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Elective Home Education

Elective Home Education

Some parents choose to educate their children at home rather than sending them to school. It is legal to this unless the child is subject to a School Attendance Order, but the Local Education Authority must be satisfied that the child is being taught to a satisfactory standard.

You can read the Tower Hamlets Home Education Policy online to find out more. Child Law Advice also has useful information about home education and the law.

Some pupils with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) can receive 'education otherwise than in school' or 'EOTAS' which means the Local Authority must arrange the support in the plan in a place that isn't a school. This is different than Elective Home Education.

Withdrawing your child from school and coming back to school

If a child is already attending school and the parent wants to home educate them, the parent is required to notify the headteacher in writing of their intention to home educate their child(ren).

If a child has Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and attends a special school, the parent needs to get the council’s permission to educate them at home. Parents do not need the council’s permission if the child attends a mainstream school, even if they have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. 

If you were home educating your child and want to them come back to school, you do an in-year transfer admission unless they are starting Secondary School or Post 16 provision at the normal type, in which case you follow the general Secondary School Admissions Process or whatever Post-16 Pathway you are interested in.

Before you decide to educate your child at home, you should consider:

  • The advantages of both home education and mainstream education.
  • The costs involved with home education- parents are responsible for all costs even if your child has an EHCP.
  • The social aspects of your child’s learning and development - your child needs to be involved in social activities and with peers.

Home education should not be used as solution to children not wanting to attend school or disagreements with the school. School staff and Attendance and Welfare Advisors can help with these problems.

If you want to home educate because you feel your child is not getting enough support with their SEND in school, there are lots of things you can consider. If you are concerned about this, you should talk to the SENCo in your child’s school first.

Children with EHCPs or pupils with SEND can be electively home educated, however, there are things to consider:

  • If home education or EOTAS is not named as a special educational provision in the EHCP then the Local Authority will not need to secure the special educational provision named in the plan. Parents will need to secure the provision themself.
  • If the child’s EHCP names a school or type of school but the parent has chosen to home educate the child, the Local Authority must be satisfied that the education is suitable and will review the EHCP annually.

The Department for Education has advice for people considering elective home education. We have put some key facts about home education below:

  • Children educated at home are not required to follow the national curriculum or take national tests, but parents are required by law to make sure their child gets a full time education suitable to their age and ability.
  • Parents do not need to be a qualified teacher nor employ a qualified teacher to teach their child at home.
  • When parents or carers decide to educate their children at home, they take on the full responsibility including costs for exams. There are no funds from government for parents and carers who decide to educate their child(ren) at home.

Role of the Local Authority

If you are educating your child at home, the LA will make informal enquiries to make sure your child is getting a suitable education.

The Specialist Advisors for Elective Home Education will:

  • Contact you within 10 days of receiving the referral
  • Arrange to meet with you in your home or at one of the LA’s office buildings to look at the educational provision you've made for your child
  • Speak to the child about their experience of being home educated
  • Offer support, advice and guidance to make sure the provision is suitable to your child’s age and ability
  • If the educational provision is satisfactory, the Specialist Adviser will undertake annual reviews to offer continuous support and advice if needed

For parents and carers who are thinking of starting their journey of home education, advice and guidance about home education is available from the Tower Hamlets Education Safeguarding Service.

You can contact the Education Safeguarding Service on:

Tel: 020 7364 3431

Email: [email protected]