The long awaited High Court Judgement was given on 16 November 2021, creating new case-law on Elective Home Education. A Home Educating parent (Mrs Goodred)claimed the Council were imposing on her and others in a similar position, the burden of proving that her children are receiving a suitable education at home, when the statutory scheme does not (at that point) impose such a burden. Mrs Goodred also took objection to the Council’s policy on Elective Home Education, issuing School Attendance Order’s where the Council is not satisfied of ‘suitable education’ and claimed its policy and approach meant a SAO could be issued where the council has no concerns.

The Council’s position in order to be assured that the child was receiving a suitable education, was to request evidence to support this and that a report alone should not be relied upon to enable the Council to be confident that suitable education is taking place. Mrs Goodred contended that there is no legal onus on parents to provides such evidence. The Council acknowledged this but claimed it would be sensible for parents to do so because until the local authority is satisfied that a home educating child is receiving a suitable full-time education, then the child being educated at home falls under the scope of the powers and duties in relation to children missing education.

The honourable Mr Justice Lane agreed with Porstmouth City Council on every point and that the Council’s position was also in line with guidance from the Department for Education. The Judge said that in his view Mrs Goodred was aware of what is needed and the truth of the matter was that she was simply unwilling to provide it. Each of Mrs Goodred’s grounds read the full judgement or apply for the webinar in relation to this, please log into the members section.