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Elective home education

Parents and carers have a legal responsibility to make sure that their children receive an education. They may choose to educate their children at home rather than at school.

By law, we are responsible for ensuring education given to children at home is suitable.

Elective home education

Home education is an option that any family may consider for their children. The reasons for deciding on this approach are many, as are the styles of education undertaken. For some families it is a decision based on their philosophical, spiritual or religious outlook, for others it is to meet the specific needs of a child or children. It may be because of dissatisfaction with “the system” or used as a short-term intervention for a particular reason. Whatever the circumstances, we aim to support parents in their choice.

The Elective Home Education Officer is David Roberts. To contact him call 01234 276809 or email

View the Elective Home Education policy (PDF).

Support for parents or carers

Here are some of the ways the Elective Home Education Officer can support parents or carers if they are considering home education as an option:

  • How to de-register your child from school
  • Advice on different approaches and ensuring that your child receives an education suitable for their age, aptitude and ability
  • Particular advice on contacts around issues of special educational needs. For example, SEND Advice contacts, information on requesting an assessment of needs, careers and counselling contacts
  • Reports may be provided to support parental appeals eg Admissions or College entry;
  • Personal or telephone contact to discuss issues at any time
  • General advice about the different ways families home educate in Bedford Borough

PLACE Programme

PLACE (Parent-led and community based education) is support for home based learners from early years up to GCSE.

PLACE is a Bedford Local Authority support service for home educating families managed by Biddenham International School and Sports College. To be eligible for the scheme, children should be on the elective home education (EHE) register of the local authority in which they live.

The PLACE Programme provides significant support for PLACE-registered GCSE students, including part-time specialist support for a number of GCSE subjects and entrance for public examinations.

PLACE also runs a busy enrichment programme for enrolled youngsters from approximately ages four to sixteen and, in addition, provides measures of help and expertise with special needs issues through its partner school.

For further information please contact

Locally based groups, support and websites

Bedford College working with Elective Home Educators believe it’s important for all young people and adults in our community to be given equal opportunities to develop and use their skills and talents. They are delighted to be working with a growing number of families who electively home educate to provide an introduction to some of the support services available to your children at Bedford College, Shuttleworth College and The Bedford Sixth Form.

The Culture Challenge aims to increase the number of young people accessing, enjoying and making great art and culture through providing clear details of cultural providers in your local area. We serve to strengthen the cultural landscape here by building today’s audiences and tomorrow’s creative people.

National Networks for Collaborative Outreach aims to reach all educators in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. It will provide a single point of contact to help educators, teachers and advisors find out about higher education outreach activity in the area and provide general advice about progression into higher education.

As well as working with educators, local schools and colleges it will also work with local authorities and business organisations to develop initiatives directed at employability.

National websites

Questions and answers on elective home education

How do I deregister my child?

Send a letter/email to your child's school requesting them to take your child off roll, from a specific date, stating that you intend to home educate them from now on. It is helpful if a copy of the deregistration letter/email is sent to the Elective Home Education Officer at Borough Hall. Initial form to complete when deregistering your child (Word, 1.516MB), or if you do not wish to have a meeting with the Elective Home Education Officer just yet.

Will someone be sent to my house to teach my child?

No, after deregistering your child, it is your responsibility to organise the education of your child; the Local Authority cannot send anyone to your house to teach your child.

What role does the Local Authority/EHE Officer play in my child's education?

The EHE Officer will make contact with you, when you first deregister your child to arrange a meeting, either at home, a mutually agreed location or at Borough Hall. This is just to meet you, and your child (if you are happy with this), to get an understanding of how you are planning on educating your child and answer any questions/offer any advice you may need.

We will then make contact annually, either offering another visit or asking for an update to ensure our records are up to date.

What happens when it's time for GCSEs/other exams?

It is up to you the parent to investigate and pay for your child's exams. There are some schools in the Bedfordshire local area that will agree for home educated children to sit exams at their school. The schools which offer this are subject to change as it depends on how many of their own students are sitting exams as to whether they can accommodate any more. Contact the EHE Officer or other professionals to find out if they are aware of any currently taking students, or please let us know if you have found a school that will!

Do I have to follow the National Curriculum?

The education you provide has to be full time, efficient and suitable. You do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but you may find it helpful to use it as a framework, both for subjects to include and to get an idea of levels of achievement. You can obtain information about the National Curriculum, both Primary and Secondary, on the National Curriculum website that includes guidance and tools that can be downloaded.

If you intend to send your child to school in the future, then it would be wise to be aware of what is taught in school so they are not disadvantaged. There are many textbooks and workbooks based on the National Curriculum and these may be useful. You can also use the internet to find information and tools to help you teach your child at home.

Do I have to follow a timetable or have lessons?

You might follow a timetable that you have devised; most home educators have a "flexible" timetable. You may choose to follow a form of 'discovery' education, in which the interests of your child are the focus. Or you might use mixture of these methods. It's entirely up to you.

What are some of the different approaches to home education?

There are many different ways to home educate your child/children. Simply recreating a classroom in your home may not necessarily work for you, the link below gives further details on - deschooling, unschooling/autonomous learning, distance learning, classical learning etc.

How can I contact other home educators in the area?

Bedford Borough has an active online Home Education presence, you can search Facebook for national and local groups, there is always something going on in the local area.

Will my child become socially awkward?

Many home educating families have a very busy and varied social life. There's no reason to believe they will become socially awkward simply because they are home educated. Please see the article on socialisation by Home Education UK (PDF).

What happens if a Truancy Officer stops my child and I in the street?

If you are stopped by a Truancy Officer, if you mention that you are known to the EHE Team, a simple phone call will confirm that you are a home educator known to the Local Authority.

What happens if my child wants to go back to school?

Absolutely fine, contact the Bedford Borough Admissions Team by completing an online form. However, there is no guarantee that a place will still be available at their previous school. Please let the Elective Home Education Officer know as well!


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