Careers, Work Experience and Employment

Information on the Employment of Electively Home Educated Students

The following information on Child Employment is to help ensure that if a child who is receiving Elective Home Education takes on some form of employment whilst still of statutory school age, they do so legally and receive the protection to which they are entitled. The leaflet entitled a “Guide to Child Employment” outlines the types of jobs permitted and the number of hours per day children are allowed to work in term time and in holiday time, (which differ according to the age of the child). The back page refers specifically to children who are Electively Home Educated. As you can see from the information in the leaflet, no child of statutory school age is permitted to work at all, regardless of how they are being educated, unless they have been issued with a work permit. 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. There are restrictions on the type of employment that is permitted (a list of prohibited employment is set out in the leaflet), and the authority is not allowed to issue a permit for work that falls into the prohibited category.

If children undertake any form of employment (which they can do once they have reached thirteen years of age), it is the legal responsibility of the employer to apply for a work permit. They can be obtained from the address on the back of the leaflet. If a child works without one, he or she will have no insurance cover in the event of an accident at work because the employment is illegal unless a permit has been issued for that job. 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. 

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. Many employers and parents think that once a young person is 16 they are no longer bound by these regulations – this is not the case.

Information on Work Experience 

Work experience may take place during the last two years of compulsory education and is possible only when the arrangements for it are made or approved by a local Education Authority under section 560 of the Education Act 1996 and is not a statutory requirement. It is clearly seen as part of the young person’s education not employment. It must be unpaid, is subject to different insurance arrangements, clear health and safety criteria and based in a different legislative framework .Therefore many of the restrictions and prohibitions that apply to employers under the child employment regulations do not apply to work experience placements.Occasionally the parents of children who are being Electively Home Educated will refer to “work experience” as part of the proposed education programme. A Local Authority cannot be held liable for any child being injured whilst on work experience when they have not organised it, which will be the case with children who are being Electively Home Educated.

However, children receiving EHE may still undertake work experience providing the parents take responsibility for ensuring the placement is safe, insurance is in place and all health and safety criteria are met. This will include a thorough risk assessment appropriate for the work the child is doing being undertaken and that you (the parent) are informed of any controls that are put in place etc. 

It is also very important that the employer offering the work experience placement is made fully aware that the child is being Electively Home Educated and that it is not a school arranged placement. This could well mean that the parents have to cover any extra insurance the employer may need to take out. Many employers are familiar with work experience and support schools by offering placements. They may therefore assume that any such request involves a school and will not necessarily realise the child is being Electively Home Educated. 

Any work experience opportunity undertaken by children receiving EHE must be unpaid and clearly seen to be enhancing the child’s education and life experiences and cannot be used as a replacement of the education programme you are providing for your child. 

If you would like further advice or wish to speak to someone further you can contact the Child Employment and Performance Team for Babcock LDP on 01392 287223, or by post to Babcock LDP, Education Welfare Service, Child Employment, Second Floor, Milford House, Pynes Hill, Exeter, EX2 5GF.

Emma Hitchins
Professional lead for Elective Home Education


For information about post 16 options: 

CSW (formerly known as Careers South West) can also provide advice. 
Contact details for local CSW centres across Devon:

Barnstaple Office

Tel: 01271 378585 Email:

Exeter Office

Tel: 01392 203603 Email:

Newton Abbot Office

Tel: 01626 367579 Email:

Plymouth Office

Tel: 01752 207700  Email:

The National Citizen Service Programme

NCS is a programme during the summer for all 15-17 year olds. It offers an excellent opportunity for students to meet new people from a variety of backgrounds, attend an action packed and fun residential, be part of a social action project making a difference in the community; as well as learn new skills and grow in confidence. Further details can be found at This is available free charge to all students. Early applications are recommended.


Information on Work Permits and Work Experience

Guide to Child Employment

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