What is home-schooling?
During the period when schools were closed to all but vulnerable children and children of key workers, most pupils were educated at home. This is known as home-schooling. While being home-schooled, children remained on their school roll and received a combination of support from schools, online learning resources such as Oak Academy, and other resources parents may have provided themselves. Home schooling in this instance is different to elective home education, which is where parents choose not to send their child to school full-time on a long term basis.
What you need to know about school attendance
From the start of the autumn term 2020, all pupils have been able to return to schools. The new term means attendance is mandatory and the usual rules on attendance apply. This includes parents’ duty to ensure their child, of compulsory school age, attends their registered school regularly.
Schools are operating in line with guidance, which sets out the public health advice they must follow to minimise the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.
What is Elective Home Education (EHE)?
Elective Home Education (EHE) is when a parent chooses not to send their child to school full-time but assumes responsibility for making sure their child receives a full-time education other than at school. Some children are electively home educated from age 5 and may never attend school. In other cases, a child may be removed from their school’s roll for EHE.
Educating children at home works well when it is a positive choice and carried out with proper regard for the needs of the child. In many cases, elective home education is appropriate, well-delivered and involves considerable sacrifice on the part of parents.
What you need to know about EHE
EHE requires parents to take full responsibility for their child’s education, including all associated costs (such as exam fees).
Schools are not required to provide any support to parents that have withdrawn their child for EHE. Support provided by Local Authorities (LA) is discretionary, including support for a child’s special educational needs.
Parents should not be placed under pressure by schools to electively home educate their child. This is a form of ‘off-rolling’ and is never acceptable.
If you feel under pressure to keep your child at home and educate the child yourself rather than sending them back to school full-time, we recommend you discuss this with your LA.
Thinking about EHE?
If you think EHE might be in the best interests of your child, the Government expects your LA to coordinate a meeting with you involving your child’s school and social workers where appropriate. We strongly recommend you meet with your LA to consider whether EHE is appropriate for your family and your child before you decide whether to withdraw them from their school’s roll.
Where a pupil is withdrawn from school for EHE, there is no obligation for the school to keep that place open. If the parent wishes to return their child to school, they may not be able to return to the same school.
Once a child is educated at home, LAs will begin making enquiries as to how suitable the education being provided is. Failure to satisfy the enquiry may result in you being issued with a School Attendance Order and / or the court may make an Education Supervision Order.
Parents should visit gov.uk and read our EHE guidance for parents.