, did they suggest what they might do next time and what might you offer them as a result of this
  • You can include a timetable but this is harder for some styles of home education so you may want to describe this. A timetable would include clubs, groups, core learning time and additional hobbies. You can be quite creative here if you consider all the opportunities for learning there are in the week such as cooking which can include maths, reading, design and technology in one hit!
  • Resources can be added but are not essential and could take up a lot of the report, you could just consider adding key resources you use or special resources you have used, this is a link to a basic resource list. Consider including resources such as museums, art galleries, sports centres and libraries
  • Social opportunities are really important to include, list the groups, clubs and any other opportunities your child has
  • List or include all the opportunities your child has to access physical activity, this can be inside and outside
  • Try and include your child’s voice, how do they feel about their learning, what do they love and what are they working on
  • If you are including bits of work within the report they will be most keen to see core subjects so include some writing and maths

We created the Collage app to do all of this for you. The great thing about Collage is it saves so much time and storage. You can record many of the things above as you set up and then just upload learning as it happens, then just download a report every so often to send to the EHE or our favourite is to share it with them via a zoom meeting, you can download reports to show them via the share button and you can go into the app and show them the specific things you want to. Families with older children are training their children to upload their learning onto Collage which is an example of great self-direction in terms of the child owning their learning.

Links

Education Otherwise

Home Education UK

Ed Yourself – Legal Guidance