Guidance and policy, Elective Home Education (EHE)

On 2 April 2019 the Department for Education published new non-statutory guidance for local authorities on Elective Home Education.

Parents or carers may decide to provide home-based education for their children instead of sending them to school. This is usually referred to as ‘elective home education’. We, with general responsibility for education in the area, recognise that home education is a key aspect of parental choice. It is equal, in law, to education provided in school. We take the lead role in working with home educators and the young people who are being electively home educated on the Island. We are able to advise and guide home educators, where requested, through consultation and online guidance materials.

No educational choice should ever be taken lightly. Before deciding to electively home educate you should consider the:

  • time
  • resources
  • energy you will need to put into this important area of your child’s life.
You may want to involve your child in making that decision.

Current legislation makes it clear that parents who choose to educate their children at home assume full financial responsibility. This includes bearing the cost of any public examinations.

Further information and guidance for parents/carers can be found in the Isle of Wight Elective Home Education (EHE) policy (PDF, 0.2MB, 13 pages).

Our responsibility

In England, education is compulsory, but attending school is not. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that: 

“The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable –

(a)  to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b)  to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

We are responsible for ensuring that all the children within our area or who are looked after by us are receiving a suitable education. We have a duty to promote the welfare and well being of children for whom we have responsibility. This includes children who are home educated. We recognise the importance of building positive relationships to support parents in their aim of providing their children with an effective education. 

Our role is set out in sections 437 to 443 of the Education Act 1996:

“If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving 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 (s 437(1)).

This is why it is helpful if you register your child as electively home educated. It denotes educated “otherwise” so removing potential confusion with a child “missing education”.