HE and the Local Authority

The following information applies to England only. The procedure is broadly similar in Wales but the Welsh Assembly Government has published its own Guidelines.

Elective home education is the term used by the Department for Education - and therefore local authorities - to describe parents’ decisions to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school. This is different from home tuition provided by a local authority, or education provided by a local authority other than at a school.

Once you have written to the school requesting that your child's name be taken off the school roll (see our 'Deregistration' page), the school is required to notify your Local Authority that your child's name has been deleted from the register.

This usually but not invariably generates an initial contact from the authority; in most areas this contact will come from an Education Welfare Officer, and will often be an enquiry to ensure that the child is safe, has not been withdrawn to hide abusive behaviour, and that the parent has made an informed choice. Education Welfare Officers do not have teaching qualifications and will be viewing your family from a welfare point of view. Awareness and understanding of home education among EWOs is very variable. This initial contact may be followed by some attempt by the local authority to "assess" your educational provision.

Local authorities may have between 6 and 600+ home educated children "on their books", i.e. children who are known to the authority, usually because they have been taken out of school. The job of overseeing home education may be a full-time or part-time post, or may simply be passed to someone who is already working in Education Welfare, Alternative Provision, Special Needs or Traveller Education Services. In some areas the job of overseeing home education may be carried out on a contract basis by a retired teacher, who will be paid for each assessment or inspection. Local authorities do not receive any funding for home education services.