Home schooling

Schools, education and learning


The Council will help parents thinking about educating their child at home plan an educational programme that will ensure that the child receives an efficient full-time education suitable to their age, ability and any special needs.

Parent’s responsibility to provide an education

In England and Wales parents have the primary responsibility for ensuring that their children receive an effective education. Although this responsibility is usually delegated to schools some parents choose to exercise it directly by providing an education based at home.

If you decide to home education what is required of you?

  • You do not need to be a qualified teacher to educate your child at home
  • Your child is not obliged to follow the National Curriculum or take national tests, but as a parent you are required by law to ensure your child receives full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude
  • Any special educational needs your child may have must be recognised
  • You do not need special permission from a school or local authority to educate your child at home, but you do need to notify the school in writing if you're taking your child out of school
  • You will need to notify the local authority if you are removing your child from a special school
  • You do not need to observe school hours, days or terms
  • You do not need to have a fixed timetable, nor give formal lessons

Local authorities can make informal enquiries of parents who are educating their children at home to establish that a suitable education is being provided. Waltham Forest local authority will engage enquiry, you can provide evidence your child is receiving an efficient and suitable education by:

  • Inviting a local authority representative to your home
  • Meeting a local authority representative outside the home, (representatives have no automatic right of access to your home)
  • Writing a report or work plan
  • Providing samples of your child's work

If it appears to Waltham Forest Local Authority that a child is not receiving a suitable education, then we might serve a school attendance order.

You are not legally required to inform your local authority when you decide to educate your child at home if your child has never been registered at a school although it is helpful if you do so. If you remove your child from school to educate them at home you must inform the school and/or local authority however they cannot refuse permission. The only exception to this is where your child is attending a special school under arrangements made by the local authority. In this case additional permission is required from the authority before the child's name can be removed from the register.

If you are taking your child out of school to home educate them, you need to inform the school in writing. It's advisable, but not compulsory, to inform Waltham Forest Local Authority of any significant changes in your circumstance relevant to your child's education, like a change of address, but is very helpful.

Elective Home Education (EHE) Protocol

This document aims to clarify for schools, parents, carers, guardians and related agencies, the protocol and procedures to be observed when a parent elects to home educate their child who is of compulsory school age.

The protocol sets out parents’ rights to educate their children at home, together with the legal duties and responsibilities of head teachers and the Council. It also sets out the arrangements the Behaviour, Attendance and Children Missing Education (BACME) Service from the Council will make in order to carry out its legal duties.

Parents’ right to educate your child at home applies equally where a child has SEN. This right is irrespective of whether the child has a statement of special educational. Where a child has a statement of SEN and is home educated, it remains the local authority’s duty to ensure that you are educating your child so that their needs are met. You will need to ensure that you are providing the support that is outlined in part 3 of the statement. The statement is a legal document and it will be reviewed by the local authority annually.

The current financial responsibility for home-educated children has not changed, namely, that parents who choose to electively home educate their children assume financial responsibility for their education.

Useful information Click to get info

Download a factsheet (73KB PDF file) for parents/carers on educating your child at home.

Contact Click to get info

For advice on how to inform the local authority about your intention to home educate your child please contact:

Education welfare service

Telephone: 020 8496 1718/1719

Email: ews@walthamforest.gov.uk


Support services for parents

Waltham Forest SENDIASS

Telephone: 020 8496 5230

Freephone 0800 587 2521

Email: wf.sendiass@walthamforest.gov.uk


Advisory centre for education

Telephone: 020 7704 3370

Website: www.ace-ed.org.uk