2009 CME Guidance HE section

Elective Home Education

86. Parents of children who are of compulsory school age have a duty to ensure that they receive an efficient, full time education, suitable to their ages, abilities, aptitudes and any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise (section 7 of the Education Act 1996). Some parents decide to provide suitable education for their children by educating them at home.

87. Section 436A of the Education Act 1996 requires local authorities to make arrangements to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children who are not pupils at schools and who are not otherwise receiving suitable education. In order to comply with this duty local authorities need to make arrangements which will as far as possible enable them to determine whether any children who are not pupils at schools, such as those being educated at home, are receiving suitable education. In order to do this local authorities should make inquiries with parents educating children at home about the educational provision being made for them. The procedures to be followed with respect to such investigations are set out in the EHE Guidelines, 2.7-2.11 and 3.4-3.6.

88. Where parents decide to withdraw their child from school and notify the proprietor [“proprietor”, in relation to a school, means the person or body of persons responsible for the management of the school so that, in relation to a community, foundation or voluntary or community or foundation special school, it means the governing body (s579, Education Act 1996)] in writing that the child is receiving education at home, the proprietor must delete the child from the admissions register unless the child is the subject of a current School Attendance Order (see regulation 8(1)(a) and (d) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006) (‘the Pupil Registration Regulations’) at www.statutelaw.gov.uk). If a parent on whom a School Attendance Order has been served fails to comply with the requirements of the Order they are guilty of an offence under section 443 of the Education Act 1996, unless they prove that the child is receiving a suitable education otherwise than at school.

89. It is the duty of the proprietor of the school to inform the local authority of the deletion and the reason for it, no later than when the pupil’s name is deleted from the register (regulation 12(3) of the Pupil Registration Regulations 2006). The Pupil Registration Regulations apply to all schools: maintained; independent; Pupil Referral Units; special schools; City Technology Colleges; and Academies.

90. Children with statements of SEN can be educated at home. The duty of the parent remains to provide a suitable education for the child. Where the local authority maintains a statement for the child, the authority is responsible for arranging that the special educational provision specified in the statement is made for the child, unless the child’s parent has made suitable arrangements (section 324(5)(a) of the Education Act 1996). If the parent’s arrangements are suitable, the local authority is relieved of their duty to arrange the provision directly, but it still remains the local authority’s duty to ensure the child’s special educational needs are met.

91. Local authorities should keep a record of children who are known to be educated at home by parents. Parents are not, however, required to inform the local authority if they decide to home educate a child who has not previously attended school.

92. In order to discharge their duties in relation to children not receiving an education, local authorities should make inquiries with parents about whether their home educated children are receiving a suitable education. The Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities make clear that parents who home educate may take a number of equally valid approaches to educational provision for their children.

93. Though it is not the subject of this guidance, local authorities have a duty under section 437 of the Education Act 1996 (School Attendance Orders) to act if it appears to them that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Further information is available in “Ensuring Children’s Right to Education” at: www.dcsf.gov.uk/behaviourandattendance/

94. Local authorities can insist on seeing a home educated child if there is cause for concern about the child’s safety and welfare (section 47 of the Children Act 1989). Where there are concerns about the child’s safety and welfare, Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures must be followed.