Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to register?
There is, currently, no legal imperative for you to register with the Local Authority, however Barnet Council do operate a voluntary registration scheme. The benefits of registration include instant access to pertinent advice and guidance from the EHE Team and potential access to other Barnet Council and BELs services that could be used to support your home education programme, such as free parent/career courses, workshops and information on a number of topics.
How do I register?
Visit the Elective Home Education page on this site to find the link to the registration in the right hand panel.
What information will you ask me to provide?
The Local Authority ask parents to provide information to demonstrate that their child/ren are in receipt of a suitable education. It is totally up to you what format you choose to provide that information in but other EHE parents have chosen to complete the Statement of Provision form, which we send to you attached to our introductory email; write their own Parent Report (this method allows you to share your philosophy of learning), meet with the Advisory Teacher to discuss your planned or current home education programme; and/or send in photographs of your children's work, activities or resources. All information provided by you is carefully considered and should their be any further questions or clarity needed, the EHE Team will contact you.
How often will I need to provide this information?
There is an initial request for information as described above. This request is to establish that a suitable education is in place and to offer support and guidance where it is needed. Once it has been established that your child is in receipt of a suitable education, the EHE Team will contact you annually to ask for an update. Update information will differ slightly from the initial information request as the EHE team will ask to see evidence of progress and child participation. This information is important as it allows the Local Authority to ensure what is in place, educationally, is meeting the needs of the child and is therefore suitable, it also enables the EHE Team to better support you and your child. If you or we feel their are any challenges or concerns with your home education programme we will work with you to try and resolve them, during this process we will ask you to provide updated information periodically, to ensure a suitable education programme is developed.
Do I have to provide any information to Barnet?
No. You do not have to provide any information to the Local Authority as you do not need to prove or provide evidence that your child is receiving a suitable education. However, the Local Authority has a legal duty under section 436a of the Education Act 1996 to establish the identities of those children NOT in receipt of an education and to act under Section 437 if it is found that a child is NOT in receipt of a suitable education. Therefore the LA make 'informal enquires' of parents. The EHE team hope that the sharing of information is mutually beneficial and that parents should feel free to approach the Team if they are struggling or finding certain aspects of EHE challenging. With the Information you provide we can support you and your child/ren on your EHE journey. If the LA do not receive any information at all our default is to assume a suitable education is NOT in place and move to 'formal enquiries' under section 437.
Will you be undertaking a home visit?
Home visits or face to face meetings are one option open to EHE families. For some families, where communication may be difficult, being able to, literally, show the work being undertaken or resources used helps families and the EHE Adviser to enter into a collaborative 'discussion' that is supportive.
Other ways of engaging with the Local Authority can be; completing the Statement of Provision form sent out when you first register with us, write your own parent report, meet with the EHE Adviser virtually, or at a mutually convenient location. The purpose of all these forms of engagement is to work together to ensure your children have the very best educational experience possible.
Do I have to accept a home visit?
No you do not have to accept a home visit.
What will happen if I choose not to respond to your informal enquires?
As stated above the Local Authority has a legal duty under section 436a of the Education Act 1996 to establish the identities of those children NOT in receipt of an education and to act under Section 437 if it is found that a child is NOT in receipt of a suitable education. Although you have no legal duty to respond to informal requests, by not doing so, Barnet will adopt its default and assume that your child is NOT in receipt of an education and will move to making a formal request for information which you are legally obliged to answer or a School Attendance Order is enacted. It is in no parties best interest to have to issue a SAO where a suitable education is in place, (particularly the child) so please consider carefully your reasons for not responding.
Families should also, not worry about responding to Local Authorities if they are struggling with their home education. The EHE Advisory Teacher is always on hand to offer support and guidance to ensure your child is in receipt of a suitable education and where a home education programme is struggling, this is our first point of engagement. The EHE Team's aim to work collaboratively with all home educating families for the sake of the child.
Am I entitled to any support from Barnet?
As a home educating parent you must be prepared to assume full financial responsibility for your child's education, including bearing the cost of any public examinations and all resources used such as private tutors, online school costs, educational outings and social opportunities. Barnet will however be able to offer support in terms of advice and guidance and signposting to other forms of support (including this website).
If your child has an EHCP, (Education Health and Care Plan) then Barnet will continue to maintain this and support your child via their EHCP, (please be aware that access to some therapies via the EHCP will likely change, and access to these therapies will need to continue via a clinic - this and the changes to your child's support offer when you electively home educate, should be discussed at the exit meeting with the school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) or with the SEND Team).
When your child reaches the end of their compulsory school, they will be referred to our Post 16 Team who can support them with careers advice, further and higher education opportunities as well as vocational training opportunities.
Does my child have to sit formal exams?
Your child does not have to sit formal qualifications such as GCSE's and they are unable to sit SATs, as they are not in school. You may still be required to sit 11+ tests or entry exams if you want your child to attend an Independent school. Your child may need to sit GCSE's if they are considering an academic career. You should consider whether or not formal qualifications are needed or wanted when you begin home education, as this does impact what kind of curriculum is appropriate for your child.
How does my child sit formal exams?
If your child needs to sit formal qualifications or wants to sit formal qualifications, visit the Learning Resources page of this website. Follow the drop down menu for Exams and Assessments. All the information you need about organising an exam centre, entering your child as a Private Candidate, exam Boards, and purchasing your exam papers, as well as useful revision resources; can be found there.
Do I have to follow National Curriculum?
No you do not have to follow the National Curriculum as the National Curriculum is a learning programme designed to be delivered in school, it provides consistency between schools. You should, however, consider carefully the curriculum you will be providing, and whether it will allow your child to reach his/her potential now and in the future. You should have a good idea about what your home education programme will look like, your aims and objectives, before you begin home education. The Government guidance on EHE states:
'families should be aiming to offer satisfactory home education from the outset, and to have made preparations with that aim in view'.
If you are considering elective home education and are unsure as to what curriculum you need to develop please do contact the EHE Team who will be more than happy to discuss this with you.
Does Barnet think EHE is a safeguarding concern?
No. Barnet Council understand that Elective Home Education is not in itself a Safeguarding concern, however, children who are home educated fall under the same rights to protection as all children living within Barnet and will therefore be treated in the same respect as all children living in Barnet.
The 2019 Government guidance does set out that:
A situation in which a child is NOT receiving a suitable full-time education requires action by a local authority under education law. It is important to bear in mind that unsuitable or inadequate education can also impair a child's intellectual, emotional, social or behavioral development, and may therefore bring child protection duties into play.
It is, therefore, important that the local authority and families choosing to electively home educate their children, work collaboratively so as to promote children's welfare, educationally, emotionally and socially.
There are some families who require and are in receipt of, additional support from local authorities Social Services teams. These families also have the right to choose the form within which their children receive a suitable education. These situations are often a little more complex and require a multi agency approach to support a family choosing to home educate their children. In these cases the EHE Team and Social Care teams do work together, sharing relevant information so as to fully understand the individual families situation and support as appropriate. This may mean that the local authority will contact these families more regularly and require information more often to ensure the child consistently receives a suitable education and that the family are supported in order for them to provide a suitable, efficient and full-time education.
For more detailed information on Elective Home Education and Safeguarding please see Barnet's EHE policy and do feel free to contact the EHE Team if you have any questions or would like to discuss safeguarding and EHE.
Do I need to recreate School at home?
No. The value in choosing to home educate your children is that the educational programme that you develop can specifically match and meet the needs of your individual child. It means that you can focus on a subject that your child has a particular aptitude for or is challenged by. You can work in the mornings or afternoons if that is the best time for your child to learn. Your home education programme can be experiential or just more hands on if your child is more vocational in their learning. Everyday activities can be broken down and explored ( there is SO much science just in boiling an egg!!) or maybe its a functional approach that's needed. Whatever you choose, you just need to make sure you understand what your child needs to be a successful, autonomous individual and that you have clear goals or markers to measure progress against. You need to know what it is you want your child to learn and why. It is not good enough to simply buy workbooks or use, solely, educational websites without knowing and fully understanding what and where the learning is.
Again, please do contact the EHE Team to discuss curriculums, educational programmes, appropriate resources etc.
Do I have to share my child's work?
No. Again, there is no legal requirement for you to share examples of children's work, however many families find that by sharing work they can better describe and discuss their home education programme. This enables the local authority and families to see how a child is participating in their home education programme and to allow for a greater more in-depth discussion on moving forward.
Sharing children's work is also very helpful to those families whose home language is not English. In these instances a family can physically show what is happening and again, allow for greater support to be available should it be needed.
But, lastly, sharing your children's work or asking them to share their work allows them to celebrate their achievements with someone outside of their family. There is so much amazing work going on out there within the home education community and it would be wonderful to be able to share it. If you or your children would like to share examples of work or activities undertaken, enjoyable outings awards etc. please go to the celebrations page of this website.