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Home Resident Education, Children and Young People What is Elective Home Education?

What is Elective Home Education?

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Elective home education – sometimes referred to as EHE – is a term used to describe when parents chose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to school.

EHE or educating at home, is different to home tuition which can be provided by the Local Authority when a child has a significant medical condition which is likely to last a number of weeks and the evidence provided has been approved via a moderation panel as having met criteria.

Will I receive any funding or support?

Local Authorities have no legal responsibility to fund home education. You take full responsibility for everything including books, materials, courses and exam fees.  

When you begin to educate your child at home, your Local Authority will ask about how you intend to educate your child.

Will my child be able to take examinations?

Yes. You can enter your child for examinations, however, you will have to arrange this and pay the cost yourself. The Local Authority can tell you the location of your nearest examination center.  

Can my child return to school? 

Yes, but you must contact the Local Authority. You can do so at any time. However, there is no guarantee that there will be a place at the school your child previously attended.  

Here are some questions to consider before deciding to educate your child at home:

  • Is your child positive about the suggestion of being educated at home?
  • Are you are convinced it is best for your child?
  • Do you have the time to devote to your child’s education?
  • Do you have the ability to teach your child effectively?
  • Will you be able to educate your child to the required level if they want to take GCSEs?
  • Are you are prepared to buy and do you have the funds for the necessary resources?
  • Do you have other support available?
  • Do you have the space to create a quiet working area?
  • Are there opportunities for physical exercise?
  • Will social experiences with other children be available?
  • Are you sure you are not choosing to educate at home because of  disputes with the school, or as a reason for not sending your child to 
  • school on time or regularly?

What Education should I provide?

Your responsibility as a parent is to make sure that what is taught is helping your child to learn.  The education you provide must be efficient and suitable. Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 it is your duty as a parent to make sure your child receives efficient full-time education suitable for their age, ability and aptitude and for any additional educational needs they may have.  This can be done at either school or otherwise. Education is considered efficient and suitable if it allows a child to achieve their potential and prepares them for adult life. 

Your teaching should help your child:

  • gain knowledge
  • make progress
  • increase understanding
  • develop skills
  • help them think and learn for themselves

Do I have to follow the National Curriculum?

No, but it is a useful reference. How your child learns is up to you, although it may be more difficult to pass exams if the curriculum has not been followed.

Local authority’s responsibility

Local authorities are not responsible for the provision of EHE or under any statutory obligation to support it. However, under section 436A of the Education Act 1996, local authorities do have a duty to identify children not receiving a suitable education. The duty applies in  relation to children of compulsory school age who are not on a school register and who are not  receiving a suitable education otherwise than being in school (e.g. at home, privately or in  alternative provision).

Local Authorities will ask you about your child’s education. You do not have to give this information to them, however without it, the Local Authority cannot make a decision as to whether your child is getting a suitable education. In order for a Local Authority to satisfy themselves of the suitability of education provided, it is reasonable for them to request information from you. It would be helpful if you could provide information about the work undertaken, for example:-

  • Samples of your child’s work.
  • A third party endorsement of your provision.
  • A report about your provision.
  • Evidence in some other appropriate form.                             

What will happen if it appears that I’m not providing a suitable education?

Under section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, Local Authorities have a duty to take action if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education. Your local authority will discuss any concerns with you.

If you fail to prove to the local authority that you are providing a suitable education, and they feel it necessary for your child to go to school, they must serve a School Attendance Order (SOA) on you, which in effect is an order to enforce education at a school. If a parent fails to comply with an SAO, they can be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court.

If you have any other questions or are considering Elective Home Education, please make contact with  

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