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Elective home education

Educate your child at home, permission required, following the national curriculum, funding, tests and examinations, re-registering your child at school, part time schooling and not providing an education. 

Can I educate my child at home?

Yes. Parents may educate their children at home.

Elective home education is the term used by the Department of Education to describe parents’ decision to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school. This is different to home tuition provided by a local authority or education provided by a local authority other than at a school.

Parents' legal duty is set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 as follows:

'It is the duty of parents of every child of compulsory school age "to cause the child to receive an efficient full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise".'

'Full time' does not mean home educators are bound by school hours and terms, and 'efficient' was once defined by a judge to mean 'achieving that which it sets out to achieve'.

It is also important to know that parents have a right to educate their children from their own philosophical, spiritual or religious standpoint.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

Where do I start and do I need anyone's permission to educate my child from home?

Start by considering why you want to home educate, and what it is you want to achieve?

By asking these questions it will become clearer what style of education will best suit you and your child. This will indicate what resources you require. The law does not define education, so long as the education can be said to be efficient, full time and suitable to age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs. This is all that the law (S7 The Education Act 1996) requires an education to be, and nowhere is this further defined. This endorses the potential for individual circumstances and interpretation to endlessly create new ways of achieving this goal.

Each family will find out for themselves what works for them.

If your child has never attended school, no permission or notification is required. If your child already attends a school you must inform the headteacher of your decision in writing to take your child off the school register in order to home educate them.

The school will inform the local authority (council) of your decision. Non-attendance at school without permission while still registered at the school may result in a penalty notice being issued, as this is unauthorised absence from school.

Only if your child already attends a special school or is subject to a School Attendance Order is local authority (council) permission required.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

What if my child has Special Educational Needs?

An Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP) does not affect the right to home education (see S7 Education Act 1996).

No permission is required unless your child attends a Special School.

Suitable arrangements for meeting the child's special needs must be made. This can include an alternative provision to that specified in an EHCP, provided the child's special needs are adequately catered for.

For the duration of the EHCP, the local authority (council) needs to continue to hold an Annual Review and this includes considering whether the wording of the EHCP is still appropriate and whether the EHCP needs to remain in place.

Rights of appeal to the SEN tribunal still apply.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Do I have to follow the National Curriculum and sit SATs?

Your child does not have to follow the National Curriculum and sit SATs.

Should you wish to follow the National Curriculum, information can be found online at

Department for Education (DfE) Curriculum and Qualifications (external website)

This website contains the statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for key stages 1-4 in England. It also includes exemplification of national standards in foundation subjects.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window) 

Elective Home Education Resources Information Sheet (pdf 242kb opens in a new window)

Where can I get information/support?

You can contact the education welfare service who will give advice, discuss resources, examinations and other sources of support with you.

The Libraries and local bookshops are full of useful material.

The Internet (free 30 minute sessions available in libraries) is also a great source of information and support. It also provides opportunities for online tuition and downloadable lesson plans for those seeking a formal approach.

Find your nearest library

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

and

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

Is there any funding available for parents who choose to educate their child at home?

Families successfully home educate on any budget; inevitably parents and carers will incur some expense.

The current financial responsibility for home-educated children has not changed, namely, that parents who choose to electively home educate their children assume financial responsibility for their education. This is set out in paragraphs 5.1- 5.2 of Elective home education: Guidelines for local authorities.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

Do I have to enter my child for tests and examinations?

No, there is no requirement for you to enter your child for any tests or examinations.

For an older child, you may wish to consider their need for qualifications, for example at GCSE, IGCSE or GNVQ part one.  About half of sixteen-year-olds are expected to gain 5 or more GCSEs at A-C grades.

If they do not get qualifications at 16, it is possible to complete an access course at college to catch up.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

In-year School Admissions Application Form and Guidance Notes (pdf 192kb opens in a new window)

Can I re-register my child at school at a later date?

If you wish to re-register your child at school you will need to contact the schools' admissions team and request an application form or contact the school and request a place.

However, it cannot be guaranteed that there will still be a place at the school previously attended; the local authority will not cover any cost of transport.

Find out how to register your child for an East riding school  contact the Schools' Admissions Team.

Admissions Arrangements 2018-19 (pdf 436kb opens in a new window)

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

and

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

Can I educate my child part-time at home and part-time at school?

This is often called 'flexi-schooling'. Permission for this style of education is at the discretion of the headteacher and governors.

An application for a school place is required clearly stating that you would like to be considered for flexi-schooling.

On acceptance from the headteacher, the child would be registered at the school with authorised absences and subject to the National Curriculum during the time of attendance.

When not attending, education is continued at home.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)

What will the local authority do if I am not providing an education?

The local authority should give some indication to parents that there are problems with the home education, either in terms of the education itself or in terms of lack of information about the home education being provided. There should be sufficient time for the family to address the authority's concerns, either by changing the delivery of home education or by providing additional information about the home education programme.

Should there be no improvement, the local authority will write a further letter to inform you of this. The letter would explain that unless there was an immediate improvement, steps would be taken for your child to return to mainstream education.  This would be done by the means of a School Attendance Order (section 437-444 of the Education Act 1996).

This will name the school the child must attend and will direct the parents to register the child at the named school.

Further information for parents considering educating their child at home is available from these websites:

Home Education Advisory Service (external website)

Education Otherwise (external website)

General information can be found on the government's website:

Department for Education (DfE) (external website)

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders may be found at:

Government Guidelines on School Attendance Orders (external website)

Elective Home Education Guidance for Parents (leaflet pdf 303kb opens in a new window)