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.
We have 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 in our elective home education policy.
Our guidance for parents and professionals document gives an overview of what our EHE team are likely to consider a suitable education and what might lead them to see the education is unsuitable.
What to consider before you decide to home educate 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 points:
- what the long term education goals are for your child/children
- why you are considering electing to educate your child/children at home
- how you will provide an efficient, full-time education suitable for your child’s age, ability and aptitude
- whether you have the time and capacity needed to educate your child at home
- whether you are able to meet the full financial responsibilities associated with EHE
- what form the learning will take and how you will engage your child in learning
- how you will choose what to teach your child and how to teach it
- whether your home context is suitable for teaching and learning, for example, whether there is enough space and whether it can provide a quiet learning environment
- what would happen if you are not available to provide suitable full-time education for a short or long period
- whether your child will sit any exams such as GCSEs and if so, consider how you will ensure they cover the correct exam content and where will the exams be taken
- what your child thinks about EHE and whether they want to leave school and be educated at home
Children with an 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
Electing to home educate - a guide for separated or divorced parents
A parent with parental responsibility can elect to home educate their child. Since December 2003, a father who appears on the birth certificate, regardless of marital status at the time of the birth automatically has parental responsibility.
Providing there are no court orders specifically saying that one or other parent cannot do so, either parent can send in a de-registration letter without needing the other parent's consent. However, it is likely to be in the best interests of the child to discuss the withdrawal to elective home education with the other parent before taking the decision.
If one parent does de-register their child from school and the other parent disagrees, then the decision can be challenged by applying for a specific issue order. This would be an issue between the two parents and the court, it would not alter the validity of the original de-registration letter as far as the school or local authority are concerned.
Neither the school, nor the local authority, can be responsible for mediating between parents and if they cannot mutually agree then they will need to seek legal advice and guidance.
There is more information on parental responsibility from the Department for Education. The Department for Education also provides guidance for parents and local authorities in relation to EHE.
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 and we will then contact you to check some basic information and 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 and an update on their education and check that we have the correct contact information for you.
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 or 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. Our Understanding School Attendance Orders guide has more information.
More points to consider about elective home education
- you can still access the school nursing service for your child when you move to 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+.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember there may not be a place immediately available at your chosen school.
School Attendance Orders
We have a duty to ensure all children in our area have access to a suitable education. If we are not satisfied that your child is receiving a suitable education, we may need to use the School Attendance Order process.
If you are thinking of taking responsibility for educating your child yourself and would like to talk to our team about it or have any other questions about EHE, please do not hesitate to contact us by email to email@example.com. We are very happy to talk it through and to answer questions you might have to help you to make an informed decision.
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.