Education is compulsory, attending school is not. Although the majority of parents choose to send their children to school, a number of parents choose to educate their children at home. This is called Elective Home Education.
Families who elect to home educate do so for a variety of reasons. The decision to home educate should not be taken lightly. If a decision has been made to educate at home because of a disagreement with a school, disappointment at not getting a particular school place, or difficulty in persuading your child to attend, you may want first to contact the local authority for advice.
From the start be sure you are doing what is right for your child. Discuss it with him/her and with the school. If appropriate speak to one of the home education support agencies whose details are available through a number of websites.
It can be very rewarding to educate your child at home but it does require a serious time commitment, patience, energy and the ability to provide appropriate motivation, resources and equipment. You will need to decide if you have the skills and ability to educate your child or will you employ a tutor/teacher or other forms of support.
The local authority does not provide tutors or tell you what to teach your children and parents will be responsible for arranging and paying for all examinations.
An important part of school life is the opportunity to mix with a variety of other children and adults. Consideration needs to be given by parents/carers about the social development opportunities you will be giving your child(ren.) You may wish to consider them joining a variety of clubs or special interest groups. Some home educating families may get together to arrange group activities.
Once a child is taken off roll at school to be home educated, the place will not be kept, and should you wish to reapply you may find your preferred schools are all full.
Some children with special needs are home educated including where the child has a statement or education health and care plan. If you want to start home education and your child is currently enrolled in school you must tell the school to take your child's name off the school roll.
For children who attend a special school the consent of the local authority is required before a child's name can be taken off their roll.
As a parent you have the legal right to choose to educate your children other than by attendance at school, usually by providing education at home.
Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act states that
'The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive full time education suitable;
The phrase 'or otherwise' allows education outside of formal schooling, providing that the parent/carer can meet the child's needs, as stated above.
The local authority has a duty to intervene if it appears that a home educated child is not receiving suitable education, and this could result in a School Attendance Order.
A child is of compulsory school age from the school term after his/her 5th birthday until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they reach the age of 16. Additionally, the Government has now risen to 18 the age at which a young person must participate in education or training, which can include home education.
Once a parent/guardian informs the school in writing of their decision to electively home educate their child the school will inform the Education Welfare team who will then make initial contact with the family.
Following this contact an appointment will be offered for you to have an opportunity to meet with an Education Adviser who will be able to provide you with advice and guidance and discuss with you your education arrangements. We do request from parents who do not wish to take up any offers of meetings to please provide us with an education plan to the Local Authority on an annual basis.
We believe that parents should have the opportunity to make well-informed choices about their child's education. For that reason, we provide information and advice about elective home education. We are committed to building trusting, positive relationships with parents.
For more information about the processes for elective home education please contact our support team who will be happy to offer further information.
Phone: 020 8487 5217 (Richmond)
For immediate child protection concerns the Single Point of Access can be contacted on 020 8547 5008 during office hours from 8am to 6pm.
Updated: 28 September 2017