St Helens Council
People’s Services Department
Elective Home Education Policy
Reviewed March 2017
2. The Law relating to elective home education
3. Parental rights and responsibilities
4. Local Authority responsibilities and outline of procedures
5. Children with Special Educational Needs
6. Withdrawal from school to home educate
7. Reviewing procedures and practices
8. The St Helens EHE team
9. National and regional organisations
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1.1 Elective Home Education (EHE) is the term used by the Department for Education (DfE)
to describe parents’ decisions to provide education for their children, rather than sending
them to school. This is different from home tuition provided by a local authority or education
provided by a local authority other than at a school.
1.2 Elective home education is an option that any family may consider for their children. The
reasons for deciding on this approach are many, as are the styles of education undertaken.
For some families it is a decision based on their philosophical, spiritual or religious outlook,
for others it is to meet the specific needs of a child or children. It may be because of
dissatisfaction with ‘the system’ or used as a short-term intervention for a particular reason;
whatever the circumstances, St. Helens Local Authority aims to support parents in their
1.3 The purpose of this document is to set out the current legal position and to outline St
Helens Local Authority’s procedures. The information in this guide is designed to inform
parents and carers of:
The law relating to educating children
The rights and responsibilities of parents/carers and children
The processes involved
Sources of additional information and support
1.4 These procedures relate to the elective home education of children/young people of
compulsory school age i.e. between the ages of five and sixteen.
1.5 In compiling this document, St Helens Local Authority has drawn on the information and
guidance provided by the DfE and other North West Local Authorities, notably from
Lancashire Local Authority. 2.0 The law relating to elective home education- do you have to send your child to
2.1 The responsibility for a child’s education rests with their parents. In England,
education is compulsory, but school is not.
2.2 Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that:
“No person shal be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it
assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents
to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and
Parents have a duty to secure an appropriate full-time education for their children. Some
parents choose to do this by educating their child at home as they judge it to be the best way
to carry out their duty.
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 provides that:
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“The parent of every child of compulsory school age shal cause him/her to receive efficient
full-time education suitable to –
(a) his/her age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) any special educational needs he/she may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
2.3 The terms “suitable” and “efficient” are not defined in the legislation but in case law,
where the Courts have deemed education to be
• “suitable” if it “equips a child for life within the community of which he or she is a member,
rather than the way of life of the country as a whole, so 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.”
• “efficient” if it achieves what it sets out to achieve.
• Currently there is no legal definition of “full-time”. Children who attend school normally do
so for between 22 and 25 hours a week, for 38 weeks a year, but this measurement of
“contact time” may not be relevant to home education when education may take place
outside of normal “school hours”. Therefore, full time does not mean being bound by school
hours and terms, as this measurement of contact time is not relevant to home education,
where there may be almost continuous one-to-one contact.
2.4 The majority of parents choose to send their children to school because school staffs are
experienced and trained in teaching; schools have the resources to offer children varied
experiences and opportunities for making friends.
The St Helens Local Authority (LA) view on home education is that:
Schools in our LA offer very good opportunities for all of our children to achieve their
It is the right of parents to choose to educate their children at home.
The child’s preferences should be taken into account when deciding to begin, or to
continue, to home educate.
Where parents choose to home educate, we wish to work in partnership and to assist
them in providing the best possible home education for their children.
3.0 Parental rights and responsibilities
3.1 It is the responsibility of each parent:
To ensure that their school age children are educated.
To carry that duty out themselves or delegate that duty to a school
To ensure the education provided is efficient and full time.
To ensure the education is suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude.
To make certain that if a child has special educational needs (SEN) the education
fully meets their needs.
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Parents may decide to exercise their right to home educate their child from a very early age
and so the child may never have been enrolled at school. Parents are not required to
register or seek approval from the local authority to educate their children at home.
3.2 Parents may elect to home educate at any stage up to the end of compulsory school
age. Where a child has been registered at a mainstream school, parents are required to
notify the school in writing when withdrawing a child for EHE. This is to confirm that
provision is being made for the child's education otherwise than at school and to request
removal from the school’s roll (see section 6 for more detail).
3.3. The consent of the local authority is required to de-register pupils placed at a special
school under arrangements made by a local authority (see section 5.2). Where a child is
registered at a school as a result of a school attendance order parents must ask the local
authority to revoke the order.
3.4 Providing a full time Education
Children learn in many different ways, at different times and speed and from different people.
Home education will not necessarily follow a set timetable, but it is expected that some
records of work of your child's progress are retained.
Records can take different forms and will provide evidence of your child's education
attainment, useful not only to share with the local authority but also if your child returns to full
time education, pre or post sixteen, or for a future employer.
In beginning to construct a home education programme you may wish to consider:
What you hope your child wil have achieved in one year’s time and by the end of
his/her current educational phase.
How you going to set out to achieve these aims.
Special talents and individual qualities that you may wish to nurture in your child.
Whilst you might have definite ideas of the way in which you will develop your home
education programme, it might be helpful to be aware of what is being taught nationally-
In schools, children aged 5 to 11
study art and design, design and technology, English,
geography, history, information and communication technology, mathematics, music,
physical education, science and religious education.
Age 11 to 14
subjects would include art and design, citizenship, design and technology,
English, geography, history, information and communication technology, mathematics,
modern foreign languages, music, physical education and science. The teaching of careers
education, sex education and religious education is also important.
Age 14 to 16
subjects would include citizenship, English, information and communication
technology, mathematics, physical education and science. The teaching of careers
education, sex education, work-related learning and religious education is also included.
Should you wish to enter your child for public examinations, such as GCSE, you will need to
contact an examination board directly.
However, as educational activity can be varied and flexible, it is recognised that home-
educating parents are not
legally required to:
teach the National Curriculum
provide a broad and balanced curriculum
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have a timetable
have premises equipped to any particular standard
set hours during which education will take place
have any specific qualifications
make detailed plans in advance
observe school hours, days or terms
give formal lessons
mark work done by their child
formally assess progress or set development objectives
reproduce school type peer group socialisation
meet school-based, age-specific standards.
3.6 Parents who choose to educate their children at home must be prepared to
assume full financial responsibility, including bearing the cost of any public
4.0 Local Authority responsibilities and outline of procedures
4.1 St Helens Local Authority acknowledges that there are many, equally valid, approaches
to educational provision and what is suitable for one child may not be for another.
Essentially, all children should be involved in a learning process which allows them the
opportunity to reflect and comment upon the education they are receiving, whether at home
or at school.
4.2 When the Local Authority first becomes aware that parents have elected for home
education, initial contact will be made by a School Improvement Adviser in order to establish
that provision is being made. Many people find a home visit helpful but parents may prefer
to meet at another venue, with or without their child. Parents may wish to complete the
Authority’s elective home education proposal form, or provide a brief report to let us know
the provision that they are making. St Helens accepts that in the early stages, parents may
not yet be in a position to respond fully to enquiries. In such cases a reasonable timescale
for responding will be agreed with the parents.
What kind of evidence will be helpful?
A written programme of work will be a good starting point for discussion.
The type of question the Adviser may ask could include the following:
How are you planning to ensure that your child receives a balanced curriculum?
Have you a programme of work for the whole of the year? How does this relate to what
you have planned in the near future?
Have you thought how subject topics might link together?
Have you planned a variety of work so that your child does practical work as well as
Who or what will you use to assist you?
In what ways will you record your child’s progress or difficulties?
How will you determine how successful you are?
Have you identified opportunities for your child to work with other children/youngsters for
You should try to arrange the programme so that access to Further / Higher Education will
be possible and that a wide range of career opportunities would be open.
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4.3 Although the Local Authority has no statutory duty to monitor the quality of home
education on a routine basis, contact will be made with parents once a year, at least, to seek
further information in order to keep our database up-to-date and to offer support. Parents
are under no duty to respond to this request and a lack of response would not itself trigger a
concern. The Local Authority’s Advisers are available to provide more frequent support if
4.4 If the Local Authority has reason to believe that it appears
a suitable education is not
being provided, it will seek to gather any relevant information to assist reaching a properly
informed judgement. This will include seeking from parents any further information that they
wish to provide which explains how they are providing a suitable and efficient education.
Parents will be given the opportunity to address any specific concerns raised by the
Authority. Children are welcome to attend any meetings and make contributions to the
information provided. Whilst parents are under no duty to respond to such a request, DfE
guidelines comment that:
‘it would be sensible for them to do so’
and refers to the legal case Phillips v Brown (1980).
4.5 Subsequently, if it appears to the Local Authority, still, that a child may not be receiving a
suitable education, we may wish to contact parents to discuss the on-going educational
provision. Usually, contact will be made in writing with parents to request further information.
A written report will be made after such contact and copied to the parents stating whether
the Authority has any remaining concerns about the education provision and specifying what
these are, to give the child’s parents an opportunity to address them.
Wherever possible, parents will have been given guidance about ways in which suitable
education that meets the needs of the child may be provided. The Authority may be able to
suggest other useful services or may suggest other contacts that can provide advice. The
report will suggest timescales and arrangements for future contact to ensure progress has
4.6 In the instance outlined above, some parents may welcome the opportunity to discuss
the provision that they are making for the child’s education during a home visit but parents
are not legally required to give the Local Authority access to their home. As mentioned
previously, they may choose to meet a Local Authority representative at a mutually
convenient and neutral location instead, with or without the child being present, or choose
not to meet at all.
Where a parent elects not to allow access to their home or their child, this does not of itself
constitute a ground for concern about the educational provision being made. Where we are
unable to visit homes, Advisers should, in the vast majority of cases, be able to discuss and
evaluate the parents’ educational provision by alternative means. Parents might prefer, for
example, to write a report, provide samples of work, have their educational provision
endorsed by a third party (such as an independent home tutor) or provide evidence in some
other appropriate form.
4.7 Whilst there are no statutory duties in relation to the routine monitoring of the quality of
home education, under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, local authorities are
required to intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education. This
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“If it appears to a local authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not
receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall
serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period
specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.”
Section 437(2) of the 1996 Act provides that the period shall not be less than 15 days
beginning with the day on which the notice is served.
Section 437(3) of the 1996 Act provides for the serving of School Attendance Orders: If – (a) a parent on whom a notice has been served under subsection (1) fails to satisfy the local
authority, within the period specified in the notice, that the child is receiving suitable
education, and (b) in the opinion of the authority it is expedient that the child should attend school,
the authority shall serve on the parent an order (referred to in this Act as a "school
attendance order"), in such form as may be prescribed, requiring him to cause the child to
become a registered pupil at a school named in the order
4.8 St Helens LA considers that the taking of the above measures shall be a last resort after
all reasonable avenues have been explored to bring about a resolution of the situation. At
any stage following the issuing of an Order, parents may present evidence to St Helens (or
the court) that they are now providing a suitable and appropriate education and apply to
have the Order revoked. 4.9 Safeguarding
St Helens Local Authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children –
this includes children who are home educated (section 175 Education Act 2002). “A local authority shall make arrangements for ensuring that their education functions are
exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.”
Section 175(1) does not extend a local authority’s functions. It does not, for example, give a
local authority power to enter the homes of, or otherwise see, children for the purposes of
monitoring the provision of elective home education. However, in a very small number of
cases, the local authority may insist on seeing children in order to enquire about their
welfare, where there are grounds for concern, e.g. if there was evidence that a child was at
risk of harm or neglect.
If parents choose to employ others to educate their child, they are still responsible for the
education provided. In these circumstances, parents are responsible for ensuring that
anyone they engage is suitable to have access to children. It is strongly recommended that
parents arrange for a Direct Barring System check prior to employment and that
arrangements are made to ensure their children are safeguarded.
5.0 Children with Special Educational Needs
5.1 Parents’ right to educate their child at home applies equally where a child has special
educational needs (SEN). This right is irrespective of whether the child has a statement of
SEN or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
5.2 Where parents elect to home educate a child with a statement/ plan who is registered at
a mainstream school the school will remove the pupil from roll, following receipt of written
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confirmation from the parent that educational provision is being made otherwise than at
school. LA approval for removal from roll is not required, irrespective of whether or not the
child has a statement of SEN/ EHC plan, unless registered at a special school.
5.3 If a child is on roll at a special school, the LA must give consent for the child’s name to
be removed; St Helens Additional Needs Service will be involved in this process.
On receipt of notification that a request to electively home educate a child on roll at a special
school has been received, the Additional Needs Service will request further information
regarding the educational provision parents intend to provide at home. When this
information has been received, unless circumstances exist where we feel more information
is required, or that elective home education would not be in the best interests of the child for
specific reasons, the EHE team will confirm with school that the child may be removed from
5.4 Where a home educated child has a statement of SEN or EHC plan, a local authority
retains a duty to maintain and review it annually, following the procedures set out in the
Code of Practice for SEN. Parents should always be involved in the review process.
However, it is not mandatory to see the child or the home as part of the review. Where
parents wish for only minimal contact and there are no other concerns, the annual review
can serve as the annual contact for EHE purposes.
5.5 Parents do not have to arrange provision detailed in the statement/plan, but do have a
duty to provide an education suitable to their child's age, ability and any special educational
needs. Where parents elect to home educate a child with a statement of SEN/EHC plan,
this change of placement will be reflected in the statement/plan. The statement/plan may
identify provision to be secured by the Local Authority, where the Authority considers it
necessary to assist parents to fulfill their responsibilities.
If a child has a statement of Special Educational Needs, and particularly if they are
registered at a special school, parents may wish to contact the St. Helens Additional Needs
Service for further advice, prior to making a decision to electively home educate.
6.0 Withdrawal from school to home educate
6.0 The first contact between the Local Authority and home educators often occurs when
parents decide to home educate and approach the school (at which the child is registered)
and/ or the Authority to seek guidance about withdrawing their child from school. It is
important that this initial contact is constructive and positive. Whilst parents must inform the
school in writing of their decision, they are not legally required to inform their local authority.
Where a parent is seeking to withdraw a child from a special school, the school must obtain
consent from the local authority before they can remove the child from their roll (see above,
6.1 Schools must delete a child’s name from their admissions register upon receipt of written
notification from the parents that the pupil is receiving education otherwise than at school.
Schools will inform St Helens Local Authority as soon as the ground for deletion is met,
following which the LA Adviser will provide parents with a copy of the notification from the
school and the “St Helens Elective Home Education Guidance and Procedures” document.
6.2 If a child is registered at a school as a result of a school attendance order the parents
must get the order revoked by the Local Authority on the ground that arrangements have
been made for the child to receive suitable education otherwise than at school, before the
child can be deleted from the school’s register and educated at home.
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6.3 Schools must not seek to persuade parents to educate their children at home as a
way of avoiding an exclusion or because the child has a poor attendance record
the case of exclusion, they must follow the statutory guidance. If the pupil has a poor
attendance record, the school and Local Authority must seek to address the issues behind
the absenteeism and use the other remedies available to them.
7.0 Reviewing procedures and practices
7.1 St. Helens will review these guidelines and practice in relation to home education at least
every two years. Home education organisations and parents will be involved in the process
of review in order to ensure the most effective practice and strengthen partnerships.
8.0 The St. Helens EHE team
8.1 The Elective Home Education team, within St Helens Directorate for Children and Young
Peoples Services, includes Officers from the St Helens People’s Services Department,
Education Welfare Service and School Improvement Advisers.
8.2 Overall responsibility for the EHE team is with the Assistant Director (People’s Services).
Operationally responsibility is with the Education Welfare Service.
8.3 The EHE team will explore the options for access/signposting to other LA services and
facilities, within available resources. Where possible, we will seek to ensure EHE children
have appropriate access to services and facilities from other agencies that would generally
be delivered via school.
8.4 We understand that there is no one 'correct' educational system and are supportive of
differing approaches or "ways of educating" providing they are feasible and legally valid.
8.5 Our role is not to tell parents how to educate their children or to promote registration at
school. It is to advise and support parents and to respond if there are concerns that a child is
not receiving a full time education suitable to his or her age, ability and aptitude.
8.6 As young people cease to be of compulsory school age, there remains a requirement for
them to remain in education or training1. Currently, responsibility for the Local Authority's
duty to promote effective participation, post 16, and to identify young people who are not
participating, rests with St Helens CYPS Post 16 Service. The EHE team will provide details
for the Post 16 Service to assist them in discharging this duty. 9.0 National and regional organisations, useful websites.
9.1 There are many websites that provide information for anyone considering EHE – some
links are provided below.
www.education.gov.uk (Department for Education)
1 The Education and Skills Act 2008 Section 1
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(St. Helens Information, Advice and Support Service)
(The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) is a national charity that provides advice
and information to parents and carers on a wide range of school based issues
including exclusion, admissions, special educational needs, bullying and attendance.)
Advice and Guidance
(domestic violence help)
(printable w sheets for literacy and numeracy)
An online children's book
library, where kids discover and read stories on a
computer or tablet for free
(From Primary to A-Level, SATS to GCSE... a large selection of revision and practice
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(SuperClubsPLUS is a protected Social Learning Network where primary school kids
can meet friends, have fun and learn cool stuff.)
(useful for SEN/access arrangements/dyslexia)
national organization, offering a wide range of information for parents, dyslexic
adults and teachers.)
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(past papers and answers to GCSE questions).
A Level Specific
(WES Home School Service is designed to create a school in the home where
parents teach their own children. Courses in English, Mathematics, Science,
Humanities (5-14 yrs) and Reception (4-5 yrs) are offered. Teaching support and
assessment are provided by WES personal tutors - highly qualified and experienced
(Accelerated Christian Education
is an American educational products company
which produces the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) school curriculum – an
individualized programme and designed to allow students to work at their own level
of achievement. The classes have an emphasis reflecting the Christian ideas and
principles of the company.) Examination Boards
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The above websites have been selected as potentially useful to individuals sourcing
information relevant to elective home education. St Helens LA do not link to external
sites in return for cash, services or any other consideration in kind.
The inclusion of a link to an external website should not be understood to be
an endorsement of that website or the site's owners (or their
The views expressed within external websites are those of the site’s owners
and unless specifically stated are not those of St Helens LA
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