Written evidence submitted by Nottingham City Council


Nottingham City Council

Elective Home Education

Call for Evidence – November 2020

Elective Home Education (EHE) in Nottingham City Council is the responsibility of the Education Welfare and Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) Service.  The Service supports parents who choose EHE and recognise that the majority of provision is suitable and successful.  The reason for submitting this evidence is that we strongly believe that more rigorous guidance should be implemented to ensure consistency amongst Local Authorities, robust inspection and quality assurance measures should be standardised to ensure children and young people are able to reach their full potential and to support safeguarding.  There should be a duty on parents to register their child with their Local Authority and that Local Authority should keep an official register.


The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education;

The Local Authority should hold the responsibility for assuring quality assurance and safeguarding of EHE provision in their area.  In order to do this more efficiently and effectively more powers must be made available to allow this to happen more rigorously and consistently.  There is currently no framework or guidance to show what constitutes good home education.  Education at school has the Ofsted framework which ensures effective quality assurance, safeguarding is a key element in this framework.  The quality of education differs vastly from family to family

Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required;

Local authorities should only be obliged to keep a register if there is a corresponding duty on parents to provide information when they choose to home educate. We support the proposal that Local Authorities should maintain a register of children who are not registered at specified school.  All children should be registered with their Local Authority as the Local Authority has an obligation to ensure that all the children within their authority are receiving a suitable education. The register would support safeguarding practices.

The benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;

Benefits: When EHE is done well, children have a personalised and well-rounded curriculum and in turn creates strong family bond.  Families can also be supported by the EHE network and online tuition is accessible.

Potential disadvantages:

Children and young people may miss out on crucial socialisation.  They need to learn social skills in order to deal with many different types of people in life and to an extent, being home-educated shields children from hands on learning about this.

Children & young people only have parents’ view of the world and they choose what to teach or what not to teach.  Some families teach the same lessons to all children regardless of their age, ability and aptitude and any special needs they may have.  This is difficult to determine under the loose quality assurance which is in place.

Parents do not need to enter children for exams, this may cause difficulties for young people when dealing with adult life and future employment and training.

Should the parent decide that EHE is not working as they would have wished and would like to send their child back to school, there may not be a school place available.  This could cause anxiety, frustration and uncertainty for the child and family.


The quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education;

Parents who choose EHE take on the financial responsibilities for their child’s education. This includes the cost of any exams.  Some EHE families do not want support from government agencies but others would welcome this.  Advice and guidance for parents is available from the EW & EOTAS Service.  Children with an EHCP may be eligible for limited financial support from the SEND Team within the Local Authority.


Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’

The current regulatory framework is not sufficient – it is not robust enough as it is not statutory and gives mixed messages leaving it open to interpretation.  Parents do not have to inform the LA that they are home-educating but do have to show that education they are providing is suitable.  There is no framework from DfE to help parents/assessors understand what the requirements are.  This is based on professional judgement from assessors which may differ widely between LAs.

The 2016 changes in regulations for deleting pupils from the register has ensured that LAs are notified of all pupils deleted from the admissions register including those deleted for EHE.  LAs must be pro-active to follow up all these cases to ensure parents have not been encouraged to elect EHE and to identify any concerns of ‘off-rolling’.


The role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education;

There should be an agreed minimum requirement. Schools are subject to these so parents should be as well.  Education is the right of every child and parents doing a really good job should not feel threatened or undermined when asked to prove they are providing a suitable education.  If there were minimum requirements, in consultation with parents and families, there would be clear expectations which would favour children receiving home education.


what improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 Education Committee published their report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012;

EHE is now embedded within the Education Welfare & EOTAS Service.  Despite the title, assumptions should not be made by parents that the service have a negative view of EHE.  The Service supports parents who opt for EHE and works alongside them to provide advice and guidance, signpost to support services and ensure education is assessed and proved suitable.  Many parents successfully educate their children at home. 

the impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts.’

Children’s well-being and emotional health has suffered the same as school-educated children.  We are living through a global pandemic, there is huge uncertainty and increased anxiety.  All children need better access to mental health and well-being services.    Parents electively home educating are not always aware of LA initiatives which support children, young people and their families.      Due to the first lockdown, many more families have decided to home-educate their children.  Whilst they were supported by schools in the first instance, this safety net will not be there if they do decide to electively home educate.  EHE should not be confused with home schooling during the lockdown period.


November 2020