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LawyerDan90, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 254
Experience:  Expert
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I home educate my daughter who is 9. The local authority,

Customer Question

I home educate my daughter who is 9. The local authority, BCP contacted me a few months ago requesting I answer some questions, which demonstrate/proof I’m providing a ‘full time’ education that meets her needs etc. I have responded and answered all questions I am legally obliged to answer. They are now threatening and SAO, yet have failed to state specifically why! How do I challenge this when I know they are acting outside of their remit, I do not want the unnecessary stress of being taken to court.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Bournemouth, Dorset, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have responded to their request for information
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I have been home educating my daughter since compulsory school age, she has never attended school and this is the first time they have bothered to contact me. She has a private tutor that she visits weekly and attends many community groups where feedback is positive and no one has ever raised any concerns about her educational or social development.
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 15 days ago.
Good evening, my name is ***** ***** I am a Solicitor. Thank you for your question.
Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 15 days ago.

I presume you are making reference to a School attendance order.

Have you made a complaint to the Council?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
a school attendance order has been threatened, I haven’t made a complaint I have simply responded in email and said I think they must be mistaken because I have responded to all of the questions they are entitled to ask and they haven’t even stated the reasons why on the letter they sent me
Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 15 days ago.

Under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, local authorities shall intervene if it appears that the parents are not providing a suitable education.

Have you been given an opportunity to demonstrate this before an SAO is served?

It would be advisable to make a complaint to the Secretary of State for Education or the Local Government Ombudsman.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I have done this and they failed to respond to the email and just sent a letter.I really don’t have the time or energy to start making official complaint which could take months. BCP received a really poor ofsted report and are now harassing families and asking questions outside of their remit, I just want to shut them down quickly with some sort of legal letter.
Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 15 days ago.

It is advisable to contact the council and provide evidence to prove/document that your child is receiving a suitable education.  If no action is taken within the 15 days it is likely that an SAO will be issued.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
As stated in my initial message, I have answered ALL questions they are allowed to ask and fulfilled my legal obligations. They ignored this email and issued this letter.May I ask, is this an area of law you are familiar with? I have been home educating my daughter for 5 years and am well aware of the legal requirement to respond to the local authority request, which I have done so twice within the time limit they set.They are threatening to issue an SAO without stating what in my report does not fulfil their requirement.My initial question was: how do I challenge this when I know they are acting outside their remit? Surely this now counts as harassment as they are contacting me without reason or legal standing?
Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 14 days ago.

To answer your questions directly. You simply need to respond in writing to their letter stating that you will make an application for revocation of the SAO in the event they apply for without responding. If the SAO application is made you will be given a further opportunity to set out your points in writing before a decision is made. In the event an order is made you will then have a further opportunity again to set out your points in mitigation.

Revoking the School Attendance Order

s.442 Education Act 1996

(2) If at any time the parent applies to the local education authority requesting that the order be revoked on the ground that arrangements have been made for the child to receive suitable education otherwise than at school, the authority shall comply with the request, unless they are of the opinion that no satisfactory arrangements have been made for the education of the child otherwise than at school.

(3) If a parent is aggrieved by a refusal of the local education authority to comply with a request under subsection (2), he may refer the question to the Secretary of State.

To answer your second question, not providing you with a response is not considered harassment. You will simply need to prepare a clear response in writing. No order has been made yet and therefore no prejudice from both a Civil or Criminal standard.

Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 14 days ago.

I hope this clarifies your question. Should you require further clarification or seek to ask additional questions feel free to click the premium service link above. Kind regards Daniel

Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 14 days ago.

By clicking this link you will be able to get additional Q&A time with me.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank-you, that is the wording I was looking for, they need a very direct approach as they are overstepping the boundaries of their remit.
Expert:  LawyerDan90 replied 14 days ago.

No problem, I am glad to have been able to assist you today.