Parents and carers have a legal responsibility to ensure that a child of compulsory school age gets an efficient full-time education. This must be suitable to the age, ability, and aptitude of the child and to any special educational needs the child has. For the majority of children, this means regular attendance at school, but some parents choose to educate their child at home rather than at school.
What is an efficient and suitable education?
An 'efficient' and 'suitable' education is not defined in the Education Act 1996, however there are explanations which are usually used.
'Efficient' has been broadly described in case law as an education that 'achieves that which it sets out to achieve'.
A 'suitable' education is one that 'primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child's options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so'.
Why educate a child at home?
Parents may choose home education for a variety of reasons. These are some common reasons, but there are many others too:
- distance to, or access to, a local school
- religious or cultural beliefs
- philosophical or ideological views
- being unsatisfied with the school system
- as a short term intervention for a particular reason
- a child's unwillingness or inability to go to school
- special educational needs
- parents' desire for a closer relationship with their child
Parents may decide to use private tutors or other adults to help educate their child at home, but there isn't any requirement to do so. Learning may take place in a variety of locations, not just in the family home.
How do I start educating my child at home?
You must tell your child’s current school about your decision to educate your child at home in writing. The school will then tell us.
When we find out that a parent wants to educate their child at home, we'll contact the parent and arrange a meeting. We need to ensure that the child is getting a full time, efficient education, suitable to their age, ability and aptitude.
We have no automatic right to access your home. But parents can, if they wish, give us access to their home, or offer an suggest an alternative place to meet. At the initial meeting, we will agree with the parent on the nature and frequency of future contact.
If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an EHCP plan (education, health and care plan) and they attend a special school, their name can't be removed from the school’s register without consent from us. We must agree that the home education will meet the child's needs, as identified in the Statement of SEN or EHCP.
You shouldn't take your child out of school just because of a disagreement with the school or class teacher. There are lots of ways of solving problems, including contacting the head teacher of your child's school, or the governors of the school, or you can contact us for more advice and guidance.
What do I need to do if I educate my child at home?
We expect that parent/carers who educate their child at home will:
- make sure their child gets a suitable full-time education for as long as they are being educated at home
- play a substantial role in the child's education, although not necessarily by being constantly or actively involved in providing that education
- recognise their child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations, as well as opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences
- give access to the resources/materials needed for a suitable education at home
- give the child opportunities for interaction with other children and adults
- be responsible for their child’s education, including the cost of sitting any examinations
For more about education at home, please contact:
Responsible Officer for Elective Home Education
Phone: 01642 201846