Information for Health, Social and Education Professionals

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Elective Home Education - Information for Health and Social Care Professionals


Elective Home Education and the Law- Is Elective Home Education Legal?

The law states that education is compulsory. Attending school isn't.
From Section 7 of the Education Act 1996:

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

(a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b)to any special educational needs he may have,either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. *

Home education comes under the 'otherwise' part of Section 7, allowing parents to make their own arrangements rather than handing over that responsibility to a school.

Special Provision under Section 319

Where a local authorities are satisfied that it would be inappropriate for a child to receive their education in a school, they can arrange for provision to be made otherwise than at school. In this case the Local Authority and not the parents are responsible for the provision,the children remains registered with the LA, and it is often referred to as Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS). This is different from Elective Home Education (EHE HE)

Removing a Child From a Mainstream School

To deregister a child from a mainstream school the parent has to write to the school saying that they will now be home educating. It is the school's responsibility to inform the Local Authority. The parents do not have to inform the LA or anyone else.

If a Child Has Never Been to School

There is no legal requirement for parents to register their child as home educated if they have never been to school. Many home educated children are not known or registered with their LA.

Removing a Child from a Special School

Where a child is a registered pupil at a special school under arrangements made by the LA (so this excludes those who attend special school placements not funded or arranged by the LA), LA 'consent' is required to delete the child's name from the register of the school. This is not permission to Home Educate per se. Parents have the right to electively Home Educate (s7) and do not need permission to Home Educate. Consent should not be unreasonable withheld.

Home Educating with a Statement**

"Parents' right to educate their child at home applies equally where a child has SEN. This right is irrespective of whether the child has a statement of special educational needs or not."*

"Parents need only provide an efficient, full-time education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have as defined in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996." *

Unless the Statement specifies provision at home to be made by the LA, the statement becomes a legally unenforceable document. The LA will no longer have a statutory duty to arrange the provision specified in the Statement and nor will parents who have no statutory duty to provide such anywhere anyway.

The LA are still under a duty to review the statement at least annually, until such time as they cease to maintain it. Where a child is established in elective Home Education, it is reasonable for the LA to conclude that it is no longer necessary for them to make provision or to continue to maintain the statement. Parents who no longer seek provision from the LA could write to the LA asking them to cease to maintain the statement, as it is no longer appropriate.

**From September 2014 Statements will be replaced with Education, Health and Care Plans.

What Does Home Education Look Like

There are as many different ways to home educate as there are children. The advantage of home educating children SEND is that their specific needs can be met on a one to one basis. Parents do not have to follow the National Curriculum, have a time table or prepare formal lesson plans. They do not have to observe school hours, formally assess their children, or match school-based, age-specific standards.


Parents do not have reproduce school type peer group socialisation. There are many of ways in which children can mix with others, through clubs, home education groups, special interest groups and activities for children with SEND. Some children may have sensory processing difficulties, anxiety or social and communication disorders, and a carefully tailored approach starting with very small amounts of peer interaction may be more appropriate. While many children pick up social skills naturally some children do not, and home education is an ideal way for adults to be able to teach the necessary life skills needed for children with SEND to become independent in the least stressful and most appropriate way. Home education allows a child to have the amount and type of social contact that is right for them starting from where they are rather than where they are expected to be..

Heath Care Needs

The one to one nature of home education means that any therapies or health care recommended for the child can be delivered by the parent and integrated into the child's day to day lives, therefore increasing the amount of time and continuity of the therapy and care.

Links to to further information

Website and email support group for families home educating children and young people with SEND:

Education Otherwise:

Home Education Advisory Service

Autism-in-Mind Sunderland

Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities:

*Elective Home Education Guidelines, Department for Education 2013.

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February 2014