Home education

What to do if you want to educate your child at home and signposting to organisations who can help you

You have the right to teach your child at home instead of sending them to school. This is called elective home education, home education or home schooling.

If you choose to teach your child at home, you will take on full responsibility for giving them a suitable full-time education.

Department for Education (DfE) has guidance on Elective Home Education.

Things to consider

If you decide to educate your child at home, you will be responsible for all costs, including:

  • books and other materials
  • educational trips and visits
  • private tutors
  • computers or laptops
  • exam fees

Teaching your child at home takes a lot of time, effort and commitment but it could also be very rewarding.

Online safety

If you are educating your child at home, you should be aware of the risks and challenges of the internet.

Essex Schools has information about keeping pupils safe online.

Essex Safeguarding Children’s Board has resources to help parents and children reduce the risk of online exploitation.

Taking your child out of school

If your child is at school, you need to write to the headteacher to let them know you have decided to educate them at home.

The school will remove your child from the register and they will let us know. We will register your child as receiving home education.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

You can still educate them at home even if they have an education, health and care (EHC) plan but you need to ensure your child's special educational needs are met.

If your child goes to a special school, you will need our permission before you can take them out of the school and start home educating them.

Contact the Essex SEND Information Advice and Support (IAS) Service for information and advice.

Essex Local Offer provides services and support for children with special needs and disabilities.

What to teach

You don’t have to follow the national curriculum but you need to make sure what you’re teaching is suitable for your child’s age and ability.

Taking examinations

You can arrange and pay for your child to take examinations as external candidates with an examination centre such as colleges.

Returning your child to school

You can send your child back to school at any time. You will need to apply for a school place, but places aren’t guaranteed.

Contact the school admissions team by email at admissions@essex.gov.uk for more information and advice.

Checking on your child’s education

We have a duty to act if it appears that a child is not receiving a suitable education. We will be in touch with you from time to time to make sure your child is getting the education to meet their needs.

Support for parents

There are lots of places to get information and advice.

EHE workshops for parents

From time to time, we offer workshops to Essex parents who are registered home educators.

You will be able to access information from services and professionals who offer support to children falling into the compulsory education age category, speak to other parents who teach their children at home, hear about their experiences and learn from them.

Look out for forthcoming workshops here.

Support groups

You can contact national support groups for advice and guidance about elective home education:

Supporting your child’s emotional wellbeing and mental health

Looking after your child’s emotional and mental wellbeing is an important part of home education.

Visit our Children and young peoples health and wellbeing services page for more details.

More information

Find out how our children's social care support the care of children in Essex.

Provide can help find health services for children living in Essex.

Home Education Advisory Service (HEAS) advise parents who want to home educate their children.

Educational Freedom offers support, advice and information for home educators in the UK.

The British Council’s Learn English Kids provides free online games, songs, stories and activities for children to have fun and learn English too.

BBC Learning has free resources for primary and secondary school children.

Channel 4 Learning has free online resources for those who teach primary and secondary age children.

A little bit of structure is a blog by home educating parents for home educating parents.

SEN Teacher provides free printable resources for those who teach children and young people with special educational needs.

Primary Resources provides free lesson plans, activity ideas and resources in a number of subject areas for primary school children.

Ed Yourself provided updates on elective home education practice and policy.

Help for young people

Children must be in education or training until they are 18. You and your child can decide how to do this after they turn 16.

Our page on education and training for young people provides information on post-16 options including staying in full time education, apprenticeships and part-time working with training.

GOV.UK has more about the school leaving age.

National Careers Service provides information and advice about post-16 options including further learning, training and work.

UCAS provide advice for young people and parents on how to access higher education courses.

Examination boards

OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA) Edexcel GCSEs AQA

Legal advice

Children’s Legal Centre is a charity that promotes and protects the rights of children in the UK and worldwide.