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What to expect when dealing with the Local Authority.

For a quick reference see our flow chart that shows what to expect when dealing with the Local Authority in England.
LA process and procedures Flow Chart

Updated 27/4/24

Often you will see the EHE (home education) team being referred to as the LA in our info. 

If you get confused by any of the terminology used please have a look at our dedicated terminology page where we explain most commonly used terms and abbreviations.


You LEGALLY have to deregister your child if they are registered at a school.

Failing to send a child without deregistering could result in prosecution.

Factual info

It is frustrating, but it is important to understand that the LA (and schools) are not always fully conversant with the law or their duties, and some are not honest, we wish this wasn’t the case, but despite many Home Educators and organisations working with each LA many still do not seem to understand how threatening their letters sound, or how intrusive their questioning is. And despite Education Select Committees telling them that cold calling, on the phone or doorstep, are not acceptable ways to communicate, they still do it. Being armed with the knowledge our website shares will help you ensure you understand your duty and that of the LA. The law does not give the LA any rights to demand that you communicate with them in the way they say. You are legally responsible for providing a suitable education and you get to decide how to communicate with the LA. 

The process

Once you have sent your written deregistration letter to school, they will forward your information to the Local Authority.

Usually the info is sent to the EHE department, however some LAs do not have a dedicated team and job titles do vary. You will then (in an unspecified amount of time) be contacted by the EHE (or equivalent) from the Local Authority. Do not worry if you have not heard from them, some schools fail to pass on the info and some LAs lose info, we call this falling off radar and it is perfectly legal, you are under no duty to notify the LA of your existence.

Not all staff involved in Home Education have Home Education in their title. You could be contacted by an EWO, the EHE person, a Home Education Teacher (we know, it’s an awful and misleading title), an EHE monitoring assessor (a very misleading title) etc. 


Some LAs will send out an EWO or EHE to knock on your door (doorstepping) or phone you unannounced. You DO NOT have to let them in or speak to them. Our advice is to be polite and tell them that you are busy right now and to contact you in writing/via email. This is because sometimes the person will tell you things that are not true and quite often the information you give when put on the spot isn’t truly representative of the home education provision, often they ask for information they have no right to and can use it against you. Keeping communication in writing is your choice to make and the LA must respect that choice and it protects you too. 

EHE contact

In most cases the EHE person will make contact with you in writing, often as early as the same day you deregister, though sometimes it can be months (if ever) before you hear from them. Ideally the first contact will be a welcome letter, offering information about Home Education, local groups and activities. They should be honest that they have no duty to monitor or assess, and should be upfront that you’re able to choose how you respond to informal enquiries. They should explain that visits (England) and form filling are not legal requirements but that providing information is necessary to fulfil their legal duty of identifying children who are missing from education (you will see all sorts of bizarre claims as to what their legal duty is).  

Some will include a form in their communication, that you do not have to fill in. Often the forms are not relevant to Home Education asking school type or intrusive questions, therefore we suggest you provide a provision and resource report rather than filling in their forms. (see our guide to help write a report), you'll also find template letters to help you reply. 

We think Home Educators should be allowed time to settle in before providing information, one of our template letters asks the LA to give you 3 months to settle in before you will provide a provision and resource report. The LA do not have to accept this request though and you should provide information within their specified timescale.

A refusal on your part to provide information about the provision can be used as a reason to deem the education as unsuitable, so NEVER ignore LA communications, despite how wrong their claims are, you should always respond, but do so on your own terms and within the legal requirements. 

Sometimes an LA may write to tell you that they have arranged to visit you on a set day and time; they may try claiming they have a duty to monitor, or that they have to meet the child or see work, this is not true nor is it professional or acceptable.

Their informal enquiries shouldn’t really be any more often than annually, Home Educators deem anything more often as an attempt to monitor. Though a change in your situation can trigger an earlier request for information.

NEVER ignore correspondence, no matter how inaccurate their claims are, always reply. If our website doesn’t provide you with the help you need then do contact us.

Once you receive communication, we strongly urge you to always respond (unless of course the letter/email doesn’t require a response). And the response should always be in writing.

Always in writing.

We, and most Home Educators, urge you to keep communication in writing (letter or email), that way there is a paper trail, which can be used as evidence should things become messy. Most LAs will respect your choice to not have a visit or phone calls, please contact us if you run into any difficulty.

As mentioned above, some LAs are not honest in their communication, some threatening school attendance orders (SAOs) if you do not have a visit, others claiming they have to monitor you every few months, and some claim you have to provide photos and video evidence of your child learning. You don’t have to do any of the above. If you have looked through the rest of our site and looked at our template provision and resource update, but still don’t know how to respond to the LA, then do contact us.

Do not ever feel pressured, upset or worried about visits, opting not to have one is a legal option and cannot legally be used against you, as long as you provide adequate info in writing.

There are, of course, some helpful LAs out there, so it is useful to chat with local families to find out the general consensus. But remember, you may consider someone nice and another person may think they are awful. The same goes for each EHE advisor – they are a person, and what they consider suitable with regards to education may differ from your views. It is all down to the personal viewpoint of the individual advisor. A risk we do not feel is worth it.

Forms or report?

The first communication can often come with extensive forms to fill in, asking for information that has nothing to do with Home Education, many are very school type education focused. We suggest ignoring these kinds of forms and instead use our template letters to say the forms are not appropriate and you will be providing a report on the provision once you’ve settled in. As already mentioned, the LA do not have to agree to a delay in providing information, but some do. 

Once the LA do want information about the provision you can use our guide to writing a provision and resource report,  along with the accompanying template letter

Our guide explains the information you need to include, and what not to include. But in brief 1-2 pages is adequate to describe your style, how the education is full time, how it is suitable to age, ability, aptitude and any SEN as well as the content learned in literacy and numeracy.

Inappropriate forms include questions around curriculums, timetables, lesson plans, specific details of tutors, etc. none of which are required of home educators. 

You may be asked why you are Home Educating, it is to ensure you were not forced out of school, and that you have not removed your child from school without any idea about Home Education. If you wish to respond, you can say ‘because we chose to’ or not answer that at all.

There is no need to write lengthy reports, a page or two about the provision is more than adequate for LA informal enquiries. If the LA have stated any concerns then a lengthier report would be advisable.

NOTE: an Educational Philosophy describe why you educate, the LA (and court) have to respect your philosophical reasons for Home Educating, so it can be useful to add a few lines about your philosophy. An educational philosophy on its own will NOT be adequate information for an LA to be satisfied. You should always include a report on the provision with your philosophy. (Some LAs mistakenly call a provision and resource report a home education philosophy). 

The LA should respond, thanking you for the information and that they will talk to you in a year. But many don’t even acknowledge receipt. We suggest no news is good news so do not worry. 

Unfortunately some will push for more information, if you’re not sure if your report had been sufficient, or if they’re entitled to what they’re asking for, you can contact us. You do not (and we suggest you don’t) have to include photos or other kinds of evidence of the provision, these do, after all, belong to your child. We have template letters to help you respond to demands for samples and photos. 

Annual contact

Annual contact by letter asking how you are doing and if you’d update them on the provision is deemed acceptable amongst Home Educators. A brief written update using our template is more than adequate.

What if they deem the provision not to be suitable?

If the LA deems the education as not suitable, they should tell you why, giving you chance to rectify it, or explain to them why they’re wrong. If they are still not happy they will serve a notice to satisfy, to which we strongly urge you respond with a very detailed report (remember Home Education doesn’t have to resemble school at home and the LA have to respect that but you must adequately describe a full time and suitable education).

If for any reason this is still not deemed as suitable they can serve a school attendance order.

Unfortunately some LAs do this without valid reason, we are here to support you, but don’t panic as the majority of LAs don’t do this.

If you are served an SAO you can refuse to abide by it and go to court. But we urge you to have done everything possible to sort things before this stage.

Luckily SAO’s are rare, and most concerns, with our support are rectified quickly.

Be armed with knowledge, as they say ‘Knowledge is power’

This is just a very brief explanation, please continue to read through our site, ensuring you are fully armed with all the knowledge.

If you are an LA reading this:

Please consider carefully why we have to recommend families keep contact in writing, why the forms are not suitable to Home Education and why calling yourselves monitoring teachers etc. is not creating a healthy image to Home Educators.

We are more than happy to liaise with you, to bring your policy inline with the EHE guidance and law, please contact us to ask about our co-production process.

Home Educating and the local authority

The government EHE guidance

Be armed with the knowledge, read our website, and read the:

Legal references:

The right to Home Educate:

Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age.

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996

What constitutes a suitable education:

Mr Justice Woolf said: ‘Education is suitable if it primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the wider country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child’s options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so.

R v Secretary of State for Education, ex parte Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass School Trust.

Judicial review 1985, The Times, 12 April 1985

The Judge defined the outcomes of a suitable education as 1. to prepare the children for life in a modern civilised society; and 2. to enable them to achieve their full potential

Harrison & Harrison v Stevenson. Appeal 1981 Worcester Crown Court (unreported)

If Home Education doesn’t appear to be suitable:

If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.

Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996:


 (6) Where the name of a pupil is to be deleted from the admission register, the proprietor must make a return to the local authority for that pupil as soon as the ground for deletion under regulation 8 is met in relation to that pupil, and in any event no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is deleted from the register.

(The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended by The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 s 12 (6))

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