Home education

If you wish, you may teach your child at home instead of sending him or her to school. This is known as home schooling, home education, elective home education or ‘education otherwise’.

Young girl studying at home

What does home education involve?

Your child must be educated from the age of five. And the education you give should be suitable to:
  • your child’s age, ability and aptitude
  • any special educational needs he or she has.
If you decide to teach your child at home, you will be responsible for all his or her education along with any costs, including the cost of any public exams.
Home schooling is not the same as home tuition. Home tuition is for children who are too unwell to go to school and we provide this support. 

Can any child be educated at home?

Yes, but if your child has a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, we (the local authority) have to agree before you can educate him or her at home. Even when we agree, we will still need to look at the statement or the EHC plan again every year to make sure education at home is still suitable for your child's needs.
If your child has been permanently excluded from school and you ask for him or her to be taught at home, we will discuss this at a meeting held by the pupil placement panel. The panel will talk to you about the result of that meeting.
Home education may not be suitable if your child:
  • has problems with attendance at school
  • has been referred to our Youth Offending Team
  • is on the child protection register.

Home education: your responsibilities

If you decide to take your child out of school, you should write to the school and ask for your child’s name to be taken off the school roll.
The school will tell us. We will then:
  • send you information about home education
  • offer to meet you and your child to talk about your plans for home education.
If your child is not registered at a school and you wish to home educate, call us on 020 8430 2000.

You can choose how to teach your child and you do not have to follow the national curriculum. But if you wish to use a tutor or a tuition centre, it is your responsibility to check whether the person teaching your child has any criminal convictions. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) can help you to do this.

Health services

You will need to tell your GP, and any health services you use, that your child is being educated at home. This is so that your child can continue to get the health checks and immunisation that he or she would have received through school.

Home education: public exams

If you wish your child to take a public exam, you will need to:
  • find an exam centre willing to take your child as an external candidate
  • pay the exam and centre fees. 

Staying in touch with us

We aim to work in partnership with you to make sure your child has a successful home education.

By law we are required to monitor your child’s progress and wellbeing, so we will ask to meet with you and your child at least once a year, either at your home or at a location of your choice.


Re-enrolling your child in school

If you wish your child to go back to school, you can get information about the admission process on our in-year admissions page.

If your child is due to start primary or secondary school, the admission process is different. Find out more on our Starting primary school and Admission to secondary school pages.
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Contact us

  • Elective Home Education Team

    020 8430 2000