You can choose to educate your child at home if you're willing to take on full responsibility for their education.

Home education means that your child is not on a school roll and you are taking full responsibility for their education. Read more about home education and home schooling on the Department for Education blog.

Your right to choose

As a parent you have ultimate responsibility for the education of your child. You can decide not to send your child to a school and instead educate the child yourself at home.

What you have to provide

If you choose to do this you'll take on responsibility for giving your child a suitable full-time education from the age of 5 to 16.

Things to consider

Educating a child yourself is a big responsibility and it's worth remembering:

  • educating a child takes a lot of time and commitment over many years, although you may both learn a lot and enjoy the time together
  • you won't get any financial support, and you'll need to pay for books, materials, trips and entering examinations
  • one of the benefits of school is that children get to mix with many other children and adults, and learn how to interact, form friendships and collaborate
  • children can become isolated if they don't go to school

What to do if you decide to home educate

If your child is already at school, you must write to the head teacher to tell them you're going to educate at home.

If your child hasn't been to school, you don't have to tell us about your decision but we would appreciate being told. We are responsible for ensuring that your child is getting a suitable education.

We have an Education Officer who works with people who educate their children at home, and they'll be happy to give you general advice and be a point of contact for you and your child. From time to time they'll be in touch about the education you're giving your child.

Contact the NHS School Health Nursing team to find out about accessing the health services that would normally be provided in schools and how they can be provided in a more bespoke way. 

If your child has special educational needs or a medical problem

If your child has special educational needs or a medical problem, you may benefit from a talk with the Education Officer before making a final decision.

If your child attends a special school you'll need permission to home educate from our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities team. The team will review the situation each year to make sure your child's needs are being taken care of. 

Guidance for home schooling 

Our  pdf Elective Home Education: Guidance and procedures (2.27 MB)  includes the:

  • procedures that Bristol City Council, parents and schools will follow  if parents decide to home educate their child
  • legal position and the roles and responsibilities of Bristol City Council, Schools and parents for home education

The term parent includes a child's natural parents, anyone with Parental Responsibility for the child or anyone who is caring for the child. 

Our role in home education is part of our wider responsibility to children living in the Bristol area, including safeguarding.

You can read government guidance on elective home education on GOV.UK.

Transitioning to post-16 education

The City of Bristol College has a dedicated Transition Coordinator to support any student not currently accessing a mainstream secondary school transition into their college.

Contact for Transition Coordinator support.

Complaints and feedback

You can give feedback or make a complaint about our service online.

Contact information

Elective Home Education Officer

Tel: 0117 352 1438