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The Law

The responsibility for a child's education rests with their parents. In England, education is compulsory, but school is not.

2.2 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 parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions."

Parents have a right to educate their children at home. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 provides that:

"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable -

(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."

School age children

For school age children, the parent or carer must write to the school headteacher informing them of the intention of withdrawing the child from school.

Children under school age

Where a child is not of statutory school age, or is not registered at a school, the parent/carer is not required in law, to seek permission to home educate or take the initiative in informing the Local Authority - LA. However, it helps the LA considerably if parents/carers inform the authority, stating the pupil's name, date of birth, address and date of commencement of home education.

For more information please contact the School Attendance and Education Welfare Team from the contact area.


Elective home education guidance for parents and carers.

Elective home education guide to GCSEs and beyond.