This is a mobile phone compatible, mini version of the HE UK web site.
the information contained here pertains to England and Wales only.
This mini, mobile friendly, web site is intended to offer advice to families who may find themselves stopped by either police officers or truancy officers while out and about.
It should not be regarded as a replacement for professional legal advice. While every effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained here is accurate and informative, no absolute guarantees can be made regarding its accuracy.
Advice to police officers and LA staff
You may find the family or child to be apprehensive having been stopped. This is almost certainly the result of many such encounters being reported within the home education community in a negative light.
Unfortunately the home education community have found that in many cases those who are tasked to identify truanting children are only rarely aware of the issues relating to home education. this has resulted in less than satisfactory experiences and outcomes for home educated children and their families.
On the other hand you will in most cases find the family and even the child to be articulate and aware of their legal position. They will be cautious but polite.
They will also be firm in their expectation that their right to be out and about is respected.
Advice to parents and children encountering officers on the street.
When encountering either police officers or LA staff who show an interest in your presence you should:
Remain calm at all times.
Be polite, even in the face of poor knowledge of home education issues, while the lack of training remains a problem this is hardly the fault of the front line officer.
Never, under any circumstances lie or embellish your statements, stick to the facts. As a home educated child or parent, you have every right to be out and about during 'normal' school hours and that your right is respected.
If the officer appears uninformed regarding home education issues, you might consider offering your mobile phone to the officer so he can read the advice on these pages.
If you feel a complaint is appropriate take down the officers number and the local authority representatives name. Note the time and place of the event and record the event in writing as soon after the event as possible. Stick to the facts of the case. If you have a friend with you ask them to record their impressions of the event.
Police officers may offer you a paper record of the 'stop' with his or her details on it.
After the event
Families often report feeling disturbed or 'churned up' having been stopped. It is perfectly normal to feel stressed.
It is advisable therefore that you should take a break from your activities, rest a while, go to a cafe perhaps.
It is probably not advisable for you to drive a motor vehicle as it is likely you will feel distracted.
Children should be advised to immediately call home to inform their parents that they were stopped.
© Mike Fortune-Wood 2011