Educating at Home

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: How do I start home educating?

Answer: If your child is at school you must write to the head teacher and say you are withdrawing him or her for home education.
If your child is registered at a special school a letter requesting withdrawal is the first step. The Local Authority has to make sure that the special needs can be met.


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Question: What responsibility do I have as a parent when educating my child at home?

Answer: Parents have the legal responsiblity of making sure their children are receiving an education that is suited to their age, ability, aptitude and any special needs they have whether they are in school or educated at home.

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Question: Will I receive funding for home education?

Answer: The Local Authority does not receive money to fund parents/carers who home educate. Parents who choose to home educate will have to assume the full responsibility of any costs, including for any examination entries. There is a vast amount of educational information available for free: regular use of the library means that parents do not have to buy lots of books; information can be accessed by using the internet at home and at the library; colleges are now able to access funding for young people aged 14 to 16 to attend courses.

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Question: What do I do if I want to return my child to school?

Answer: Parents have the right to apply for a school place for their children at any time. However, there is no automatic right to return to a school previously attended by a child. Places offered will be dependent on where there are vacancies and normal application and appeal procedures apply. For more information contact the Schools Admissions Team

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Question: Is it legal to educate my child at home?

Answer: Yes, home education is a legal alternative to school. A child is of compulsory education age from the beginning of the school term after his or her fifth birthday.

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Question: What should I do if I am thinking about educating my child at home?

Answer: No educational choice should be taken lightly and before deciding to electively home educate, you should consider the time, resources and energy you will need to put into this very important part of your child’s life. As well as the demands that providing for subjects that you may not be as interested in as your child, parents who home educate, take on the full financial responsibility. It is advisable to contact the Local Authority’s Lead Officer for Elective Home Education who will be able to provide advice and signpost you to other organisations that might be able to help as well as explain the procedure for becoming a home educator.

If your child currently attends a school, you will need to inform the school, in writing, that you intend to home educate and for him/her to be de-registered. It would be helpful if you also informed the Lead Officer for EHE too, although you do not have to do this.

If your child has never been registered at a school, you do not have to inform the Local Authority of your decision to home educate. Although it is helpful if you do, as the Local Authority has a duty to identify children ‘missing from education’ and if we know that your child is being home educated, then we will not deem them ‘missing’.


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Question: Can parents make their own educational arrangements without any input from the local authority?

Answer: No. Where the child’s parent or the young person makes alternative arrangements, the local authority must satisfy itself that those arrangements are suitable before it is relieved of its duty to secure the provision. It can only conclude that those arrangements are suitable if there is a realistic possibility of them being funded for a reasonable period of time by the parents. If it is satisfied, the local authority need not name its nominated school or college in the Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and may specify only the type of provision. This is to avoid the school or other institution having to keep a place free that the child’s parent or the young person has no intention of taking up.

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Question: Does the local authority have any right to access the family home if they are concerned about the delivery of home education?

Answer: No. Local authorities do not have the right of entry to the family home to check that the provision being made by the parents is appropriate. They may only enter the home at the invitation of the parents. However, if the local authority does have concerns about the welfare of a child it may consider a referral to social care or consider using its powers to enforce school attendance.

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Question: What if the local authority agrees that home education is the only appropriate provision for the child/young person?

Answer: In cases where local authorities and parents agree that home education is the right provision for a child or young person with an Education Health and Care Plan, the Plan should make clear that the child or young person will be educated at home. If it does then the local authority, under section 42(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014, must arrange the special educational provision set out in the Plan, working with the parents. In cases where the EHC Plan gives the name of a school or type of school where the child will be educated and the parents decide to educate at home, the local authority is not
under a duty to make the special educational provision set out in the plan provided it is satisfied that the arrangements made by the parents are suitable.

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Question: What happens if parents make their own arrangements to the health provision in an Education Health and Care Plan?

Answer: The health commissioning body is still responsible for arranging the health care specified in the child or young person’s Education Health and Care Plan. If the child’s parent or the young person makes alternative arrangements for health care provision then the health commissioning body would need to satisfy itself that those arrangements are suitable. If the arrangements are not suitable the health commissioning body would arrange the provision specified in the plan or, if they felt it appropriate, assist the child’s parent or the young person in making their own arrangements suitable.

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Question: If parents make their own educational arrangements, does the Local Authority have a duty to provide for the child/young person?

Answer: No. The local authority is relieved of its duty to secure the special educational provision in the Education Health and Care Plan, including securing a place in a school or college named in the Plan, if the child’s parent or the young person has made suitable alternative arrangements for special educational provision to be made, in an independent school or college or at home.

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Question: Where the parents are home educating, is the local authority required to fund the provision at home?

Answer: Local authorities should fund the Special Educational Needs of home educated children where it is appropriate to do so. This will depend on the child’s individual circumstances and consideration as to why their needs cannot be met within school provision. The high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant is intended to fund provision for all relevant children and young people in the authority’s area, including home educated children.

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Question: Does the Education and Health Care Plan still have to be reviewed where the parents have made their own arrangements?

Answer: Yes. The local authority must review the plan annually to assure itself that the provision set out in it continues to be appropriate and that the child’s Special Educational Needs continue to be met. Where the local authority has decided that the provision is appropriate, it should amend the plan to name the type of school that would be suitable but state that parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

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Question: What happens if there is a concern that a child may be missing education?

Answer: The Elective Home Education Officer will discuss options with the family and a reasonable time will be given for changes to be made. If necessary, the Education & Inclusion Service will be involved and may start the School Attendance Order process.

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Question: What support is available locally?

Answer: Parents can contact:
The Isle of Wight Learning Zone website
Family Information Zone (FIZ) at their website: https://www.iwight.com/council/OtherServices/Family-Information-Zone/WightChYPS-Family-Information-Directory
- Related Link

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Question: What if my child has an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP)?

Answer: You are able to home educate a child if they have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). If your child is registered at a special school, however, you will need the consent of the Local Authority before your child can be de-registered from the school.

You will be expected to make sure that the education you provide meets their needs. For as long as the Education Health Care Plan is in place, the Local Authority will continue to hold an annual review to consider whether the Education Health Care Plan needs to remain in place. You will still have the right of appeal to the SEN Tribunal.





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Question: What will happen now that my child is being home educated?

Answer: Once your child is registered as home educated, you will be contacted by the Lead Officer for EHE who will provide information and offer you a visit to offer guidance on education, teaching and learning. The visit could be at your home or one of the Council’s offices or somewhere else if you prefer.

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Question: What further help is available after compulsory school age?

Answer: The Government is increasing the participation age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training. From September 2013, this means that all young people born on or after 1st September 1996 are required to continue until the end of the academic year 2013/14, with those born on or after 1st September 1997, continuing until the end of the 2014/15 academic year.

This raising of the participation age means young people must choose one of the following options :
• full time education, such as school, college or home education;
• an apprenticeship;
• part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering full time (defined as 20 hours or more per week).

Further information and support are provided by the Island Futures Team which supports young people aged up to 19 (25 for those with a learning difficulty and/or disability) to access education, employment and training opportunities. The Island Futures Team can be contacted at County Hall or through their website https://www.iwight.com/Residents/Schools-and-Learning/Isle-of-Wight-YouthTube/Island-futures/Island-Futures1
- Related Link

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