19.19 Elective Home Education
East Sussex and Brighton and Hove have added new information in September 2014.
The documents for each area are listed below:
East Sussex and West Sussex
Brighton and Hove
The responsibility for a child’s education rests with their parents. In England education is compulsory, but school is not. Parents have the right to educate their child at home. Section 7 Education Act 1996 provides that:
“the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable –
- To his age, ability and aptitude, and
- To any special educational needs he may have
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
Parents may choose to exercise this right from the beginning of compulsory school age. There is no requirement placed upon them to inform the local authority of their intention to do so, but they must ensure their children receive a suitable education for as long as they are being educated at home. Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis.
However, under section 437(1) Education Act 1996, local authorities shall intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education. This section states that:
“if it appears to a local authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving a suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.”
Prior to serving such a notice, local authorities are required to address the situation informally.
Local authorities also have a duty under section 175(1) of the Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This section states:
“A local education authority shall make arrangements for ensuring that the functions conferred upon them in their capacity as a local education authority are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.”
Section 175(1) does not extend a local authority’s functions. It does not, for example, give local authorities powers to enter the homes of, or otherwise see, children for the purposes of monitoring the provision of elective home education. However, practice should provide for appropriate safeguards to be put in place within the confines of the law and current elective home education guidelines.
If a parent withdraws a child from school to elective home education then the school must notify the local authority. The school should provide this notification as soon as they become aware that the parent is considering this form of provision, but may only remove the child from roll upon written notification from the parent.
2. Flow Charts
- Flow Chart 1 – Concerns raised following a referral to Elective Home Education
- Flow Chart 2 – No concerns raised following a referral to Elective Home Education
- Flow Chart 3 – EHE Action Taken Post Referral
Should any practitioner working with a home educating family have concerns regarding the education provision for the individual child, then the matter should be reported to the relevant EHE department:
All matters concerning a child’s welfare should be reported in accordance with the Pan Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures.