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All parents and carers must ensure provision of suitable education for their children. Most parents/carers choose to educate their children at school however some people choose to teach their child at home, this is known as elective home education (EHE).

The Education Act 1996 Section 7 states that:

the parent of a child who is of compulsory school age has a legal duty to see that their child receives efficient full-time education, suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, and to any special education needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise

It gives parents the right to educate their children "otherwise" than at school.

Being a home educator is a big decision, we advise you think about why you are considering home education, what it will involve, the costs, time commitment, and if you have the energy and ability to provide the appropriate support, motivation and resources for your child, or if you intend to employ a tutor/teacher. 

We also recommend that you speak to one of our education officers, the school, and your child. If it is that you are having problems with your child's school, teachers or you are considering home education in reaction to a particular situation such as bullying we recommend you speak to the school, school's governing body or education officer and try to fix any problems.  Often problems can be resolved in other ways and schools have many professionals on hand to help. 

Platinum Jubilee book to arrive in primary schools from mid-May

You may have recently seen media coverage relating to each child in state funded primary education receiving the gift of a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee commemorative book.  Distribution of this via schools will begin in mid-May and be completed before the end of the academic year. 

We have had a few queries about whether children in home education will also receive this gift.  

While children at independent schools and those in elective home education will not receive this book, it will be available for private purchase via online and high street booksellers from 23 June 2022. A digital version of the book will also be available, at no charge to readers, from September.

Press release from the Department for Education

Further information

What do I need to do if I wish to educate my child at home?

  • You will need to write to the school stating that you intend to educate your child at home.
  • You will then receive a letter from the Educational Investigation Service to arrange a meeting with you, either at home or at their office. This is normal procedure. The service seeks to establish initial contact and discuss any issues you feel may have been overlooked etc. Following this initial meeting your contact details will be passed to an elective home education co-ordinator, with whom all future contact will take place

  • We have a duty to ensure that a suitable education is taking place. The way this is done is open to negotiation between the authority and the family.

  • There are basically three options:

  • A visit made to the family home by the adviser

  • A meeting held outside of the home (at both of these options your child/children may or may not be present)
  • By the sending in of a report which may or may not be accompanied by samples of work

However, past experience has shown that to establish a good working relationship, built upon mutual trust and the exchange of information and advice a home visit with parent(s) and child/children at a mutually convenient time is our preferred option.

For Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

We work in partnership with, and support parents to ensure that the SEN of their children are met where we know or have been informed by parents of children's SEND.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, the plan should make clear that the child or young person will be educated at home. If it does then by law we must arrange the special educational provision set out in the plan, working together with you (the parents/carer).

In cases where the EHC plan gives the name of a school or type of school where the child will be educated and the parents decide to educate at home, we are not under a duty to make the special educational provision set out in the plan provided it is satisfied that the arrangements made by the parents are suitable. We review the plan annually to assure that the provision set out in it continues to be appropriate and that the child’s SEN continue to be met. Where we have decided that the provision is appropriate, we should amend the plan to name the type of school that would be suitable but state that parents have made their own arrangements under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

Where a child or young person is a registered pupil and the parent decides to home educate, the parent must notify the school in writing that the child or young person is receiving education otherwise than at school and the school must then remove the pupil's name from the admission register. If the school is a special school, the local authority must give consent for the child's name to be removed, but this should not be a lengthy or complex process. There is no provision in law for a ‘trial period’ of home education.

Schools can make a referral to the EIS under local referral arrangements

Local authorities do not have the right of entry to the family home to check that the provision being made by the parents is appropriate and may only enter the home at the invitation of the parents. Parents should be encouraged to see this process as part of the authority’s overall approach to home education of pupils with SEND, including the provision of appropriate support, rather than an attempt to undermine the parents’ right to home educate. Local authorities should not assume that because the provision being made by parents is different from that which was being made or would have been made in school that the provision is necessarily unsuitable. Local authorities should also consider using their power to help parents make suitable provision.

For a child or young person with an EHC plan that does not meet the child or young person’s needs. The local authority is required to intervene through the school attendance order framework ‘if it appears…that a child of compulsory school age is not receiving suitable education’. The serving of a school attendance order is a last resort if all attempts to improve provision are unsuccessful. ‘Suitable education’ means efficient full-time education suitable to the child or young person’s age, ability and aptitude and to any SEND they may have.

Can my child return to school at a later date if they have been educated at home?

Yes. Parents may approach a local school to see if they have a place available, or may contact us for information about available places. Even if they have not been covering the same material as children in school, home educated children often display a maturity, confidence and flexibility which helps them to integrate well.

If you decide at any point that your child should return to school you should contact us. Please bear in mind that Dudley secondary schools are very popular and there may be limited spaces available to new pupils in some areas of the borough.

Websites for help and support on home education

There are a number of voluntary organisations who can offer support to home educating families. 

  • Christian Home Schooling - Tips and resources on Christian homeschooling.
  • Education Otherwise - Articles and books on home-education and alternative learning systems.
  • HE Special UK - Largest UK membership organisation which provides support and information for families whose children are being educated at home.
  • Home Education - Information, articles, resources and mailing list for parents of children with special needs who would like to educate at home.
  • Home Education Advisory Service - A support group offering information for home educators including advice about educational materials, resources, GCSE examinations, special educational needs, information technology, and legal matters.
  • MuddlePuddle - Home education resources and ideas for parents with younger children.
  • Friends, Families and Travellers - National Charity.

Principles of Elective Home Education

  • All of our ways of working will be in line with DCSF and Local Authority (LA) guidelines.
  • Procedures should be clear, consistent, non-intrusive and timely in order to provide a good foundation for the development of trusting relationships.
  • We wish to work with parents to develop effective partnerships
  • To have a yearly review of our procedures involving appropriate officers, home education organisations and parents. Any complaints will be listened to and handled sensitively.
  • The Senior Officer with responsibility for elective home education policy and procedures will ensure that all officers who have contact with home educating families have received appropriate training.
  • We recognise that there are many approaches to educational provision, not just a “school at home” model. What is suitable for one child may not be for another but all children should be involved in a learning process.
  • The degree of contact with specific home education families will be dependant on individual circumstances and / or the suitability of education being received.
  • In terms of the monitoring process, we recognise that legally we do not have the right of access to the child’s home although a home visit is the preferred option.  Parents may choose to have a meeting outside the home or to submit a written report.
  • For children with a statement of special educational needs, this will be reviewed annually following procedures set out in chapter 9 of the SEN Code of Practice.
  • We will provide written information and website links for prospective and existing elective home educating parents setting out the legal responsibilities and roles and responsibilities of both us and parents.
  • If any child protection concerns come to light in the course of engagement with children and families, or otherwise, these concerns will be immediately referred to the appropriate authorities using our established protocols.
  • All elective home education young people will have access to the Connexions Service once they reach 13 years of age.
  • We will assist the parents of home educated children who wish to pursue work experience through existing Education Business Partnership arrangements so that health and safety issues, child protection and insurance provision are covered to safeguard the young person.

Early Help

Early Help is taking action early to provide support where problems are emerging for children, young people and their families. Early help support may be provided at any point in a child or young person’s life. The sooner the family receives the support, the sooner they are able to improve their situation and prevent the need for prolonged support.  For more information click here: Early Help.

For further information contact Dudley Council Plus.