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Elective home education (home schooling): support for parents

Select a topic below to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a parent, carer or guardian who is home educating your child, and some valuable services and sources of support which may be harder to access if your child is not learning at school.

Your rights and responsibilities

Your rights

You have a right to educate your child at home. Elective home education doesn't have to be a permanent decision. You can decide to register your child with a school after a period of learning at home. You can make an application to a school at any time. You can also opt to take your child out of school and choose elective home education at any age. Where possible, we recommend making changes in time with the start of a school year, to reduce the disruption to your child's education and social connections. 

Your responsibilities

For some parents, the choice between registering with a school and electively home educating is an easy one to make. For others, the decision is not so clear. You will need to seriously consider whether elective home education is right for you and your child. Two important questions that you need to ask yourself are: 'Am I committed to providing my child with full-time education for as long as it takes?' and 'Will my decision affect my child’s options in later years?' 

If you take your child out of school, you are legally responsible for providing an efficient, full-time and suitable education, taking into consideration your child’s age, abilities and aptitude, as well as any special educational need or disability they may have.

The school's responsibilities (if your child is leaving a school to be educated at home)

Schools must not try to persuade you to educate your child at home as a way of avoiding an exclusion, or because of a poor attendance or behaviour record. The decision to electively home educate must be yours, and not the school’s. Once registered with a school, your child has the right to remain on their roll, and have their educational needs met and supported.

School Nursing Service

If you have any concerns about your child’s emotional or physical health, you can contact one of our public health nurses (generally known as school nurses), whether your child is at school or not. School nurses provide confidential health-related support, advice and treatment to all school-aged children and their families. The service also has links to many other expert services that may be able to help your family, such as paediatricians, speech and language therapists, children's bladder and bowel experts and parenting support.

Services for primary age children (4 to 10 years)

If you refer your child to the service, we will offer them an assessment of their health and well-being, with your consent. For younger children, we offer the following:

  • An assessment of their general health and emotional wellbeing including their height, weight, vision and hearing
  • Support to receive the flu vaccination (a nasal spray) if appropriate for their age
  • Advice around issues with bladder and bowel control, such as night/day time wetting and soiling
  • Puberty advice
  • Access to ‘Early Help’, which means providing effective support to children and young people as soon as needs start to be identified

Services for secondary age children (11 to 18 years)

If you refer your child to the service, we will offer them an assessment of their health and well-being, with your consent. Secondary-aged children can also self-refer and have a confidential consultation. For older children, we offer the following:

  • An assessment of their general health and emotional well-being, including measuring height and weight
  • Advice about relationships and sexual health, including the supply of contraception
  • Information about drug use and help to stop smoking (if appropriate)
  • Support with bladder and bowel health problems
  • Support and advice for emotional health and sleep
  • Advice on immunisations as recommended by Public Health England
  • Access to ‘Early Help’, which means providing support to children and young people as soon as needs are identified.

Get in touch with the service

You can contact us by email at, by phone on 01225 831666 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or by writing to us at The School Nursing Team, St Martins Hospital, Clara Cross Lane, Bath BA2 5RP.

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Know which service to use

Save time, worry and NHS resources by choosing the most appropriate service for your child's health needs.

  • In a medical emergency, always call 999
  • For non-emergency or minor medical enquiries, use the 111 telephone helpline service.
  • Talk to your GP for everyday health complaints or normal childhood illnesses, such as minor accidents, sickness bugs, flu, tonsillitis and chicken pox.
  • You can also find general guidance on health and well-being at The HUB

Organisations offering support for children, young people and families

The following organisations offer guidance to help you to support children and young people in your care. 

Mental Health

  • Kooth is an anonymous online community supporting young people's mental health with a variety of tools and access to free confidential counselling
  • Young Minds offers support for young people's mental health
  • Samaritans is a listening service for people in crisis
  • Papyrus is an organisation working to prevent suicide among young people, and offer support to those affected by suicide
  • B&NES CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) is an NHS service providing assessment and support to young people up to age 18 with mental health problems. You can get a referral through your GP, or you can self-refer online.

Keeping safe

  • The NSPCC works to protect children and young people from abuse
  • Childline is a telephone helpline and online support community for children and young people experiencing a wide variety of problems, from bullying and abuse to family or relationship problems
  • Thinkuknow works to protect children on and offline

Physical health

  • Change4life offers information and advice about diet, exercise and healthier lifestyles, for people of all ages
  • Eric supports children and young people suffering from bladder and bowel conditions
  • The Children's Sleep Charity offers information and support for parents and carers of children and young people with sleep problems

Family, relationships and sexual health

  • SAFE B&NES is our advice service on relationships, sexual health and well being for 13 to 24 year-olds
  • Family Lives offers support for problems with family relationships for children, young people, parents and carers

Drugs and alcohol

  • Frank offers honest information about drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as support and contact details for local support organisations
  • Project 28 is our young people's alcohol and drug advice and support service.

Government and B&NES guidance for home educators

The GOV.UK website has advice for parents considering elective home education. We have also published our own guidance.

Contact us for more resources

For further information, and access to a variety of further resources for local home educators, you can email our Elective Home Education Coordinator, Sam Lerway, or call on 01225 394454