Please note: the information on this page only applies to home education in Wales and England.
As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5. Some people know from an early stage that they want to home educate their child while other parents send their child into the school system but later find that it doesn’t work for their them.
If you are not happy with the education and/or care your child receives at school and changing schools is not an option, you may wish to consider home education.
There are a number of reasons that parents and carers choose to home educate their child, such as:
- They feel more able to provide a suitable curriculum to meet their child’s needs
- Disability and Special Educational Needs
- Illness or other health reasons
- School phobia or school refusal
- Concerns about the school
- Religious reasons
- Can’t get a place in their school of choice
Home education is legal in all parts of the UK. However, the legislation is slightly different in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Please see the Education Otherwise website for more information.
The law states that you must provide ‘suitable education’ that is:
- efficient – it must achieve what it sets out to achieve;
- suitable – to the child’s age, ability and aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. The education must equip the child for life within the community and must not limit a child’s options in later life.
The law that applies to home education is section 7 of the Education Act which states, ‘Parents have a right to educate their children at home providing that they fulfil the requirements of Section 7 of the Education Act, 1996 which places a duty on the parents of every child of compulsory school age to cause him or her to receive efficient full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs that they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’.
Before you can home educate your child, there are certain things to be considered and procedures that will need following:
- If your child is registered at a school, you are required to inform the school or Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), that you wish to home educate your child. The head-teacher is then responsible for informing the Local Authority (LA)
- If your child attends a designated special school, you will need to inform the LA directly that you wish to home educate
- You do not need to hold any specific qualifications or be a teacher to home educate your child
- Although LAs have a responsibility to identify children who are missing education, there is no duty for the LA to monitor the home education of a child, though most may do so to some extent
- There is no requirement to follow the National Curriculum or to teach particular subjects, as long as you provide an education which is appropriate to your child’s needs
- There is no requirement for home educated children to sit exams although they are able to if you wish. If you wish your home educated child to sit exams, they would do so as an external candidate and a fee would be applicable.
More information can be found on the GOV.UK website
Education Otherwise is an organisation that can provide you with a wealth of information about home education and put you in touch with other parents who home educate their children.
Flexi Schooling describes an arrangement between the parent and school where children are registered at the school in the usual way but attend school only part time. The rest of the time the child is home educated.
There may be any of a number of reasons why parents may want to arrange flexi-schooling for their children, for example:
- A desire to home educate while making use of school for some subjects
- School Phobia/refusal
- A staged return to school after an absence for some reason
Whatever the reason, neither local authorities nor schools are likely to agree to such arrangements unless it is clear that it is in the child’s best interests.
If home education and flexi-schooling are not suitable for your child, you may wish to consider further alternatives:
- Red Balloon Learner Centres support young people who self-exclude from school and are missing education because of bullying or other trauma. They provide an academic and therapeutic programme to enable students to get back on track and reconnect with society.
- InterHigh School delivers a fully interactive, accredited British education to the comfort of your home or wherever you may be. Their unique online school offers the best in class, Key Stage 3, IGCSEs, AS and A level courses, delivered by an expert faculty.