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Educating your child at home (Elective Home Education)

We are committed to working with the community of electively home educating families so that all children have fulfilled lives and bright futures.

What is elective home education and what is the duty of the Local Authority? 

Parents or carers may choose to take responsibility for providing their child’s education instead of sending them to school. This is called elective home education (EHE).

We recognise and respect that choosing to electively home educate your child/children is a parent’s right.

BCP council has a legal duty to be satisfied that all children are receiving a suitable education and that also includes children who are being electively home educated.

Further details about our responsibilities for EHE, our  policy and procedures can be found at:    

The Government’s Department for Education also provides guidance for parents and local authorities in relation to EHE. 

Is elective home education right for your child?

Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, every parent has the legal responsibility for ensuring that their child of compulsory school age receives:

“an efficient, full-time education suitable:

(a) to their age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) to any special educational needs he/she may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise”

In making the decision whether or not to electively home educate, it may be helpful to consider these questions:

  • What are the long-term education goals for your child/ Children?
  • Why are you considering electing to educate your child/children at home?
  • How will you provide an efficient, full-time education suitable for your child’s age, ability and aptitude?
  • Do you have the time and capacity needed to educate your child at home?
  • Are you able to meet the full financial responsibilities associated with EHE?
  • What form will the learning take? How will you engage your child in learning?
  • How will you choose what to teach your child and how to teach it?
  • Is your home context suitable for teaching and learning? Is there enough space? Can it provide quiet learning environment?
  • What would happen if you are not available to provide suitable full-time education for a short or long period?
  • Will your child sit any exams such as GCSEs and if so, how will you ensure they cover the correct exam content?  and where will the exams be taken?
  • What does your child think about EHE? Do they want to leave school and be educated at home?

If you are thinking of taking responsibility for educating your child yourself and would like to talk to our team about it, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are very happy to talk it through and to answer questions you might have to help you to make an informed decision.   

Please email us at ehe@bcpcouncil.gov.uk. When you contact us:

  • Please make sure to provide us with your contact number so that we can reply to you as swiftly as possible
  • Our aim will be to offer you advice and guidance about elective home education so that you can make the right decision for you and your child
  • You can also contact one of the local home educating support groups. Contact details for these groups can be found via a simple internet search.

Once you have made the decision to electively home educate

If your child is already enrolled at a school, you must tell the headteacher in writing that you want to take them out of school to educate them at home. The school will inform us when you do this.

We then contact you to check some basic information, such as:

  • your child's name
  • their date of birth
  • your contact details.

We will also ask you for a brief outline of your home education plan.

If the information you provide to describe your child’s home education satisfies us that your child is getting a suitable education, we will be in touch with you on an annual basis to ask if:

  • you are still home educating your child
  • we have the right contact details
  • for an update on your child's education.

If you move home, or if your child starts school please let us know as soon as possible.

Depending on your circumstances and your preferences, our annual contact could be through:

  • a home visit
  • a conversation on the phone or by video call
  • by email.

If the information you provide to describe your child’s home education does not satisfy us that your child is getting a suitable education, we will be in touch with you to seek further details and to offer information, advice and guidance.

Where we remain concerned that your child is not receiving an “efficient, full-time education and suitable” education we have a duty to pursue this.  Actions may include seeking a school attendance order.

Children with and Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If your child has an EHCP and attends a mainstream school, the school will tell our special educational needs (SEN) and EHE teams that you wish to  withdraw your child from the school. Your child’s The EHCP will be updated and reviewed annually.

If your child has an EHCP and currently attends an Alternative Provider/Specialist provision, you must let the provider know and discuss your decision to home educate your child with them.

Your child should still attend school until you have spoken to the SEN team and they have agreed to your plan.

Your child’s specialist education provider will:

  • Tell our special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and the EHE teams that you wish to withdraw your child from the setting.

The SEND team will:

  • Contact you to find out about your intentions and discuss how your education plan meets your child’s needs.
  • Your child’s EHCP will be updated and reviewed annually.

Deciding to return to school-based education

You can decide to stop home educating and opt to send your child to a school for their education at any time.

Please remember there may not be a place immediately available at your chosen school.

If you want your child to return to school or to attend school for the first time, please contact the School Admissions Team by email at school.admissions@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

More points to consider about elective home education

  • When you choose to electively home educate your child, you take on full responsibility for the education and for any associated costs e.g. employing a private tutor or associated exam costs
  • If you decide to employ a tutor either, as a paid service or through someone who volunteers to help out, make sure they are safe to work with children (e.g. they have a full disclosure and enhanced barring service clearance (DBS))
  • Ensure your child has opportunities to make friends, socialise and look after their physical and mental well-being, joining activity clubs like sports groups or creative groups can help with this
  • If you want your child to sit an exam you will have to arrange this yourself. You can contact local schools, private tuition centres and/or colleges to see if they can help with this
  • You can ask a school if your child can be taught there part-time, but schools do not have to agree to this
  • If you want your child to have work experience, you must abide by the child employment regulations. They also apply to children who are electively home educated
  • Apprenticeships are not available for compulsory school age children, but are available for children aged 16+.

Contact us for further information

If you have any further questions, or would like to discuss any aspect of EHE please contact us by email at ehe@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

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