Error! No text of specified style in document.

Elective Home Education

London Councils








Written evidence submitted by London Councils


Elective Home Education

London Councils submission to Education Select Committee Inquiry into Elective Home Education





London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities to make the case for powers, freedoms and resources to best serve the needs of London’s residents and businesses.






London Councils recognises that the majority of children who are home educated generally do not present any risk factors in terms of vulnerability, such as safeguarding or radicalisation. However, the current lack of legislative and regulatory oversight means it has become increasingly difficult to ensure that vulnerable children who are being home-educated are identified and protected from harm.

The government consulted on Elective Home Education (EHE) in 2019 but, as far as London Councils is aware, no actions were taken. With additional numbers of families choosing EHE as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic it is more important than ever that the government considers introducing legislation to establish registration and monitoring for all home educated children.

It is important that that the government considers the following steps:

Impact of Covid-19

London boroughs are seeing increases in the number of families choosing to home educate their children this term, in large part as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many schools have reported that the lack of information for parents around home schooling is causing confusion, with many parents expecting the same level of support from schools that they received during the Covid-19 lockdown. Many families have also raised concerns relating to the pandemic around safety or the quality of education on offer. The changes in circumstances have seen some families choosing to leave independent schools in favour of EHE.

Boroughs have been working hard to inform families about their responsibilities around EHE and to allay fears around safety in schools. However, boroughs would value working with the government to be able to improve the quality of communication and to develop and distribute clear messages around home education.

Whilst the cohort of EHE children in each borough is relatively small, an increase could have a significant impact in terms of the level of support and oversight that local authorities can afford to provide to these families. The boroughs have considerable concerns about the implications of this increasing cohort, particularly in terms of safeguarding.

Survey of boroughs

Data from 24 out of 33 boroughs shows that all boroughs have seen an increase in requests for EHE compared to the same time last year. 14 boroughs collectively saw an increase of over 700 additional applications for EHE early in the autumn term.

The most common reasons for new applications included:

In addition to those that have registered for EHE, there has been a further cohort of families who had enquired and had not fully understood what EHE involved. Upon finding out more information they opted to remain at their school. 

Mandatory registration and monitoring

London Councils supported the government’s proposal in July 2019 to introduce a duty to maintain a register of children who are not registered at specified schools or being educated under s.19 arrangements. It is important that local authorities have a register of all the home-educated children in the local area, for the following reasons:





As well as mandatory registration London Councils has also been calling for local authorities to be able to make annual monitoring visits to home educated children. Without mandatory monitoring it will be very difficult for local authorities to maintain an accurate register of home educated children in the local area over time. Therefore, London Councils would be keen that the government considers that both duties should be implemented together in order for local authorities to fully be able to fulfil their safeguarding duties to all children in their local areas.

November 2020

3 / 3