Educating your child at home

Educating your child at home

Your child must receive a full-time education from the age of five but you can choose to educate your child at home.

If your child is already in school and you decide you want to teach them at home, you'll need to write to the headteacher or chair of governors to let them know and ask them to take your child's name off the school's register. Your child will be recorded as absent without authorisation and you could be fined if you don't inform their school. The headteacher or chair of governors will then notify the Inclusion, Attendance and Welfare Service, who (acting on our behalf) will check:

  • this is the best option for you and your child
  • there aren't any issues or problems influencing your decision that could be resolved
  • you're able to provide an effective education considering your child's age, ability, aptitude and any special needs

Once the school has accepted your decision (they can refuse if you want to send your child to school some of the time) we'll contact you to make informal enquiries regarding your plans, provide advice and offer you access to a Home Education Advisor. We can't enforce an educating method and you don't have to follow the national curriculum but it can be a useful guide.

We have a legal and safeguarding responsibility to monitor all children who are missing from school so if you're educating your child at home and your child has never been registered at a Plymouth school we'd appreciate you letting us know. You aren't legally required to do so but we can put you in touch with our Home Education Advisor and provide useful advice and information. Email ehe@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 307405 to let us know your plans.

Download Home education policy [PDF, 203KB]

The Local Authority seeks to understand that the education being provided is suitable for the age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs that a home educated child may have.  When meeting a family or looking at reports provided, evidence is looked at in this light.

Information provided by parents should demonstrate that the education being provided is suitable and has ‘achieved what it set out to achieve.’ As such the information should address issues such as outcomes expected and (unless the home education has only just started) achieved. It should not be simply a statement of intent about what will be provided, or a description of the pedagogical approach taken – this would not enable the authority to reach a legitimate conclusion that a suitable education is being provided.

This is often a key point in separating out families which are genuinely providing a suitable education at home from those who are not, because the latter often cannot demonstrate satisfactory content or measurement of progress.

If parents choose to provide a report, this could include:

  • the reason why you have chosen to educate your child at home.
  • Any resources and activities you have used e.g. people with particular skills/interests, places, libraries, computer/internet, books, museums.
  • Activities which help to develop social skills, such as activities your child may attend which take into account their individual needs e.g. scouts, sporting activities, local choir, local EHE groups, friendship groups.
  • Plans for/outcomes of entering your child for qualifications.

Possible ways to provide additional evidence in your report include:

  • original work (or photocopies of this); 
  • photographs;
  • art work;
  • scrapbooks;
  • musical and sporting achievements (certificates);
  • diary of events and activities;
  • recordings;
  • on-line blogs.

There are as many ways of demonstrating examples of education provision as there are home educators.  The Local Authority will always be happy to listen, add to the above list as new ideas are suggested and share good practice.

Home educators can use the EHE Monitoring Record as a template guide, in order to provide information to the local authority regarding the suitability of the education that they are providing for their child. The template is not compulsory, it can also be adapted by home educators to meet their individual requirements.

Download Home education Monitoring Record [PDF, 128KB]

Returning to school

If you want your child to return to school please email inyear.admissions@plymouth.gov.uk or visit the school admissions webpages for information and to apply for a school place.