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Help Demystifying Abbreviations and Terminology!

When you first enter the world of home education it is overwhelming! While you try and get your head around the laws and how your child are learning there is also a plethora of information being thrown at you.

There are a huge range of abbreviations and terminology, many new and changing, to learn and understand when you decide to Home Educate, it can also throw some of us who have been home educating long term too. Just to add to this and make it more confusing are the shortening or abbreviated versions of terms floating around which up until now you have probably never heard of. We have built a glossary here of some of the more common abbreviations and terminology’s used in the world of home education to give you a helping hand.


Home Educating, Home Educator or Home Education

Probably by far the most popular in abbreviations. This can also sometimes be incorrectly referred to as Home Schooling (HS). This however actually means your child is registered at school and the education provided by the school/LA. It is often used in America but should not be used in the UK. Never use home schooling when talking to the local education authorities as they have no understanding but when searching for resources it can some times help discover new ones.


Elective Home Education.

This is the term more commonly used in home education as the Local Authority team or person that deal with Home Education and the home educators. They can use the term EHE advisor, Home Education inspectors, EWO, teaching monitor and any other random words and name they like! This term is often found on the bottom of your local authorities letters and emails or in your local home ed groups online. Some people use the term EHE guidelines when talking about Home Education guidelines for parents and LA’s to follow set by the government.


Children Missing Education.

Often used as a name for the officer whose role is CME. These officers are then sent out to the homes of children whose educational stance is unknown to find out how that child is receiving an education. They will then refer to the Elective Home Education team once they are told you are home educating.


Compulsory School Age

Your child must start full-time education once they reach compulsory school age. This is on 31 December, 31 March or 31 August following their fifth birthday – whichever comes first. If your child’s fifth birthday is on one of those dates then they reach compulsory school age on that date and you must provide them with a full time education and for home educators that is however you wish that education to look like. Check out some of the styles of home education you could use in our page here – Styles of Home Education


An abbreviation of the official term deregistration. This is often used at the start of home educating to refer to the letter of deregistration sent to the school or the actual act of deregistering. A copy of our template for deregistration can be found by clicking here.


The Depart of Education

Not so commonly used among home educators but worth knowing all the same – The Department for Education is the government department who is responsible for children’s services and education. They send the Home Education Guidelines that the Local Authorities should base their behaviour and work on.


Education welfare officer.

The modern day word for truancy officers although this term is also in use. These are the officers who are often responsible for children who are not attending school. They normally only come across home educators when the school has failed to pass on the dereg letters!


Local Authority/Council.

A very common term and abbreviation in all sectors of home education, LA is frequently used even by the LA themselves in regards to anyone from the local authority/local council who are within the education team, whether truancy/Home Education/welfare etc.


School Attendance Order

As parents/carers you have a duty to satisfy the local authority that your child/children are receiving a suitable education (normal shown through your home education reports – use our superb guide here for writing reports and the local authority considers the provision unfit, they should tell you why, then if they are still not happy they serve a notice to satisfy, to which we strongly urge your respond with a very detailed report (remember Home Education doesn’t have to resemble school at home and the LA have to respect that).

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


Special Education Need/Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

There is a huge range of children in home education with SEN so you are bound to see this term used a lot. The needs of children with a learning difficulty which means they require special educational learning or a different way of receiving education.


Notice to Satisfy

After informal enquiries, if a child does not appear to the LA to be receiving a suitable education at home the LA will serve S.437(1) which is the NTS on parents requiring them to give information about the child’s education. Remember if the LA is serving a notice to satisfy S437(1) or a SAO which comes next then you must provide extensive information, still in the form of a report.

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