Education is compulsory, attending school is not. Although the majority of parents choose to send their children to school, a number of parents choose to educate their children at home. This is called Elective Home Education.
The Legal Position
Duty of the parent / carer:
As a parent you have the legal right to choose to educate your children other
than by attendance at school, usually by providing education at home.
Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act states that:
'The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to
receive full time education suitable;
- to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and;
- to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise." The phrase "or otherwise" allows education outside of formal schooling, providing that the parent / carer can meet the child's needs, as stated above.
The local authority has a duty to intervene if it appears that a home educated child is not receiving suitable education, and this could result in a School Attendance Order.
A child is of compulsory school age from the school term after his/her 5th birthday until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they reach the age of 16. Additionally, the Government has now risen to 18 the age at which a young person must participate in education or training, which can include home education.
Deciding to home educate
What should I consider before I decide to home educate?
Families who elect to home educate do so for a variety of reasons. The decision to home educate should not be taken lightly. Deciding to electively home educate is a big responsibility. If a decision has been made to educate at home because of a disagreement with a school, disappointment at not getting a particular school place, or difficulty in persuading your child to attend, you may want to contact the local authority first for advice.
It can be very rewarding to educate your child at home but it does require a serious time commitment, patience, energy and the ability to provide appropriate motivation, resources and equipment. You will need to decide if you have the skills and ability to educate your child or will you employ a tutor/teacher or other forms of support.
From the start, be sure you are doing what is right for your child. Discuss it with him/her and with the school. If appropriate speak to one of the home education support agencies whose details are available through a number of websites. We do not provide these website details.
An important part of school life is the opportunity to mix with a variety of other children and adults. Consideration needs to be given by parents /carers about the social development opportunities you will be giving your child(ren.) You may wish to consider them joining a variety of clubs or special interest groups. Some home educating families may get together to arrange group activities.
HOME EDUCATION/NOT IN SCHOOL SUPPORT GROUP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS
Skylarks Charity in Twickenham hosts a group for parents of children with additional needs who are home educated.
Visit the Skylarks website
The local authority does not provide tutors or tell you what to teach your children. Parents will be responsible for arranging and paying for all examinations.
Once a child is taken off roll at school to be home educated, the place will not be kept open for them to return should you change your mind. If you wish to reapply, you may find your preferred schools are full.
When a decision is made by a parent to home educate, they are required to inform the school in writing of their intention to home educate. The school will then complete a referral to the Single Point of Access (SPA) providing a copy of the parent’s notification. SPA will then send this notification to the Education Welfare Service (EWS) to offer EHE support and advice. An Education Welfare Officer (EWO) will then be allocated and will make contact with the family to offer a home visit within 20 days, allowing the family to settle into home education and develop their provision.
Following the initial home visit, if there is evidence of a well-rounded education taking place, EWS will make contact once a year to check that they family are still home educating and that the contact details have not changed, and an annual visit will be offered to the family.
The remit of the EWOs is not to police, but to support families where necessary and offer advice to enable home educators to provide the best possible education for their child.
A parent may choose not to meet with their allocated EWO. They would then be asked to provide examples of the education that their child is receiving; this could be in the form of a written overview or philosophy, an education plan, a diary, photographs or copies of the child’s work. This is required in order to satisfy the local authority’s obligation to establish that a child is in receipt of suitable education.
Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND)
Some children with special needs are home educated including where the child has an education health and care plan (EHCP). If you want to start home education and your child is currently enrolled in school you must tell the school to take your child's name off the school roll except For children who attend a special school the consent of the local authority is required before a child's name can be taken off their roll.
In cases where there is a shortfall in SEN support within the school or where the parent believes that school is not making sufficient adjustment for SEN, parents are encouraged to raise their concerns directly with the school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) or alternatively make an appointment with the school. Parents can also contact the SEND Information, Advice and
Support Service (SENDIASS).
Once a child is taken off roll at school to be home educated, the place will not be kept, and should you wish to reapply you may find your preferred schools are all full.
Please download and read the Richmond School Health Service letter (opens a word document) for more information.
If you would like to contact the service please contact:
For immediate child protection concerns, referrals should be made to the Single Point of Access. You can contact them by phone on 020 8547 5008 during office hours (8am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday, 8am to 5pm Friday), or referrals can be made online. Outside of office hours, please call 020 8770 5000.
Make a referral (opens an external website)
Please note this referral form is hosted on the Richmond website but covers both Richmond and Kingston.
Additional information for families
They arrange educational sessions at the London Transport Museum which home-schooled children can attend. These sessions will be run for groups of children periodically and will use the museum's galleries as an interactive learning experience.
Sessions will cover key learning aims, including:
- Getting help
- Showing respect for members of staff and other passengers
- What to do in an emergency
- Awareness of possible dangers and personal safety
- Journey planning
- Active travel choices
- Ticketing (Zip Oyster photocards)