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Educating your child at home (elective home education)

The legal position

Duty of the parent / carer:

As a parent you have the legal right to choose to educate your children other than by attendance at school, usually by providing education at home.

Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act states that:

'The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive full time education suitable -
(a) to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and;
(b) to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."

The phrase ''or otherwise'' allows education outside of formal schooling, providing that the parent / carer can meet the child's needs, as stated above.

Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that:

"No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of the parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions."

Duty of the Local Authority (LA):

The LA has a duty in law to monitor that children who are ''educated otherwise than at school'' receive suitable education. If the LA is not satisfied with the arrangements made by any parent for their child's education, there are legal requirements on both the authority and the parent.

Section 437 of the 1996 Education Act states that:

''If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing, on the parent requiring him/her to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice, not being less than 15 days, that the child is receiving such education."

If the LA is unable to satisfy itself that the child is receiving suitable education, then a school attendance order may be issued to the parents, which will require them to register the child at a named school within a certain period of time.'

SEN team


Tel: 024 7683 1614

Coventry City Council
PO Box 15
Council House

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