Elective Home Education

You do not have to send your children to school, however you do have to ensure that your child is educated, and this can be a home-based education.

Elective Home Education guide for parents

The Education Welfare Service provides support and guidance to all schools and families and relevant agencies on issues relating to Elective Home Education - also called home schooling.


Deciding to Electively Home Educate is a big responsiblity, and the decision should not be taken lightly.

You may wish to contact the local authority for advice if the decision has been made due to:

  • disagreement with a school,
  • disappointment at not getting a particular school place, or
  • difficulty in persuading your child to attend.

From the start be sure you are doing what is right for your child. Discuss it with them and with the school. If appropriate speak to one of the home education support agencies whose details are available through a number of websites.

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.

Requirements of the parent

It can be very rewarding to home educate, but it requires 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.

Socialising with other children

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 or 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.

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 specialist school placement the consent of the local authority is required before a child's name can be removed from the school 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;

(a) to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and;

(b) 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 fifth 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 Home Education team in the Education Welfare Service who will then make initial contact with the family.

Following this contact an appointment will be offeredfor 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.

The authority believes 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.


If you have further questions about home education, please contact the Education Welfare Service:

Phone: 020 8487 5217 (Richmond)
Email: ews@achievingforchildren.org.uk

For immediate Child Protection concerns phone the Single Point of Access 020 8891 7969 during office hours 9am to 5.15pm (Mon-Thurs) and 9am to 5pm (Fri).

Updated: 18 October 2016