The legality of flexi-schooling

Corrine Pearson made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,
I should like to request information, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in relation to the removal of paragraph 5.6 v2 from The Elective Home Education Guidelines in March 2013, as well as the DofE published statement below:

"where parents have entered in to flexi-schooling arrangements, schools may continue to offer those arrangements... The reference in the Government's revised advice on school attendance that was categorical that a school could not agree to a flexi-schooling arrangement, has been removed. "

Specifically I would like answers to the following questions:
1) Is the removal of paragraph 5.6 v2 and the consequent published statement the most recent publication pertaining to flexi-schooling; have there been any further publications written and/or released by the Department for Education pertaining to flexi-schooling since the release of the guidance quoted above? If there have been any further publications, please can I be provided with links so that I can access them.

2) Does the release of the quoted statement above remove flexi-schooling as a legal option for parents?

2b) More specifically, are head teachers in all local authorities England still permitted to legally enter into new flexi-schooling arrangement with parents as of November 2018? Or did the legal option of new flexi-schooling arrangements cease to exist in 2013 following the release of the above mentioned guidance? Please can this question be answered with a direct yes or no answer with any further policy clarification in addition to the direct answer, not instead of a direct answer.

3) Is flexi-schooling, if agreed by the head teacher, a legal option for educating children in both primary and secondary schools?

4) Is a local authority permitted to prohibit a proposal for flexi-schooling from a parent to the head teacher of a school on the basis of it not being a legal option?

I look forward to a reply within the 20 days

Yours faithfully,

Corrine Pearson

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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Dear Ms Pearson

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2018-0044390.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

show quoted sections

BISHOP, Stephen, Department for Education

Dear Ms Pearson


Thank you for your email below. The department does not accept that this
is a freedom of information request within the terms of the 2000 Act.
However, the answers to your questions are as follows:


1.     There has been no formal publication of DfE guidance on
flexi-schooling since the statements you mention. However, the department
has subsequently made its position clear in numerous items of
correspondence with MPs and others. I would also draw your attention to
the draft revised guidance on home education, released on 10 April 2018 as
part of the consultation at:




The revised guidance contains the department’s current view on
flexi-schooling at paragraphs 10.7ff. However, the finalised version of
the guidance has not yet been published as responses to the consultation
are still being considered;


2.     (a) No, flexi-schooling is legal, in the view of DfE. However, only
the courts can give an authoritative ruling on the law;

(b) The head teacher of any school in England has been free since 2013 to
enter into a flexi-schooling arrangement with parents of a child
registered at that school; but is under no requirement to agree to such an


3.     Yes, in the department’s view.

4.     Not in the department’s view.


Stephen Bishop

Independent Education and Boarding Team

Department for Education

[2][email address]

01325 340440 (int x640440)





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Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

I have added this link to my page on flexischooling