Home Education, sometimes referred to as home schooling, or elective home education, is when parents decide to educate their child and take full responsibility for doing so, out of a school environment.
Section 7 of the Education Act states that
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full time education suitable:
- to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and
- to any special educational needs he/she may have
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise
There is no legal definition in the Education Act for “efficient” or “suitable” however, it is generally accepted in case law that “efficient” is an education “that achieves that which it sets out to achieve” and “suitable” is an education “that primarily equips a child for life within the community of which they are a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child’s option in later years to adopt some other form of life if she or she wishes to do so”
This means a parent can choose to send their child to a school or make alternative arrangements for their education, such as private tuition, distance learning, e-learning or providing the education themselves.
Parents who choose to home educate do not have to have a teaching qualification, nor do they have to follow the national curriculum, or even enter their child for any examinations.
Deregister your child
To home educate a child, you do not need to seek permission if your child is in a mainstream school or if your child has not started school. The rules around children with EHC Plans) are slightly different.
To deregister a child who is in a mainstream school (without an EHC Plan), the parent just needs to write to the school requesting that they deregister the child (ie remove their name from the school roll). The school then has to inform the Local Authority.
If your child is not in school and has never been in school, you can choose to notify the Local Authority’s Elective Home Education (EHE) Team. Their details should be on the LA’s Local Offer. This enables the LA to keep an accurate record of the educational provision and also enables the parent’s entitlement to support and advice from an allocated officer.
Children with EHC Plans
If your child has an EHC Plan, then the LA must be involved in the process of de-registering your child. The LA has a legal duty to ensure that the provision within the EHC Plan can be met outside the school environment. Usually a LA officer from the EHE Support team will visit the family to discuss how they intend to meet the objectives in the EHC Plan. Following this, a report is produced and sent to the SEN team within the LA.
There are several websites offering advice and information on home education. Many offer template letters and support networks, as well as consultancy.
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