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Instead of sending your child to a place of education, you can choose to educate your child at home. This is known as home schooling, or elective home education (EHE). There's information on this page to help you decide whether home schooling is right for you and your child, and what steps you need to take if you decide to home school on a full time or part time basis. 

Is home schooling for me?

Some parents take a carefully considered decision to home school their child before they reach school age. Others will start school and decide later that this isn't right or working for their child, and choose to home school instead. 

There could be philosophical or religious reasons behind a decision to home school, or that you feel you could offer a more suitable education at home that supports your child’s learning or individual SEND.  

Ultimately, as a parent you have the right to educate your child in the way you feel suits them best, as long as you comply with Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which states that the parent of every child of compulsory school age (age 5 and up) must receive efficient full-time education suitable to:

  • their age and abilities
  • to any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

You can home school your child or young person on a full or part time basis, whether they have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or not.

Flexi- school (part time) arrangements

You may wish to enter into part time or ‘flexi-schooling’ arrangements, where your child is registered at school part-time whilst also spending receiving education at home. You'll need to get agreement from your school for this, and it’s important to remember that Headteachers are not obligated to say yes- so you could be turned down.

Things to consider about home schooling

Home schooling is a big commitment, and it's important to consider how you'll develop your child's knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to their age and abilities. It's also important to consider any costs involved, and whether you'll be able to provide enough social opportunities for your child to mix and learn alongside other children.

What needs to be taught

As a parent, you don't need to have any formal teaching qualifications to home school. You may wish to teach your child yourself, employ a tutor, or teach in groups with other home schooled children. If you decide to employ a tutor, check their qualifications and ask to see their Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) certificate.

You won't have to follow the National Curriculum or stick to school hours. However, your child’s education should be challenging enough that they are able to make progress, and should ultimately prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Although it's not compulsory to follow the National Curriculum, some parents find it useful to use as a framework for their own teaching. If you intend for your child to go back to school at some point it's also a good idea to cover similar work to make the transition smoother.

If you choose flexi-schooling, your child will follow the National Curriculum whilst at school.


Home schooling need not be expensive- there are lots of free online resources and libraries for example that could be used for teaching. There may be costs to consider however, such as having to pay for stationery or equipment. If you decide to give up work to home school your child there'll also be the indirect cost of loss of earnings.


Your child won't have to sit any examinations, however, if you wish them to do so you’ll have to fund the cost of the exams. You’ll need to find a centre that will allow your child to sit the examination, but you'll have the flexibility to choose the examination board most suited to your child. The major examination boards for GCSEs/IGCSEs are Edexel, AQA and OCR.

Some home schooling parents find that IGCSEs are more appropriate than GCSEs since they are based predominantly on final examinations rather than coursework that needs to be supervised at school.

Your child's social life

You should consider your child’s social development as part of their education. You may have extended family or friends who are also home schooling, that you could join on visits to museums, galleries, theatres or other places of interest. In addition, your child could socialise with other children through a particular sport or hobby.

Home schooling and EHCP

If you have an EHCP, and it's been a joint decision between yourself and the council that the best course of action is to home school your child, then we'll work with you to help supply the provision set out in the EHCP.

If your EHCP names a school and you have decided to home school instead, we're under no duty to provide the special educational provision set out in the plan- provided we're satisfied the arrangements you've made are suitable.

If your child is enrolled in a special school you'll have to ask permission for your child's name to be removed from the register. The EHCP should be updated to state that your child or young person will be educated at home.

The EHCP will continue to be reviewed annually to ensure the provision set out in the plan continues to be appropriate and that your child’s special education needs continue to be met.

I’ve decided to home school - what next?

If your child has never been to school

If your child has never attended a school before (i.e. they've not started primary school) you don't have to seek permission or notify anyone of your intention to home school. It does help though that you notify us so that you can gain access to any support available:

Complete the educating your child at home form

If your child attends a mainstream school

If you’ve decided to remove your child from a mainstream school you don’t need specific permission. However, you should write a letter to your school’s Headteacher notifying them of your decision. There are de-registration templates online that can be used for this purpose such as on the website Education Otherwise.

Once your school has received this they will remove your child from the school register and inform us of your decision.

Send your letter via registered/signed delivery or hand it in yourself so that you know your Headteacher has definitely received it. You should also ask that the school writes back to confirm that your child has been removed from the register and the council informed.

If your child attends a special school

If your child or young person is registered at a special school named in their EHCP, it's the same process of writing a letter to your Headteacher informing them of your intention to home school your child. Before the school removes your child from the register however, we (the council) will need to give consent.

What help am I entitled to?

There's currently no specific benefit available for supporting home schooling families, however, you should check our money pages to find out about other financial help you may be entitled to.

If your child has an EHCP and it has been a mutual decision to home school your child between yourself and us (the council), then you'll be entitled to the support set out in the plan.

If we've been notified that you're home schooling your child, you'll be able to access support and advice from Elective Home Education (EHE) advisors.

Elective Home Education (EHE) advisers

EHE advisers are qualified teachers, experienced in working with families who are home schooling. Their aim is to work with parents to support them to ensure their child receives a suitable education. EHE advisers have enhanced DBS clearance.

You'll be contacted annually to confirm that you're continuing to home school your child or to provide details of the school or college that your child is attending instead. If your child has an EHCP you'll be invited to an annual meeting with an EHE advisor to coincide with your EHCP review. This meeting is to check that the educational provision for your child continues to be appropriate and you may be asked to bring along samples of your child's work as evidence.

Meetings with EHE advisors don't always have to happen at home, they could take place in a neutral location such as a library or cafe for example. It's also not always necessary for your child to be present at meetings. 

Where else can I go for support?

Many home schooling families find support, inspiration and encouragement from their local home schooling community. You could check online for support groups in your area, and you may find that there's lots of information, resources, ideas and help from fellow home schooling parents.

There are also independent organisations who can help with support and advice:


Page was last published on: 05/02/2020 12:07:07


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