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Home education

In England, education is compulsory, school is not.

Parents have the right to educate their children at home under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

Elective home education

Home education that is carefully planned can be a positive and viable alternative to a school placement.

The plan should include:

  • who will take responsibility for teaching
  • the cost of home education
  • the potential impact of any loss of earnings

Educating at home may not work when there is:

  • a relationship breakdown with the school
  • a special educational need, including social, emotional and mental health (SEMH)
  • concern about the literacy levels of a parent or carer
  • current or past social care involvement


The local agreement in place between all schools in East Sussex means that any child receiving an unsuitable home education will return to their original school.

This policy covers the roles and responsibilities of parents, schools and the local authority:

Elective home education policy and procedures

This policy is available on the East Sussex website.

Talking to parents about home education

If a parent is considering home education, meet them to discuss this and find ways to resolve issues in school. Remember to take notes as a record.

Explain they will be responsible for:

  • full costs (including all materials and exams)
  • providing a full-time education suitable for their child’s age and ability
  • supervision by an appropriate adult
  • providing opportunities for social interaction.

There is guidance for parents on Home education | East Sussex County Council 

Students with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or Statement

Parents of a child with special educational needs (SEN) also have the right to home educate. The local authority still has a duty to ensure the child’s needs are met.

  • If a child is enrolled at a special school, they must remain on roll until the local authority is satisfied that the parents can provide a suitable home education. 
  • The school needs to arrange an emergency annual review. It must inform both the Assessment and Planning Officer (APO) by emailing sen.caseworkassistants@eastsussex.gov.uk and Teaching and Learning Provision (TLP) by emailing TLP@eastsussex.gov.uk
  • TLP will inform the parent of the elective home education process and their role and responsibilities. 
  • The APO will help arrange the annual review and invite an Educational Psychologist (EP) to join where they can advise parents. If the child has not received a recent EP assessment, the APO will arrange this before the meeting.
  • The annual review will consider the suitability of the parents' plan to home educate. The provision section is altered to reflect the home environment.

Mainstream schools

If the child with an EHCP attends a mainstream school or facility, the above is not compulsory but is advised. If the child is removed from the school before the annual review, the school will be asked to attend and contribute.

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