Education is a fundamental right for every child and we recognise that parents have the right to choose to educate their child at home rather than at school. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children receive a suitable education. Where parents have chosen to home educate, we want the home-educated child to have a positive experience. We believe this is best achieved where parents and the local authority recognise each other's rights and responsibilities and work together.
Parents may decide to exercise their right to home educate their child from a very early age and so the child may not have been previously enrolled at school. They may also elect to home educate at any other stage up to the end of compulsory school age. Parents are not required to register or seek approval from the local authority to educate their children at home. However, the law requires parents to de-register their child by writing to the headteacher of the school the child attends. Parents who choose to educate their children at home must be prepared to assume full financial responsibility, including bearing the costs of any public examinations. Parents must also ensure that their children receive full-time education for as long as they are being educated at home.
Parents' right to educate their child at home applies equally where their child has special educational needs, irrespective of whether the child has an education, health and care plan or not. If the child attends a special school see: Home-education for children registered at a special school.
Parents' education provision will reflect a diversity of approaches and interests. Some parents may wish to provide education in a formal and structured manner. Other parents may decide to make more informal provision that is responsive to the developing interests of their child. One approach is not necessarily more efficient or effective than another. Although some parents may welcome general advice and suggestions about resources, methods and materials, the local authority cannot specify a curriculum or approach, which parents must follow.
The local authority will normally expect to review provision and satisfy itself that the education is appropriate.
For more contact details, please see: Contact Children's Services.
Visit the Education Otherwise website and home education on the Gov.uk website for further information.
For more information, please see our guidance for parents on educating your child at home.
Please see our Elective Home Education Policy (PDF).
Surrey's commitment to home educating parents
- As a local authority, Surrey County Council supports and encourages parents who opt to educate their child/children at home.
- We will offer advice to parents regarding home education.
- We will offer to meet new home educating parents within six to eight weeks of registration.
- We will offer an annual meeting with parents who already home educate.
- We will offer targeted advice to parents at key transition stages as children and young people get older.
- We will offer advice about a return to a school.
- We will offer advice and support if the education is deemed not suitable.
- We will offer advice and support to vulnerable pupils at agreed intervals.
- We will work with parents, children and other agencies to safeguard home educated children.
- We will ensure every child has access to an education that is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special education needs.
- We will work with colleagues across the local authority to improve their knowledge and understanding of elective home education.
Files available to download
Elective Home Education - policy and procedure, September 2022 (PDF)
Our recently reviewed policy and procedures that is published for parents, schools and other agencies with an interest in Elective Home Education.