Frequently asked questions about EHE

Please find below some common questions asked about home educating.

 Who can be educated at home?

You can home educate your child if they have special educational needs (SEND), an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or no identified special needs.

Read more about home educating a child with an EHCP


Can a ‘child looked after’ be home educated?

Children that are looked after cannot be electively home educated without the agreement of the Local Authority (via the Virtual School Head Teacher) as Corporate Parent for that child.

DfE Statutory Guidance makes clear that the Virtual School Head Teacher is the educational advocate for looked after children just as parents are to other children.


 I am thinking of home educating my child, who should I speak to about this?

 Before deciding to remove your child from school for elective home education, you should request a meeting with the headteacher so that any issues can be discussed.


I have decided to home educate my child, what do I do next?

If you have decided to take the step of home education, you will need to write to the school to confirm your decision and when you want to start. The school will then remove your child from roll on the specified date.


Do I need to let the school know that I am home educating my child?

Yes, because if you simply remove your child from school without informing them in writing, you could be prosecuted for non-attendance.

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).


Do I need to let Cognus know that I am home educating my child?

There is no need for you to inform us of your decision to home educate as the school will be required to tell us what you have decided. However, if you let us know, we will be able to work with you and offer you guidance and support.


Do I need permission to home educate my child?

If your child attends a special school or is subject to a School Attendance Order you will need Local Authority consent to remove your child’s name from the school roll.

Consent from the local authority may not be unreasonably withheld. Cognus keeps a register of children who are resident in the London Borough of Sutton and have been removed from school for elective home education.


Can I partly home educate my child and still have them in school some days (flexi-schooling)?

When a child spends a part of the week attending school and some time educated at home or at an off-school site, this is called flexi-schooling. You will need to make a formal request for this arrangement and must have approval from the school. In such arrangements, the child will always remain on the school roll.

Please note, while parents are allowed to ask schools about possible arrangements for flexi-schooling, there is no parental entitlement to flexi-schooling. The decision to agree it, or not, rests entirely with the headteacher. Also, if a school decides not to agree to flexi-schooling, there is no formal appeal process.


I have issues with the school, can I home educate my child instead?

If your 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. You may be able to resolve these issues with the headteacher or governors at the school, or through one of our services.


My child’s school has suggested that my child is better off home educated – should I agree to this?

If you feel under pressure from your child’s school to home educate and do not want to, please do contact us.

The Department for Education is clear that schools should not persuade parents to educate their children at home as a way of avoiding an exclusion, or because the child has a poor attendance record. Ofsted refer to this practice as of ‘off-rolling’ and it is not acceptable.


Can the council help with any costs for elective home education? 

Local authorities have no legal responsibility or obligation to fund parents who choose to home educate so there is no funding available to help you with the costs of elective home education.

You will need to look at the costs that elective home education could involve before you make your decision. These could include the cost of IT equipment and internet access, study materials, text books, exam fees and professional tuition.


Do I need to be qualified to educate my child?

You don’t need formal qualifications and you do not need to employ a qualified teacher.

We believe there is no one form of education; children learn in different ways, at different times and speeds so how your child learns is up to you, as long as the education is efficient, suitable and full-time.


Do I need to follow the school curriculum at home?

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.

However, while there is no rule to follow a specific curriculum, some parents find the National Curriculum is useful.


Can I use a private tutor?

Yes, you may use a private tutor to educate your child if you wish. However, if you choose to use a tutor, you are still responsible for the welfare and education of your child.

When selecting a private tutor, we suggest that you:

  • check the tutor’s identity
  • check their qualifications
  • ask for appropriate references
  • ensure they have a recent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate

We also advise you to monitor your child’s teaching and learning from the tuition.


 Can my child return to school after being home educated?

Yes, some home educators later decide that their child should return to school and this is acceptable.

First of all, you will need to apply for a place at your preferred school which you can do at any time. Please note it may not always be possible to get a place at your child’s previous school. By law, a school cannot ‘hold’ a place for you if another family wants it.

Information, advice and guidance on applying for a school place, and on the appeals process can be sought from Sutton School admissions team

If your child has an EHCP, please contact the Cognus SEND Team for support.


Can my child still take exams if he/she is home-educated?

Yes, but we would recommend that you follow the relevant curriculum. Please 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.

Below are some GCSE examination boards.


OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA)

AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance)

JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications)


What happens once my child turns 16 years old (compulsory school age)?

Young people who have been educated at home 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)

If your child chooses 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 or visit the GOV.UK’s information for young people .


If your child has an EHCP, please contact the Cognus SEND Team for support.