Elective Home Education (EHE)

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.

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Deciding to home educate

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.

Reasons for home educating

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.

Resources and equipment

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.

Mixing with others

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.

School places

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.

Special Educational Needs

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.

The legal position

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;

  1. to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and;
  2. to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.'

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.

The process

When a decision is made by a parent to home educate, they are required to inform the school in writing of their intention to home educate. The school will then complete a referral to the Single Point of Access providing a copy of the parent’s notification. They will then send this notification to the Education Welfare Service to offer EHE Support & Advice and who will then make contact with the family to offer a home visit within 20 days, allowing the family to settle into home education and develop their provision.

Following the initial home visit, if there is evidence of a well-rounded education taking place, the Education Welfare Service (designated EHE contact) will make contact once a year to check that they family are still home educating, that contact details have not changed and an annual visit will be offered to the family.

The remit of the EWS Officers is not to police, but to support families where necessary and offer advice to enable home educators to provide the best possible education for their child and satisfy the local authority’s obligation to establish that a child is in receipt of suitable education.

A parent may choose not to meet with their allocated home education officer, they would then be asked to provide examples of the education that their child or young person is receiving; this could be in the form of a written overview or philosophy, an education plan, a diary, photographs or copies of the child’s work.

Further information

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.

Health offer

A School Health Service available for home educated children and young people in Richmond. Please download and read the Richmond School Health Service letter (MS Word, 72 KB) for more information. 

You can complete an online health questionnaire to help the service identify any health needs your child may have:

If you would like to contact the service please contact:

Email: CLCHT.Richmondschoolnursing@nhs.net
Phone: 0208 917 4220


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)
Email: ews@achievingforchildren.org.uk

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: 9 January 2019