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Educating your child at home

If you are thinking about home education (home schooling), or are already educating your child at home, we can provide information and support.

Most people choose to send their children to school to be educated, but you are legally entitled to educate your child at home. This is called elective home education (EHE).

We've provided some guidance and information on this page to help answer some of your questions or you can contact us for more information.

Contact us

If you are thinking about home educating and would like to talk to us about your decision, or you wish to register you child with us please contact us.

You can contact our elective home education support workers by email or telephone:

Submit or update your details

Information and support

The responsibility for children’s education rests with their parents and parents have a right to educate their children at home.

The parents' right to educate their child at home applies equally where a child has a special educational need or has an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 provides that:

"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable -

  • to his age, ability and aptitude, and
  • to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."

There is no definition of the terms suitable or efficient full-time education in statute law.

Efficient can be interpreted as meaning education which ‘achieves what it is intended to achieve’.

Children attending school normally have about five hours tuition a day for 190 days a year, spread over about 38 weeks.

Home education does not have to mirror this. In elective home education there is often almost continuous one-to-one contact and education may sometimes take place outside normal “school hours”. You can teach your child on any day of the week and choose the hours that you feel are suitable.

It must be suitable to the age, ability and aptitudes of the child, and any special educational needs. It must be age-appropriate, enable the child to make progress according to his or her ability and should take account of any specific aptitudes.

National curriculum

You do not need to follow the national curriculum but you should consider the effect this will have on your child regarding future study and qualifications.

If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, the educational provision outlined in the plan must be available to them.

Our elective home education (EHE) team will take account of this in determining if home education is suitable.

The local authority still has an obligation to conduct an annual review of the EHC plan even when home education is suitable.

If your child has an EHC plan and it hasn't been reviewed in the past 12 months, please contact our EHE support workers.

You can also read further information about educating children with special educational needs at home on our website.

 

Before you make that decision, our elective home education (EHE) support workers are available to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities of home education and to identify if you need any support. You may also want to speak to one of our children's champions.

We recommend that parents discuss the decision with the school to see if any issues can be resolved, although this might not be the case.

The school admissions team are available (at your local area education office) to discuss the options if you want to consider moving schools.

We also have a list of home education websites that might support you in your decision.

Parents have a right to educate their children at home, and the government wants the many parents who do it well to be supported. Educating children at home is a rewarding but challenging task that works well when it is a positive, informed and dedicated choice.

If your child has never been to school you don't have to do anything before starting home education.

However our team is available if you wish to discuss any aspect of home education or you need help or support. 

If you wish to notify us that you are home educating your child we'll register them with our service and allocate an elective home education (EHE) support worker to your family.

If your child is at school, we recommend that you contact the school and speak to the head teacher to discuss or explain your decision.

The school will request that you formally write to them to de-register your child informing them that you are going to educate your child at home.

Upon receipt of the de-registration letter your child will be taken of the school roll. The school are then legally required to inform the local authority.

School cannot legally remove your child from their roll until they have written confirmation from you that your child is being home educated.

Parents are at risk of prosecution for not securing attendance at the school even if suitable home education is being provided.

When our EHE support workers are made aware of any child of compulsory school age being home educated they will write to you to discuss your plans for home education.

If your child attends a special school, you still have the right to educate your child at home however approval is required from the local authority before this can start.

In the first instance you must contact the school in writing to request that your child be removed from roll for elective home education (EHE).

The school will notify our service of the your request.

An EHE support worker will contact you requesting contact information and more detailed information about the education that you will be providing for your child.

When your EHE support worker receives this information, it will be forwarded to the Inclusion Service.

If the Inclusion Service is satisfied that you are able to provide a suitable education, they will inform your child's school to remove them from roll.

If you choose to educate your child at home you must bear the cost of that education.

You will not receive financial support from the local authority including financial assistance for exams including GCSEs.

Primary school aged home educated children do not take the following tests:

  • Year 1 phonics screening check
  • Year 4 multiplication tables check
  • Year 2 and 6 Standardised Attainment Tests (SATs)

SATS are administered by primary schools in England to check children's educational progress. They are one marker used by the government, and hence parents, of the quality of the education at a school.

There is no requirement for home educated children to take GCSE's. However it is important to consider the implications for your child post-16 if they are not able to meet the entry requirements for a college course or apprenticeship they may wish to pursue.

If you wish for your child to take GCSE examinations this is something that you will have to arrange independently with an external exam centre and fund yourself.

Ideally our elective home education (EHE) support workers would have a conversation with you before you withdraw your child from school to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities of home education and to identify if you need any support.

Our team will contact you in writing when we are informed by your child's former school that your child is now being home educated.

We'll contact you at least once a year requesting information about the education provided and the progress your child is making.

Please let us know if your child returns to school at any point and is no longer home educated. We will then remove your child's name from our database.

The Department for Education (DfE) Guidance for Local Authorities (April 2019) says:

"Parents are under no duty to respond to such enquiries, but if a parent does not respond, or responds without providing any information about the child’s education, then it will normally be justifiable for the authority to conclude that the child does not appear to be receiving suitable education and it should not hesitate to do so and take the necessary consequent steps. This is confirmed by relevant case law.' (Phillips v Brown 1980)."

If you move house or your child starts school we would be grateful if you could let us know.

You may like to send us these details online:

Submit or update your details

If it appears that you are not providing an efficient full-time education suitable to your child's age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs they may have then we could issue a School Attendance Order (Section 437 Education Act 1996) which would require your child to be placed on a school roll.

We would of course seek to avoid this process and encourage all parents to communicate with us.

We would not recommend making this decision solely to avoid exclusion. Please contact us for advice.

Schools should not pressure or persuade parents to opt or consider elective home education because of a child's behaviour or if the child is at risk of exclusion.

We would not recommend making this decision solely to avoid prosecution for non-attendance. Please contact us for advice.

Schools should not pressure or persuade parents to opt or consider elective home education because of a child's attendance or if the parents are at risk of prosecution.

If your child is registered at a school as a result of a school attendance order - you must ask the council to revoke the order if you wish to educate your child at home.

Although children being home-educated are not normally registered at any school, parents sometimes choose for a child to receive part of the total provision at a school.

The purpose of this will often be to provide education in specific subjects more easily than is possible at home. Such arrangements are sometimes known as 'flexi-schooling'.

Schools are under no obligation to agree to such arrangements, but some are happy to do so.

When a child is flexi-schooled, the parents must still ensure that the child receives a suitable full-time education, but the element received at school must be taken into account in considering whether that duty is met.

Children who are receiving 'flexi-schooling' will not be registered as an elective home educated pupil.

You may choose to engage private tutors or other adults to help in providing a suitable education, but there is no requirement to do so.

Other support is available such as parental support groups which offer tuition, and companies which give part-time tuition.

It is your responsibility to check the suitability of any tutors in terms of access to children. We advise that you check they have appropriate references and a recent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure certificate.

Parents can choose to return their children to school at any stage of the school year.

We recommend contacting our Admissions Service (at your local area education office) in the first instance.

Please let us know if your child returns to school at any point and is no longer home educated. We will then remove your child's name from our database.

Children's champions can offer support to a child/young person and their parents, if EHE is being considered but it is not felt to be the correct path for the family.

Children's champions will aim to offer advocacy on behalf of the young person, in reaching a solution with regards their education and work together with the school to ensure EHE is the preferred educational choice of the parents for their child or young person.

Lancashire's children's champions can be contacted by email at TAS@lancashire.gov.uk.

Our procedures are outlined on our website:

Copies of our paperwork are available on request and the Elective Home Education privacy notice is available on our website.

You can view the government guidance for parents and local authorities on GOV.UK.

As part of our work to support home educating families we have compiled the following information: