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Elective home education

Mother, father and children

Every parent has a right to provide Elective Home Education (EHE) for their school age child(ren).

This means that, rather than attending school, parents take full responsibility for providing education to their child(ren) outside the school environment, which could be at home or elsewhere.

Due to Covid-19, we understand that you may be considering providing home education as an alternative to your child attending a school setting. We have provided some guidance for you to consider whilst making an informed decision. 

Read our guidance for parents/carers [209KB]

What the law says

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
  • to any special educational needs he may have

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."

The responsibility for a child's education rests with his or her parents. An "efficient" and "suitable" education is not defined in the Education Act 1996 however

  • "efficient" has been broadly described in case law as an education that "achieves that which it sets out to achieve"
  • "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"

There is no definition for "full time", however when a child attends school he or she could expect to receive between 22 and 25 hours of tuition per week for 38 weeks per year. 

Reasons for EHE

There are many reasons parents may choose to electively home educate their children. The following reasons for home educating are common, but by no means exhaustive:

  • distance or access to a local school
  • religious or cultural beliefs
  • philosophical or ideological views
  • dissatisfaction with the system
  • bullying
  • 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 children.

Parents should give serious consideration to a decision to provide elective home education as it is a large undertaking. The local authority can provide advice for parents considering or undertaking elective home education, however we cannot provide financial assistance, a curriculum, a venue or tutors.

How to begin EHE

If your child is currently in school and you wish to begin elective home education, you must write to the school informing them that you wish to remove your child from the school roll as you will be taking responsibility for providing education at home. You need to do this so that the school can legally remove your child from the register. 

If your child is not currently in school, you do not need to notify anyone of your intention to electively home educate. However, by notifying the local authority directly you may benefit from the advice and support that can be provided to you.

We would strongly recommend that you tell your GP, and any health services you use, that your child is being educated at home. This is so that your child can continue to get the health checks and immunisations that he or she would have received through school.

Contact with the Local Authority

Hillingdon respects parents' rights to electively home educate. Where Hillingdon is aware of home-educated children within our area, we will provide information for the parents or guardians who have chosen to home-educate. This information may be specific to the age of the pupil, for example about exam centres etc. We will aim to contact parents on an annual basis to provide the latest information regarding EHE and we will also invite parents to respond to a questionnaire. 

While we would encourage parents to maintain a dialogue with the local authority, there is no requirement for them to do so.

If information exists which may cast doubt on whether an "efficient and suitable education" can or is being provided, Hillingdon will seek to gather any relevant information that will assist in reaching a properly informed judgement.  This will include seeking from the parents any further information that they wish to provide explaining how they intend to provide a suitable education for their child(ren) and the parents will be given the opportunity to address any specific concerns that the local authority has.  

The local authority does have the authority to enforce a 'school attendance order' where an efficient and suitable education is not being provided despite the parents being provided an opportunity to address concerns raised by the local authority. Hillingdon sees the taking of the above measure as a last resort after all reasonable avenues have been explored to bring about a resolution of the situation.  At any stage following the issue of the Order, parents may present evidence to Hillingdon that they are now providing a suitable and appropriate education and apply to have the Order revoked.

Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Parents' right to educate their child at home applies equally where a child has SEN. This right is irrespective of whether the child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, or not.

However, if you have a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan who is attending a special school under arrangements made by the local authority, additional permission is required from the SEN team before the child's name can be removed from the register. This is so we can ensure your child's needs continue to be met and reviewed on an annual basis.

If you are educating your child at home and you think your child may have SEN you can request a statutory assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan through the local authority. You can find more information about this from the Special Educational Needs Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).

If you feel you are struggling to access any local services as a result of your child being home educated please contact our team using the contact details below.​

Hillingdon Parent and Carers Forum

The Hillingdon Parent and Carers Forum is a group of parents and carers of children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities or additional needs, based in the borough.

They aim to represent the views of parents and carers in discussions with the council and help to shape local services for children and young people with special education needs.

Read more about the forum and how you can get involved.

GCSE Examinations

If you have chosen to electively home educate your child, you assume responsibility for the cost of any exams you would like him/her to sit. If you would like your child to sit their GCSE examinations you can contact The Skills Hub on 01895 447102 for further information about available courses and timings.

If you require any further information please email ehe@hillingdon.gov.uk or call the School Placement and Admissions team on 01895 558670.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 24 Sep 2020 at 14:44