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Elective Home Education

Parents/carers have a duty to ensure that their children receive a suitable full-time education. This can be either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

The law allows parents/carers to educate their children at home instead of sending them to school, if they fulfil certain conditions. 'Elective Home Education' is also known as 'home-schooling.'

Parents/guardians must inform the school in writing of their decision to home educate their child. The school should then follow the Elective Home Education (EHE) Inter-Agency Protocol. The child should be removed from school roll. A copy of the letter with the completed Elective Home Education Form should be sent to the Local Authority. 

Elective Home Education (EHE) requires parents to take full responsibility for their child’s education. This includes all associated costs, such as exam fees.

The government and Cornwall Council have created guidance for parents and carers who may be considering home schooling.

Cornwall Council's Bitesize Guide for Parents and Carers answers frequently asked questions about Elective Home Education, what to consider, and what to do next:

Read Cornwall Council's Bitesize Guide for Parents and Carers

The UK Government's Department of Education has an 'All you need to know about home-schooling and elective home education' webpage that answers all the major questions, and an Elective Home Education 'Guidance for Parents' document that goes into more depth:  

Read the Department of Education's 'All you need to know...' webpage

Read the Department of Education's 'Guidance for Parents' document

Cornwall Council has an Elective Home Education Resource Guide for Parents and Carers that gives information and links to resources useful for EHE:

Read Cornwall Council's 'Resource Guide for Parents and Carers'

The Council's Elective Home Education Policy Statement details the Council's and the Parents'/Carers' duties and responsibilities regarding EHE:

Read Cornwall Council's Elective Home Education Policy Statement

Our Suitable Education Statement

Guidance for parents educating their child at home. Definition of suitable education and the reasons why the local authority may deem the education not to be suitable.

Parents who are home educating their child(ren) are expected to provide evidence of a suitable education that would, on the balance of probabilities, convince a reasonable person that the education provided is suitable for the age, ability and aptitude of the child, and meets any special educational needs and disabilities that the child may have.

In considering the parent’s provision of education the local authority may reasonably expect the provision to include the following characteristics:

  • Broad: it should introduce the child to a wide range of knowledge, understanding and skills and must include Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Balanced: each part should be allotted sufficient time but not such that it pushes out other essential areas of learning.
  • Relevant: subjects should be taught so as to bring out their application to the child’s own experience and to adult life and to give due emphasis to practical aspects.
  • Personalised: what is taught, and how it is taught, needs to be matched to the child’s age, abilities and aptitude, taking into account any special education need.
  • Efficient: whether the education being provided achieves what it sets out to achieve.
  • Full-time: that parents are able to quantify and demonstrate the amount of time spent on education. A good education provision also includes other aspects at an appropriate level such as personal, social and health education, outdoor and environmental education, citizenship, careers, food technology and information and communication technology. Opportunities to mix and relate with other children and adults are considered to be important to a child’s personal and social development.

There may be a variety of reasons why the information and or evidence provided has not been deemed suitable by the local authority. This may include:

  • The education provision described lacks detail and it is difficult to ascertain what is being taught, the education being received or what subjects are being studied.
  • There is no or very limited examples of work or learning submitted.
  • There is no or very limited information regarding resources used internally and externally.
  • There is no or very limited detail of how the child’s progress is being planned for, monitored or examples of work or learning to demonstrate relevant progression.
  • There is no clear academic or time structure.
  • The education provision described lacks detail in how it will enable the child to participate fully in life, or that it will not foreclose the child’s options in later life to adopt some other mode of living, and to be capable of living on an autonomous basis.

It is important to note that the above is for guidance and by way of example only and is not an exhaustive list. Each case is judged upon its own individual circumstances.

As a guide the types of information and evidence that can be submitted might include: a timetable, a curriculum plan, photographs, work books, progress reports, original dated work over time (or photocopies of this), art work/scrapbooks
musical, academic and sporting achievements (certificates), diary of events and activities, conversations with the child / parent, home visits, plans for or outcomes of entering your child for qualifications, recordings, on-line blogs, website content, electronic presentations and content etc.

Home educators can use the EHE Record as a template guide, in order to provide information to the local authority regarding the suitability of the education that they are providing for their child. The template is not compulsory, it can also be adapted by home educators to meet their individual requirements.

The local authority needs to be satisfied that suitable education is taking place through building a full picture of the individual circumstances rather than rigid adherence to a check list. 

The Elective Home Education Record is a form that EHE parents/carers can send to the Council to help us to comply with our statutory responsibility to ensure that all children in Cornwall are receiving an education suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. 

Although parents and carers are not legally obliged to provide information, by completing this form and sharing with us information about your child’s home education, it will enable the Elective Home Education team, parents and carers to work together to plan, assess and review provision to ensure it enables children to progress and develop.

Download the Elective Home Education Record document

Submission by email should be to either your Elective Home Education Coordinator or to

Your child will continue to have access to NHS services and will continue to be offered the same health services as they would in the school environment.

Universal Services

GP: Your child has the right to access a GP practice that best suits their needs, please be aware that due to capacity of some GP services you may not be able to register at your most local surgery.

Dental services: NHS dental services are free to children and young people under the age of 18 years. There is a shortage of NHS dentists in Cornwall so if you can’t find a dentist accepting NHS patients you need to register on the waiting list by calling 0333 0063300 or emailing 

For emergency dental appointments and enquires contact: West Country Dental Care, 0333 4050290,, or visit their web page

For more general information about dentists and how to complain visit the NHS Dental Services webpage

Vision Services

Your child would normally be offered a free eye test in reception class delivered by NHS services, however your child can still access vision screening via an appointment at any high street opticians. A vision test is an important health check for your child and vision screenings should take place once per year unless advised differently by a health care professional.

Hearing Services

If you have concerns for your child’s hearing you can access your GP who will refer you to the appropriate department.

0-19 Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting and School Nursing) Service

The 0-19 Public Health Nursing team deliver NHS services within Cornwall Council. The service remains available to home educated children to support with health issues for Pre-school, Primary and Secondary School aged children. Your child is still entitled to receive all the services the 0-19 team offer those children who remain in school.

This includes a health assessment offer at Reception (aged 5), a further health assessment in Year 6 (age 10-11) and again during their mid-teens (14+). At this point we can help to identify any unmet health concerns and support your child and family to meet these needs.

The school nurse website offers the opportunity to complete a self-assessment for your child. This helps you identify if your child has any health needs that you may need help with. 

The health visitor or school nurse can arrange a convenient contact with you, this could be by telephone, Microsoft Teams meeting, a face-to-face appointment at a local clinic/community hub or other suitable venue. When working with secondary aged children and young people, the School Nurse will endeavor to maintain your child’s right to confidential health services, within the bounds of safeguarding, including:

The School Nurse Universal offer is:

  • Reception Year Health assessment
  • Year 6 Health Assessment
  • Mid Teen Health Assessment
  • Reception Height & Weight Measurement National Child Measurement
  • Programme (NCMP)
  • Year 6 Height & Weight Measurement National Child Measurement
  • Programme (NCMP)
  • 1-1 Teen support confidential advice for Teens (appt by arrangement)

School Nurses support with:

  • Assess and identify health, growth and development issues
  • Parenting support and information in relation to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) health care plans
  • Promote health and well-being and keep children safe, support to access health services, including information in the management of Epilepsy / anaphylaxis/asthma / diabetes / mental health issues
  • Support to access or maintain an early years or school placement or return to school
  • Support with healthy eating, keeping active and weight management, including weighing and measuring children and monitoring weight and height
  • Continence (bowel and bladder issues, day or nighttime bedwetting)
  • Preventing injury, poisoning and managing minor illness
  • Promoting oral health and preventing tooth decay
  • Information about hygiene/ head lice
  • Information about the NHS Vaccination schedule and how to access immunisations
  • Emotional and mental health concerns /support and information
  • Healthy Relationship support and information
  • Drug and alcohol use / support to stop smoking
  • Sexual Health / contraception advice/ support and information

For more information please find out more about School Nursing in Cornwall here. 

If you would like to access the Health Visiting and School Nurse Service, you can ask for a referral via 01872 322277, or visit the Early Help webpage.

If you require telephone advice the 0-19 Health Visiting, and School Nursing Service can answer any questions via our client advice line 01872 221400.

The Family Information Service

There is information relevant to children and families and guidance available from the Family Information Service webpages or by calling 0800 587 8191, 01872 323 535.

The Early Help Hub

There are a range of services your child or family may benefit from and these can all be accessed via a request for support via the Early Help Hub, these services include:

  • Community Children’s Nursing team
  • Diana Nursing team
  • Paediatric epilepsy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Dietetics
  • Paediatrician
  • Early Years Inclusion Service
  • Family Support
  • Health visiting (over 2 years)
  • Parenting Support
  • Targeted Youth Support
  • Video Interaction Guidance

You can contact the Early Help Hub on 01872 322277, or visit the Early Help webpage.

NHS Healthier Families

For fun and engaging family friendly resources and information to support your family to live a healthy lifestyle go to the NHS Healthier Families webpage.

Healthy Cornwall

No matter what your age or ability Healthy Cornwall can help you lead a happier, healthier life. They can support you with weight management, healthy eating and physical activity.

Eating well and being physically active is an important part of maintaining good health and can help your child feel their best. There is lots of fun and friendly support available in Cornwall for children and families.

More information can be found by visiting our webpage or by calling 01872 324200.

School-Age Immunisation Service

Kernow Health delivers the School-Age Immunisation Service on behalf of NHS England.  All school-age children and young people will be eligible for certain vaccines at certain ages.  The current schedule is as follows:

  • Reception to Year 6 (inclusive), Nasal Flu. This vaccine is offered annually, usually between September and February
  • Year 8 – Year 11, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine
  • Year 9 – Year 11, Tetanus/Diphtheria/Polio (‘teenage booster’) and Meningitis ACWY

In order to consent to these vaccines, please call the Team on 01872 221105, who can check your child’s vaccination record, complete the consent form with you and book your child into a community catch-up clinic. The team will be happy with help with any queries you may have.

Young people registered with the Local Authority as home educated, who are age 15 or 16 and would be in Year 11 if in school in September, can apply for a place on a range of year-long vocational courses to complement their home education.

Cornwall College offer supportive and aspirational vocational courses across a range of Cornwall locations, helping young people who are EHE in realising their career goals and ambitions. It’s a fantastic way to ensure progression into further education, apprenticeships and employment.

Programmes will vary but currently include:

  • Animal Care
  • Art & Design
  • Childcare
  • Engineering
  • Games Design
  • Hair & Beauty
  • Hospitality & Catering
  • Sport

To find out more about current courses, application arrangements and all enquires please visit the Cornwall College Elective Home Education programme webpage.

There is no requirement for home educated children to sit public exams, such as GCSEs, but they can do so as private candidates. If your child decides they want to take GCSEs, then you should make your preparations as early as possible. It is sensible to start planning when your child is 14+ (Year 9). Careers South West can give advice about the qualifications anyone needs for any chosen career, with more information available on their webpages

Entry to summer GCSE exams

EHE learners looking to sit English and Maths GCSE examinations in Cornwall can now do so as private candidates through Cornwall College at their Camborne campus.

Exam entry forms are available on request by contacting or 01872 324298. Registration deadline with Cornwall College is in April of the year of the Summer exams.

Their offer and access arrangements for Summer 2023 exams were:

  • Access to AQA GCSE (9-1) in English Language (60142923) and AQA GCSE (9-1) in Mathematics (60146084) examinations in the Summer 2023 series for EHE candidates in year 9 above at Cornwall College Camborne - Trevenson Road, Pool, Cornwall, TR15 3RD (SAT NAV: TR14 0EQ).
  • Limitations on the number of places available will apply.
  • Places will be available in a separate dedicated space.
  • Provision for candidates requiring access arrangements, including study needs assessments, will not be offered due to capacity and resource constraints. Window for candidates to register from 20th March to 14th April. No later registrations will be accepted due to further increases in awarding organisation fees.
  • Charge a fee per qualification of £190. This is comprised of a registration fee of £90 and an administrative fee of £100. Payment will be taken before registrations are completed.
  • Where cancellations are requested (before the date of the first exam) the College will retain 100% of the registration fee (non-refundable from the awarding organisation) and 50% of the administrative fee. The overall refund per qualification will be £50.
  • Candidates must attend the first exam for each registered qualification. Failure to attend will result in candidates being withdrawn without any refund of costs.

See the Cornwall College GCSE External Candidate Entry Form

Private Candidate Exam Centres

Parents and carers who wish to have their child entered for a public exam will need to approach exam centres that accept private candidates. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) holds an interactive list of exam centres that accept private candidates, which can be found on their webpage. Independently registered exam centres can also be used, where available.

You may have to use the same syllabus or exam board as the school, college or exam centre and for this reason, it is important that you make contact with them very early in Year 10 (or even Year 9) to find out what subjects or syllabus are being followed. Entry deadlines will also apply. Please note that examination centres have sole discretion over whether or not they are prepared to accept entries. The responsibility for liaising with the centre is entirely that of the parent.

Exam entry fees will be payable and children sitting exams as private candidates are
required to do so under the exam conditions provided by the exam centre. Unfortunately, there is no funding available from the local authority to cover the cost of sitting GCSEs. However, there are organisations which provide grants and bursaries for educational purposes that you could explore further. These include:

If your child is intending on accessing college post-16, you could consider having a conversation with the college to discuss your current situation and to see if your child would be able to access any of the GCSEs through the college provider next year.

Examination boards

The contact details for the exam boards in England are:

Careers Advice

Working in partnership with Cornwall Council’s Elective Home Education Service, Careers South West can support your child’s transition from Year 11 into education, training or employment by providing free impartial, information, advice and guidance from specialist advisers.

From academic pursuits to vocational learning or apprenticeships, there are so many education and career choices out there for young people today, and they’re being asked to choose earlier and earlier. CSW advisers are able to help you and your child make sense of these options and have up-to-date knowledge of the provision available in your local area.

CSW advisers are also able to give information on more specialist areas such as Special Educational Needs and Education Health Care Plans.

To find out more contact CSW on 0800 9755111 or visit their website.

Work experience

Parents should be aware that the exemptions relating to child employment legislation to enable young people to undertake work experience only apply with respect to work experience arranged by a governing body or local authority. Consequently, there is currently no option for EHE families to arrange work experience opportunities that would be lawful where such activities are in conflict with the legislation restricting child employment.

Find out more about work experience


Students who are Electively Home Educated are governed by the same laws, with regard to child employment, as any other child. No child of statutory school age is permitted to work, regardless of how they are being educated, unless they have been issued with a work permit by the Local Authority. This also applies to children who may be working part time in the family business or with a self-employed parent, in which case the parent is also classed as the employer of the child. If a child works without a permit, he or she may not be covered by an employer’s insurance. The employer can be prosecuted for the illegal employment of children as can parents if this is considered appropriate. If they are found guilty, heavy fines and court costs can follow.

There are restrictions on the type of employment that is permitted for a juvenile and on the number of hours they can work. It should be noted that although Elective Home Educated children do not have to comply with conventional school hours, it is within the spirit of the law that they do comply to the restrictions around working hours for Juveniles. This means they should not be employed during school time and only work two hours on any school day.

These regulations apply to all children from the age of 13 years to the point at which they are no longer of compulsory school age. This date is set as being the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16.

Find out about employment of children and young people

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