Elective home education - guidance for parents and carers

Guidance aims

This guidance has been written for parents and carers who are:

  • considering elective home education
  • currently electively home educating 
  • currently electively home educating and are now considering a school place for their child

Review date

This guidance will be reviewed when there is a significant update from the Department for Education or in Summer 2025 whichever is sooner.


Parents or carers may decide to provide home-based education for their children instead of them attending a school - this is referred to as ‘Elective Home Education’. North Yorkshire Council recognises that home education is a key aspect of parental choice and is equal, in law, to education provided in school.

The Government has produced guidance to help parents and carers understand their obligations and rights in relation to elective home education. It is recommended that parents and carers read this guidance.

The Department for Education have published a ‘what you need to know’ document for parents and carers.

The Department for Education elective home education: Guidance for Parents 2019 guidance recommends LAs encourage parents to discuss their intention to elective home education with them prior to putting it into effect. 

See further details about our approach; please see our policy on elective home education.

Pre-decision meeting

If you are considering elective home education please inform your school who will arrange a pre-decision meeting with you and any involved professionals such as SEN caseworker, social worker or health professionals. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • discuss why elective home education is being considered
  • explore all options available to parents/carers
  • ensure parents/carers have all the information available to them regarding home education
  • review and/or help overcome any issues which may have arisen in relation to school
  • introduce parents/carers to a named contact whom they can get in touch with regarding any queries after the meeting and during their home education journey

If you would like to take part in a pre-decision meeting or if you would like to speak directly to an elective home education advisor, please contact us.

Points for parents and carers to consider before starting elective home education

  • do I have the time and ability needed to educate my child at home?
  • can I take on the full financial responsibility for my child’s education including things like; IT equipment and internet access, study materials, textbooks, exam entry fees or private tuition?
  • is my home suitable for undertaking teaching and learning - is the general environment suitable / is there enough space / is there too much noise?
  • what does my child think about elective home education?
  • what would happen if I was not available to provide suitable full-time education for a short or long period?
  • have I considered the nature of the education I will be providing each day and how I’m going to do that?
  • what opportunities will my child have to socialise and make friends of their own age?
  • what is the long-term goal of the education and will my child sit exams such as GCSEs?
  • have I considered that if I change my mind, there may not be a place at the school of my choice?
  • if I want my child to have work experience, am I aware that the employer must register the child’s work and child employment regulations apply to children who are elective home education? (apprenticeships are not available for compulsory school age children)

Our role

In line with Department for Education guidance, we acknowledge the right of parents to educate their child at home and acknowledge that most parents do this effectively and their children benefit from being educated at home. We are keen to support parents in this situation with advice, information, an annual contact and a named person that you can contact at any point in the education journey.

Contact us if you have any enquiries relating to elective home education.

The named contact for elective home education is The Lead Education Other Than At School (EOTAS)

In North Yorkshire, there are four elective home education Advisors who each work in one of the locality hubs:

  • Hambleton and Richmondshire
  • Ripon, Knaresborough, Harrogate and Craven
  • Selby
  • Scarborough, Ryedale, Whitby and Filey

We have a duty to ensure all children in North Yorkshire are receiving an efficient, suitable full-time education for the child’s age ability and aptitude. Please refer to the documents on page 6 for further information regarding what this means in practice and how we determine suitability.

In summary, to determine suitability, we will make informal enquiries to ask what education is being provided. Whilst the local authority has no powers or duties in terms of requiring any specific information in a specific format if the Local Authority does not receive any information or enough information to determine suitability further action will be taken through the serving of a Notice under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, a Notice of Imminent Order under Section 438, when the choice of school is determined, and subsequently a School Attendance Order under Section 437(3) with a school named, if the local authority considers the child should attend school - see guidance documents.

We are keen that parents who choose to home educate are supported to provide a suitable education, and every opportunity will be given to parents to do so. However, there is evidence that some children who are home educated are not receiving a suitable education and, to no greater extent than in the general population but nevertheless of concern, there are some children who may not be in safe environments. We accept its moral and social obligation to ensure that a child is safe and being suitably educated.

The elective home education advisors arrange to meet with parents and carers around one month after they have chosen to elective home education their child to give them the opportunity to share the education that is in place and to discuss any queries they now have in relation to educating their child at home. The elective home education advisors use our overall factors, outlined below, and the Department for Education’s 2019 guidance on what constitutes a ‘suitable education’, outlined in the frequently asked questions section, to establish whether the education being delivered meets the suitability threshold.

Our overall factors to determine suitability

We take into account the overall factors below when assessing whether an education is suitable:

  • where the education takes place
  • when the education takes place
  • resources/ materials used
  • educational content
  • evidence of learning and progress
  • appropriate for the child’s ability, interests and future choices
  • access to accreditation as appropriate
  • access to learning that will benefit adulthood
  • opportunities for socialisation and interaction

Frequently asked questions

How do I remove my child from a school for elective home education?

We would encourage parents to contact us regarding a pre-decision meeting as described on page three in the first instance and before removing a child from the school roll.  If you have decided to home educate, we strongly advise parents/carers to write to the school confirming their intention to educate their children at home and let us know when they have done this. Contact us.

Although parents/carers have no legal duty to notify the school that they are electively home educating their child we strongly recommend you do so. If parents/carers simply remove their child from school without informing them in writing, the school may pursue attendance procedures or have the child logged with us as a Child Missing Education. The school cannot remove a child from roll without receiving written notification about the parents’ decision to provide education otherwise than at school (Pupil Registration Regulations 2006). The school must inform us of the parents/carers decision.

If a child is registered at a school, then a decision to home educate may not be the best way to solve an issue with the school or to overcome difficulties with attendance. Parents/carers may be able to resolve these issues with the head teacher or governors at the school, or through speaking to an EHE Advisor. Our EHE Advisors can provide advice if parents/carers feel that any pressure is being put on them to take their child out of school to home educate.

Will I receive funding for home education?

The simple answer to this question is “No”. Please remember that local authorities have no legal responsibility or obligation to fund parents or carers who choose to home educate. You will need to look at the costs that may be involved.

Will I be offered any help?

An elective home education Advisor will meet with you one month after you choose to elective home education to give you the opportunity to share what education is in place for your child and to discuss any queries you may have in relation to home education. Our Local Offer Page lists a range of services your child may be eligible to access, as well as a list of resources that are available which may help you with planning your child’s education. However, as a parent/carer who elective home education you, like a school, are responsible for planning and delivering a suitable full-time education for your child’s age, ability and aptitude.  

What about private tuition?

If you use a private tutor you remain responsible for the welfare and education of your child. It is recommended that you check the tutor’s identity and qualifications, take up appropriate references and ensure that the tutor has a recent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure certificate that you are satisfied with. We advise you to monitor the teaching and learning and the progress your child makes. 

Do I need to be qualified to educate my child at home?

No, you do not need formal qualifications and you do not need to employ a qualified teacher. How your child learns is up to you, as long as the education is efficient, suitable and full-time. There is no one form of education; children learn in different ways, at different times and speeds. 

Elective home education does not need to be identical to school education: no specific curriculum is laid down and you do not have to follow the National Curriculum. If you would like your child to go on to further education, or to take public examinations such as GCSEs or IGCSEs we would recommend that you follow the relevant curriculum to prepare them for that. We have listed some GCSE examination boards in the ‘Useful addresses’ section. We recommend that you research the curriculum and exams before you begin studies so that you can decide which examination board and syllabus you wish to follow. You will also need to arrange for your child to take exams at a registered examination centre. 

My child wants to take examinations, is there any funding for this?

No, there is no funding available for parents/carers who EHE their child. Once the child is removed from the school roll parents/carers will need to fund the education which will include paying for exams. 

Can I enrol my child at a further education college?

Some further education (Sixth Form) colleges in Northern England provide a small number of part-time courses for children who are within National Curriculum years 10 and 11. Colleges may have limited spaces for home educated children, but availability and entry requirements vary. Applications for college courses should be made directly to colleges. Colleges can reclaim funding from the government via the Education and Skills Funding Agency. If your child attends a college placement, you must ensure your child receives a suitable full-time education. Please visit full-time enrolment of 14 to 16-year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges.

What if I would like a flexi-schooling arrangement?

What is flexi-schooling? Flexi-schooling is an arrangement where, following a formal request from parents or carers and with the approval of the school, a child spends a part of the week attending school and some time educated at home or at an off-school site. In such arrangements, however, the child will always remain on the school roll. 

What is the legal situation regarding flexi-schooling? Parents and carers are fully entitled to ask schools about possible arrangements for flexi-schooling. There is, however, no parental entitlement to flexi-schooling and the decision to agree it, or not, rests entirely with the Headteacher. If a school decides not to agree such an arrangement, there is no formal appeal process.

Can my child attend a provision part-time if they are elective home education?

Some companies or other organisations make part-time provision for a significant part of the week to assist parents who educate at home but cannot themselves provide a full-time education. If you use the services of such companies, you should ask about matters such as safeguarding and checks on staff.

Some groups of parents who home educate their children come together to support each other and teach their children on a communal basis. There is no reason why this should not take place, but such groups should be aware that if their intended provision will amount to full-time education of five or more children of compulsory school age (or just one if that child has an EHC Plan/statement of SEN, or is ‘looked after’), then it may require registration as an independent school. Enquiries on registering as an independent school may be made to registration.enquiries@education.gov.uk

A small minority of parents send their children to establishments which despite the registration requirement mentioned in the paragraph above are in fact already operating as unregistered independent schools, providing a full-time education. The proprietors of these settings may be committing an offence, and the settings may be inspected by Ofsted and closed down. If you suspect that a setting you are considering for your child falls into this category, you should ask the local authority if it has any relevant information about the setting, or contact Ofsted.

If your child is involved in any of the arrangements described above the local authority will take account of the provision made in assessing whether you as parents are meeting your duty under s.7, and you should ensure that the local authority is aware that you supplement home education through attendance at another setting and that you are able to provide information about your child’s learning in that setting.

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

If the child has an Education Health and Care Plan, parents /carers still have the right to home educate. Parents/carers should discuss their decision to home educate with their SEN Caseworker as soon as possible so that the SEN Caseworker can explain the implications of this for the EHCP.

The EHCP will need to be reviewed every year as this is a statutory process and progress towards educational outcomes should be monitored in that annual review to determine the ongoing suitability of home education. If at any point the local authority considers that home education is no longer suitable, it must ensure that the special education provision specified in the EHCP is available.

Annual Reviews will continue for children who are EHE whilst the EHCP is maintained. If parents/carers wish to change to a school provision, the parents/carers can call a statutory review which is their right to do at any point in the year. They should contact their SEN Caseworker to enquire about this process.

If a Parent/carer feels their child may need an EHCP due to the level of their child’s special educational needs and/or disability they may contact their EHE Advisor regarding this.

Further information about EHE for children with an EHCP is available in the DfE Guidance for LA Elective home education and the SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years, which has a chapter on home education.

What if I want a school place or for my child to return to school?

Some home educators later decide that their child should return to school. You will need to apply for a place at your preferred school which you can do at any time. It may not always be possible to get a place at your child’s previous school, even if it is your ‘designated’ catchment area school. By law, a school cannot ‘hold’ a place for you if another family wants it. Our admissions team will provide you with information, advice and guidance on applying for a school place, and on the appeals process. Please read our page on guiding you through the admissions process.

What help is available after compulsory school age?

The law now requires all young people in England to continue in education or training until at least their 18th birthday, although in practice most young people continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18.

The raised participation age (RPA) does not mean young people must stay in school; they can choose one of the following post-16 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 (which is defined as 20 hours or more per week)

Young people who have been educated at home may want to take further education college courses. It is important to know that many courses have specific entry requirements, such as GCSE passes. Your local further education college will be able to give you more information. 

The Department for Education website has further information.

What happens if I have concerns about the education or welfare of a child?

Complaints or concerns about children’s education or welfare received from members of the public will be given appropriate consideration by North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership on 01609 78078. Please visit the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children's Board.

What if I have a complaint?

If you have a concern or complaint about the elective home education service, you may contact us in the first instance. See further information about complaints.


Contact us.


You can find guidance from the Department for Education on elective home education on the Government website.

Examination boards

HE Exams - Exams information for home educators

Pearson Pearson qualifications: Edexcel, BTEC, LCCI and EDI

OCR Oxford, Cambridge and RSA OCR - awarding body for A Levels, GCSEs, Cambridge Nationals, Cambridge Technicals and other qualifications

AQA Assessment and Qualifications Alliance AQA – education charity providing GCSEs, A-levels and support

JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications Home - JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications

Award schemes 

Duke of Edinburgh award schemes

Arts Award

Disclosure and Barring Service 

Disclosure and Barring Service