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Hertfordshire County Council

Educating your child at home

Instead of registering and sending your child to school, you can choose to educate your child at home. This is known as elective home education (EHE). There's information on this page to help you decide whether home education is right for you and your child, and what steps you need to take if you decide to take responsibility for their education and home educate.

Department for Education (DfE) has guidance on Elective Home Education

Is home educating right for me?

Parents and carers must make sure that their child gets a full-time education from the start of term following their 5th birthday and until the end of the academic year in which they have their 16th birthday. 

Some parents and carers take a carefully considered decision to home educate 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 educate instead. 

There is no finite list which details all of the reasons parents and carers elect to home educate. It may be that you choose to home school for philosophical or cultural beliefs, or that you feel you could offer a more suitable education at home that supports your child’s learning or individual needs. You may opt to home educate on a short or long-term basis, depending on the individual circumstances of the child and family. The approaches to home education also vary from one family to another and often reflect specific values. 

You can home educate your child or young person whether they have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or not.

Flexi-Schooling

You may wish to discuss with school ‘flexi-schooling’ arrangements, where your child remains registered at school whilst parent/carers take responsibility to provide education at home for agreed times of the week. Any request must be in the interest of your child and you will need to get agreement from your school for this. It is important to remember that Headteachers are not obliged to say yes, so this may not be possible. 

If flexi-schooling is agreed with the school, your child will follow the National Curriculum whilst at school. 

Things to consider about home educating

Home education 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 with others. 

What needs to be taught

What you teach must be suitable to your child’s age, ability and aptitude and needs they may have.

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

You won't have to follow the National Curriculum or stick to school hours. 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.

Costs

By electing to home educate, you will be financially responsible for the education of your child and will not receive any funding from the Local Authority.  It's important you consider the full cost implications of elective home education and whether this approach is appropriate to the child and family.

There are lots of free online resources and libraries for example that could be used. There may be other costs to consider such as the cost of resources which should be factored into home educating, alongside any costs that may be incurred if they wish to sit public examinations.

Examinations

Your child does not have to sit examinations, however, if you wish them to do so you will have to fund the cost of the exams. You’ll need to find a school or 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.

Your child's social life

You should consider your child’s social development as part of their education. There are many opportunities for socialisation for home educated children and this may be with people of any age. You may have extended family or friends who are also home educating 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 by joining a club or taking part in events.

If your child has special educational needs

If you have a child with SEND, and their needs are one of the reasons you are considering home educating, visit our Local Offer home educating page.

Where can I go for support?

Many home educating families find support, inspiration and encouragement from their local home educating 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 educating parents.

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

Services for young people

Services for Young People forms part of our service that aims to provide information and advice, guidance and support, and personal development opportunities for all 13-19 year olds (up to 25 years for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities).

We share the names, addresses and contact details of young people who are electively home educated with Services for Young People to ensure they can be offered support from the service. For information please go to: www.servicesforyoungpeople.org or you can email sfyp@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Supporting your child's emotional wellbeing and mental health

Our Local Offer team have a collection of resources and support organisations who can help support your child's emotional wellbeing and mental health, whether they have additional needs, or not. 

School Health and Immunisation

School health and immunisation team offers school-aged children their eligible vaccinations. Age groups vary each year. Elective home educated children are entitled to these vaccinations, which are not available at GP surgeries routinely. We will share contact details of EHE children with the school health and immunisation teams so parents/carers have the opportunity to be sent information about relevant immunisation programmes which otherwise are communicated via schools.

I’ve decided to home educate - 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 educate, but we would encourage you to do so. It does help though that you notify us so that you can gain access to any support available. 

This form is only to be completed by you if your child has never been registered at a school in Hertfordshire:

Educating your child at home form

If your child attends a mainstream school

If you would like to deregister your child from a mainstream school you don’t need specific permission. We would suggest that you arrange a meeting with the Headteacher to discuss why you are considering home education. You should write a letter to your school’s Headteacher notifying them of your decision and request that your child is de-registered from their school roll. 

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

It would be advisable to 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 is registered at a special school, it's the same process of writing a letter to your Headteacher and SEND Officer informing them of your intention to home educate your child. Before the school removes your child from the register however, we (the council) will need to give consent.

Elective Home Education (EHE) Team

We can help if you require further information or are considering educating your child at home. We believe that home education can be a positive approach to education with many successful outcomes. As a Local Authority we are looking to work positively with parents and carers to ensure that both the statutory duties for parent/carers and the local authority can be met.

  • We will work to provide initial support and advice on the requirements of home education either through telephone, home visit or enquiry form.
  • Annual reviews to ensure that you are still happy with your current arrangements, that the progression and the education you continue to provide for your child is still suitable for their age, ability and aptitude.
  • Where education is not meeting your child’s needs, we offer advice and guidance to help you improve the learning and if required, help you look at other options.
  • We can signpost to additional support services where needed.

If following advice and guidance it appears that the education is not suitable, we may try to work with you to find a school place.

If a parent/carer then fails to enrol their child at a school of their choice, the local authority will be forced to refer to the Children Missing Education Officer for a School Attendance Order to be issued.

Contact us

If you have any further questions you can contact us to speak to a member of the Elective Home Education Team:

Call: 0300 123 4043 

Email: EHE@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

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