Educating your child at home

Guidance for parents who are considering educating their children outside the school system.

What to consider before you make a decision

Most parents choose to send their children to school to be educated, but you are legally entitled to educate your child at home. We call this elective home education (EHE).

Before you decide to remove your child from the school roll and educate them at home, contact us for advice and guidance.

Consider how you will devise, resource and deliver a full-time education to your child. Elective home education can be a demanding and rewarding experience. It is important you feel confident to do this.

You don't have to be a teacher, work to a timetable or follow the national curriculum (although you can if you wish).

View the government's guidance about elective home education.

Telling us your decision

You do not have to inform the local authority if:

  • your child has never been to school
  • you are new to the area.

Contacting us means you can benefit from the information we have to offer.

Children that are registered at a school

If your child is registered at a school, you must write to the headteacher to tell them your decision to educate your child at home.

The headteacher will want to meet with you before removing your child from the school roll. They will want to understand your reasons for taking this decision address any worries that prompted this decision. 

An Oxfordshire County Council officer may also be invited to the meeting. We want to ensure you're making this decision for positive reasons and can meet the demands of home education. We will ask for some basic information about your provision.

When you must contact us

Children with an educational health care plan (EHCP)

You are within your rights to educate your child at home.

It's our duty to ensure the educational provision specified in the EHCP is made available to your child. However, if you decide to educate your child at home we have no duty to arrange any special educational provision for your child.

The EHCP will set out the type of special educational provision that we think your child requires. The plan will also state that you have made your own arrangements.

The Special Educational Needs Team will continue to coordinate an annual review for your child's EHCP. We'll also continue to check home education is suitable for your child. If we find that home education is no longer suitable, we will ensure that the special educational provision specified in the EHC plan is made available.

View the SEND: local offer.

Children at a special school with an educational Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP)

You need to ask your named SEN officer for consent to educate your child at home. 

You will need to provide information detailing how you'll meet the educational provision in your child’s EHCP. We will then ask the school to remove your child from the school register.

Children registered at a school or academy as a result of a school attendance order

You must ask us to revoke the order.

What happens next

We will send you a copy of the booklet ‘Information for Elective Home Educators’.

EHE link worker

You will be asked to provide some basic information about how you will educate your child. We'll offer you an appointment with an EHE link worker to talk about your proposed arrangements. They can address any initial queries you may have about home education.

If you move address

Contact us with your new address so we can continue to support you. 

Changing your mind

The School Admissions Team can offer advice and support if you decide to enter or re-enter the school system. If at any time you want your child to enter or re-enter the school system, the School Admissions Team can offer advice and support. You can also contact us for advice and guidance.

The support we can offer

Our team can offer support and guidance face to face through home visits. You'll be able to present a wide range of work in context and discuss your child’s work in comfort and privacy. The team will offer ongoing telephone and email correspondence.

Where the team identify needs, or you ask, they will refer you to other agencies and colleagues.

We liaise with the health services to support EHE families with routine immunizations and health information. Find further information on the Oxford Health website.

What we cannot offer

We cannot offer direct teaching or provide materials and resources for children you are educating at home.

Work experience

You will be responsible for arranging any work experience placements. If you want to organise this yourself, ensure that the employer has the appropriate insurance in place.

Formal qualifications

If you want your child to take formal qualifications, you must find an exam centre willing to take a private candidate. You will have to pay any related costs.

Private tutor

If you choose to employ a private tutor or tutoring service, you should ensure they have suitable qualifications.

Any tutor should be able to demonstrate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and provide references.

Providing a suitable education

If the EHE Team believes that you are not providing a suitable education, we will make further visits. We will also speak to the child directly.

We may offer consultations and/or a referral to other agencies to help you overcome the difficulties within a mutually agreed timescale.

School attendance order

If, in the end, the EHE Team still considers that your child is receiving a less than suitable education, then it is our duty to issue a school attendance order. This will require you to send your child to a school named on the order (Section 437, Education Act 1996).

Children’s rights

The United Kingdom has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Article 12 of the UNCRC says that when making important decisions that affect a child, they have the right to give their opinion and be taken seriously. However, this does not give children authority over parents. Educating a child at home is a matter for you as parents.

You should consider whether home education:

  • is realistic in your family’s particular circumstances
  • if your child is happy to be educated in this way.

We may want to ask for your child’s opinion on the suitability of the home education they receive. As well as their preference for being educated at home rather than at school.

Compulsory subjects

There are no compulsory subjects for home educated children. The National Curriculum applies only to children of compulsory school age who are registered and on roll at a school.

You can use the National Curriculum to support your education plans. It helps to be aware of the National Curriculum if your child wishes to go to school, college, university, or other training later.

Further information about the National Curriculum is available on the Department for Education website.

Further education and training and careers

Raising the participation age

The Education and Skills Act (2008) places a duty on all young people to participate in education or training until they are 18. 

The DfE has accepted elective home education as one way for young people to comply with this legal duty. That is, home education can continue after the end of compulsory school age.

The website has information about support available to 14-16-year-olds in Oxfordshire looking for work, training and education courses.

Further education college

Colleges can claim the cost of course fees on an individual basis for home educated young people under 16. Contact your local college for further information about courses available.

The following colleges offer courses to 14-16-year-old home educated young people:

Places on these courses are limited and not usually equivalent to full-time provision.

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service is a free careers service for adults and young people aged 13 and over in England. The service provides confidential advice and guidance to help your child make decisions on learning, training and work opportunities.