A parent or carer can choose to educate their child at home, this is known as 'Elective Home Education or EHE'.
Deciding to educate your child at home can be a rewarding choice for many parents, but it does require a lot of dedication, hard work and patience. As you would be assuming responsibility to educate, you must carefully consider whether you are able to provide what your child needs. Consider also how this decision would change the relationship with your child, and with other children in your home who may be continuing to go to school.
Often parents choose this option because their child is struggling to cope in their school environment, are anxious, perhaps have sensory needs, or are at risk of exclusion. Schools must not try to persuade parents to educate their child at home by way of avoiding exclusion, or due to poor attendance.
Equally if you are trying to avoid prosecution for attendance, if your child is refusing to go to school or is at risk of exclusion, electing to home educate is not necessarily the answer.
Consider whether there any changes/adjustments that can be made in school that might make a difference. Meet with school to discuss ideas and agree next steps, you can ask school if they would consider a referral to a specialist service for advice or involve local authority professionals, such as the Inclusion & Psychology Service, Engagement Facilitators or Attendance Specialists. These local authority professionals can offer expert advice and guidance to an education setting and discuss alternative options to consider.
You could also consider making a request for an Education, Health & Care Needs Assessment for your child.
How do I elect to Home Educate?
You should write to the school your child currently attends. If your child attends a mainstream school they will be removed from the register and they must inform the local authority, who will contact you to check you have made plans and provide some information to get you started.
Under Section 436A Education and Inspections Act 2006, Local Authorities must make arrangements to identify children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at school
If your child has not yet started school you do not have to tell anyone, but the local authority ask that you let them know.
If your child is currently attending a special school, you will need to get permission from the local authority before they can be removed from the school register.
Please read the information links and watch the SEND IASS video on home education to help you make an informed decision.
What can I do if my child has an EHC plan?
The Local Authority (LA) has no duty to provide education (or secure special educational provision outlined in an EHC plan) for your child if you have elected to home-educate, provided they are satisfied the arrangements you have made are suitable. Where there is an EHC plan the local authority still have responsibility for maintaining it, e.g. carrying out Annual Reviews.
The commissioning body are still responsible for any health care provision detailed in an EHC plan, for example speech and language therapy, though you can make your own alternative arrangements for health provision too.
If your child already has an EHC plan and they are either not attending or at risk of not attending (perhaps at risk of exclusion or refusing to go/anxious), you should request the local authority carry out an early Annual Review. This will enable you to discuss that the school place is at risk of breaking down and talk through options.
If you are starting to question whether your child’s needs can be met in a mainstream school, it might be that you want to explore specialist schools and this review provides the opportunity to share your views.
You could consider requesting the ‘education otherwise’ option. Within this it might be possible to evidence that, due to your child’s current needs, this can only be delivered at home. Though the local authority must be satisfied it would be inappropriate for the provision to be made in a school, it might be appropriate for them to continue to have a duty to secure special educational provision in these circumstances. Section 61 of the Children & Families Act is where you will find the relevant duty.
For more information read Education Otherwise
What is a School Attendance Order?
Under Section 437(1) Education Act 1996, Local Authorities shall intervene if it appears that the parents are not providing a suitable education. They can serve a notice in writing on the parent asking the parent to demonstrate that the child is receiving a suitable education and setting a specified period of time in which the parent must demonstrate this. That period of time should not be less than 15 days from the date on which the notice was served.
If a parent fails to satisfy the Local Authority within the notice period that they are providing the child with a suitable education, the Local Authority can serve a School Attendance Order on them. The School Attendance Order can name a school that the child should attend. This is usually a last resort and should only be done when all reasonable steps have been exhausted.
The parent can provide evidence at any time to request that the order is revoked. If a parent is dissatisfied with the conduct of the Local Authority they can make a complaint to the Secretary of State for Education or the Local Government Ombudsman.
Further information around Elective Home Education
Also in this section:
Information on choosing and starting a new school, transition tips and how to move a child to a different school
Information on how to apply for a school place and admissions appeal guidance
What to expect and what you need to do when your child is starting school for the first time or moving on to another school.
A move or phase change in education is commonly called 'transition'. It is important to help prepare the child or young person for this.
If your child is at primary, junior or secondary school and you want to move them to a different school, you need to apply.
This section is for appeals for children/young people who do not have an EHC plan. We understand this can be an unsettling time but are here to help.