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Luton Borough Council

Elective home education (EHE)

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Department of Education blog

All you need to know about home schooling and EHE - a blog from the DfE (20 October 2020)

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As a parent/carer you have a duty to ensure that a child of statutory school age (5 to 16 years) receives an education. This is usually by sending a child to school on a regular basis, but some parents decide to educate their child at home themselves.

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The Education Act (1996) requires that the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause them to receive efficient full time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude and to any special needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

What do 'efficient' and 'suitable' mean?

The legal definition of these words is not included in the act, however in practice education is efficient if it achieves what it sets out to achieve and 'suitable' only if it prepares the child for life in the modern world and enables them to achieve their full potential.

If you decide to educate your child at home you will be responsible for showing that the programme of work you set up is helping your child to learn and that your child is making the kind of progress which is appropriate for their age, ability and aptitude.

The style of learning need not be the same as that provided by a school but it must clearly show that your child is making progress.


  • the respective merits of both home and mainstream education when making a decision on your child’s educational future
  • the costs involved - if you elect to home educate you will be responsible for all costs including:
    • books
    • equipment
    • field trips
    • any exam fees
  • the social aspects of your child’s development - how will your child engage in social activities and have contact with other children?
  • how you'll provide for your child’s physical development
  • how your education programme will impact on your child’s choices later in life - will they be able to return to school to sit GCSEs or A-levels?
Your child’s needs may change at different stages. If you do decide to home educate, your local authority will always be willing to help you find a place in a school which can best meet your child’s needs at any point in the future.

There may be many reasons why you're thinking about educating your child at home. It may be that:

  • you're prompted by religious considerations 
  • your child does not seem to be able to settle happily into school

It's a good idea to visit your child’s school at an early stage to discuss the matter with the headteacher, who'll be able to talk about:

  • how your child reacts to school
  • the kind of curriculum the school is able to offer
  • the concerns you have about your child’s education

If you're still unhappy about the school’s provision, the education welfare officer for your school will:

  • be happy to try and resolve your concerns by taking to the school with you
  • explain the process of removing your child from school
  • offer advice on the kind of education you will need to provide

If you decide to withdraw your child from school to home educate you MUST inform the school in writing so that their name can be removed from the school roll. Please be aware that should you decide to return your child to school, they won't have an automatic right of admission to their previous school.

As long as your child is on a school register it is an offence to fail to send them to school regularly, so you need to inform your child’s headteacher about your decision to home educate. If you don't, you may risk being prosecuted for your child’s non-attendance.

You should inform the headteacher of your child’s school in writing that you wish to withdraw them to home educate. You can downloaded the form at the bottom of this page.

Our EHE officer will make contact with families who are educating children at home. An initial visit will usually be arranged where they can discuss with you the plans you have in place for your child’s education. They will not tell you how to teach your child but can offer support in drawing up an education plan.

They are likely to discuss the following with you:

  • how you are planning to ensure your child is offered a broad and balanced curriculum
  • what are your short and long term plans?
  • have you considered how you might link together different subjects or topics?
  • how will the work be organised?
  • how do you provide for your child’s physical development?
  • how do you plan a mixture of work including practical activities as well as written tasks?
  • how do you arrange for your child to mix socially with others?
  • are you likely to involve a tutor?
  • how will you record your child’s progress/difficulties?
  • will your programme allow later access to further/high education, if appropriate?
  • will a wide range of career opportunities be available to your child?
  • are you planning for your child to take exams and how will you facilitate this? It is often difficult to find suitable exam centres and the costs of exams such as GCSEs can be expensive

The EHE officer will usually meet with the parent/carer in the family home. Meetings can be arranged at alternative venues should you prefer this.

Parents/carers are not legally obliged to share information with the local authority regarding arrangements for EHE, but the local authority may then conclude that your child is not receiving a suitable education and would then have a duty to take action to get your child back into school.

Parents/carers can provide the EHE officer with a written programme of work and arrange a home visit involving the child or do both. The officer needs to be satisfied that you can demonstrate that suitable education is being provided.

If the EHE officer is not satisfied, they'll share their concerns and you will be given a reasonable time to rectify the situation. If the local authority is still not satisfied, they'll need you to register your child at a school.

If your child does not attend school and the standard of EHE provided is not deemed to be suitable, the local authority would be required by law to prosecute.

This would only happen if the EHE officer was convinced that you were not educating your child according to their age, ability and aptitude and if, following a detailed discussion of the issues, the situation was not shown to have improved.

The EHE officer will usually visit families every 12 months, although visits will be more frequent if there are concerns. If your child had a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan while at school then the local authority retains the duty to review the statement/plan and your child’s progress on an annual basis.

You aren't required to have a detailed plan covering several years but you should show that you are serious about your child’s education and that you are systematic in your planning.

Try and ensure that the learning process is as active, practical and participative as possible and systematically planned. Place great importance on literacy and numeracy in your programme.

Try and take full advantage of all the resources available around you. This could include:

  • making contact with other local families who are home educating
  • using educational sites on the Internet
  • including a programme of educational visits
  • using educational TV and radio programmes
  • visiting libraries to make use of books and ICT resources

Make your approaches to learning more enjoyable by varying the style and content and the processes it involves. Where necessary give opportunities for independent study and research and provide a quiet study area.

A curriculum is what you decide to teach your child. The government says that a child should have a broad and balanced curriculum, that is covering a wide range of subjects and ensuring an appropriate amount of time is spent on each.

In schools this means that children are taught the National Curriculum of:

  • English
  • Maths
  • science
  • computing
  • information technology (IT)
  • physical education (PE)
  • history
  • design technology
  • geography
  • art
  • music - children aged 5 to 14
  • a modern foreign language from age 7 to 16.

Religious education (RE) must also be taught, and for secondary aged pupils, relationships and sex education. Schools are also responsible for developing other aspects of life which go towards making responsible citizenssuch as:

  • spiritual
  • moral
  • social
  • cultural strengths 

You're not expected to teach your child the full national curriculum. However in order to help your child enter adult life equipped to find work and be a good citizen you should carefully consider how you can ensure:

  • good English and Maths skills
  • working knowledge of IT
  • personal and social development
  • spiritual and moral understanding
  • physical development
  • some understanding of the world of work

Opportunities to mix with other children and adults away from the home and family will also be very important.

You're free to decide what to teach your child and how you teach it as long as you can demonstrate that it's appropriate to your child’s needs. Children learn in many different ways and at different speeds so you'll need to be aware of how your child is progressing in order to encourage and challenge them to achieve.

You don't have to follow a set timetable in the same way that a school does, but you need to know what you intend to do and when so that you can monitor how your child is doing.

All young people are required to continue in education or training until the young person reaches their 18th birthday, although, in practice, the vast majority of young people continue until the academic year in which they turn 18.

Participation does not necessarily mean staying on at school, but could include full time study:

  • in a school
  • in a college
  • with a training provider
  • with a work based placement combined with education or training

Follow this link for further information from Youth Advice Luton.

Private tutors

If you decide to use a private tutor, tuition centre or specialist education centre, make sure your child is safe. Use the checklist below (see downloads) to ensure you ask the right questions.

Tell us you want to educate your child at home

Click the button below to download the 'notice of withdrawal from school to undertake EHE' form. You should:

  • complete your parts the form on your computer, laptop or device
  • save the form
  • email the form to your child's school so they can complete their part
  • the school should return the form to to us once all parts are complete to [email protected]

Download the notice of withdrawal from school form 


Contact info
Elective Home Education service
Education Service, Luton Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 548041

[email protected]


© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ