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Elective home education

Elective home education is the term used by the Department for Education (DfE) to describe parents’ decisions to provide education for their child at home instead of sending them to school.  Throughout these guidelines, ’parents’ should be taken to include all those with parental responsibility, including guardians and carers.

The local authority (LA) attempts to make contact with the parents of children who are being electively home educated. 

The role of the LA is to determine whether the parents are providing a suitable education for their child / children. 

Once parents have decided to remove their child from school roll they take full responsibility for any educational costs.

You can find the government guidance here 


Education is a fundamental right for every child, and we recognise that parents have the right to choose to educate their child at home rather than at school. These guidelines have been produced for those parents, resident in Sefton, who choose to educate their children at home. 

Elective home education is the term used by the Department for Education (DfE) to describe parents’ decisions to provide education for their child at home instead of sending them to school.  Throughout these guidelines, ’parents’ should be taken to include all those with parental responsibility, including guardians and carers.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that: “the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to

  1. a) his/her age, ability and aptitude
  2. b) any special educational needs he/she may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise”

This means that the responsibility for children’s education rests with their parents. Once parents have decided to remove their child from school roll, they take full responsibility for ensuring an education is provided any educational costs.

Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children receive a suitable education. Where parents have chosen to home educate, we want them to have positive experiences. We believe this is best achieved where parents and local authorities have an understanding of each other’s rights and responsibilities and work together. 

The policy and guidance document links provided below set out:

  • An overview of the legal responsibilities and expectations of all those involved with parents/carers who commit to the responsibility of educating their own child
  • The role of the local authority
  • Procedures for identifying those children who are being electively home educated
  • The safeguarding procedures which are in place to ensure that children educated at home are not at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and which help to ensure that the rights of the child/young person are protected

Procedures in Sefton

The Complementary Education Service has a small dedicated team of officers supporting home educating parents. Overall responsibility for the Elective Home Education team sits with the overall Service Co-ordinator and the Elective Home Education Co-ordinator. In edition, the service has two dedicated EHE Officers. Enhanced DBS clearance is mandatory for all Elective Home Education support workers/officers and specific EHE training is delivered in addition to our standard training including:  Induction, Safeguarding, Equality and Diversity and Health and Safety (including lone worker arrangements).

Complementary Education staff will explore the options for access/signposting to other Local Authority services and facilities, within its available resources.

Elective Home Education officers and teachers understand that there is no singular ‘correct’ educational system, philosophy or methodology.  All children learn in different ways and at varying rates.  It is vital that parents and children choose a type of education that is right for them and it is important that EHE officers understand and are supportive of many differing approaches or ‘ways of educating’ which are all feasible and legally valid.

We review our guidelines and practice in relation to home education on a regular basis. Our policy review will be within 12 months of the first date of publication and thereafter every two years. 

We seek to involve parents, carers and home education organisations in the process of review in order to ensure effective practice and partnership working.

National Organisations

There are many websites that provide helpful information for anyone considering Elective Home Education – further links are provided below.

Home Schooling: www.home-schooling-uk.com

Department for Education: www.education.gov.uk

Education Otherwise: www.educationotherwise.org

Ed yourself: www.edyourself.org

Ahome: www.ahomeeducation.co.uk

Home Education in the UK – special Education Needs: www.he-special.org.uk

Home Education Useful Websites

Please note Sefton Council is not responsible for the contents of external websites.

Active Sefton Active Sefton provide a range of activities for young people at different venues across the borough.
Apprenticeships The National Apprenticeship Service
BBC Bitesize Learning resources for all subjects from primary to post-16
Career Connect Career Connect provide advice and guidance for post 16 options including employment, apprenticeships, colleges etc. They can also provide information regarding part time course for 14 – 16 young people.
Careers The National Careers Service
Department for Education The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.
Digital library Enjoy your favourite e-books, e-audiobooks, digital newspapers and magazines with Your Library Sefton on Borrow Box, Libby and Press Reader.
Ed yourself The Home Education Consultancy
Education Otherwise Provides support and information for families whose children are being educated outside school
Encounter Edu An online classroom that streams live lessons on a range of topics.
HE Special  A website created by families who home educate children with special educational needs and disabilities
IDEA The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, (iDEA) is an international helps you develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free.
IPSEA Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA)
Liverpool Museums Liverpool Museums and art galleries offering a range of activities for all age groups.
Parent Zone Information around internet safety, using apps, self-esteem and health and wellbeing.
PATOSS Patoss is the professional association of teachers of students with specific learning difficulties. There is useful information and advice about SEN and dyslexia
Primary resources Primary age resources and lessons.
School Science  Online Science resources
SENDIASS Sefton's Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) -IAS services are a statutory service that provides information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents (who have children/young people 0-25 yrs).
TES  Resources, educational news and more
The Oak National Academy  This site was put in place to support online learning during lock down. It is free to use and has a wealth of lessons and materials for all age ranges and abilities.
UCAS Support for young people making post-16 choices, as well as those applying for undergraduate and postgraduate courses

Complaints procedure

If parents or carers wish to express dissatisfaction with any aspect of our procedure or processes for Elective Home Education, they should firstly attempt to resolve the matter informally with officers. However, if this proves unsuccessful, parents and carers are entitled to make a complaint by telephoning 0345 140 0845

Elective Home Education Guidance For Parents (pdf 458KB)
Elective Home Education Policy 2023 (pdf 363KB)

Last Updated on Friday, October 13, 2023

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