|Is it legal?
|YES – it is the parent’s duty to ensure that the child receives a proper education (Education Act 1996, Section 7; Education (Scotland) Act 1980, section 30; Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, Article 45). Children of all ages can learn at home.
|Do I have to inform the local authority?
|NO – if your child has never been registered at a state school (or if you move to an area served by another LA) you are not obliged to notify the LA, although you may do so if you wish. If you are taking your child out of a state school in England or Wales the head teacher must remove the child’s name from the register and inform the LA.
YES – if you are withdrawing your child from a state school in Scotland.
|Are any grants available for home education?
|NO – home educators are in a similar position to people who send their children to private schools – there is no funding available to support them. In some areas charitable trusts may exist which might make awards to families who meet specific criteria, for example, if a child has special educational needs. You will need to check the register of charities at your local library.
|Do I have to follow the national curriculum?
|NO – the national curriculum does not apply to children who learn at home.
|Will my child have to take tests at the key stages?
|NO – formal testing is not required. The local authority may ask for information informally. They have no statutory duty to monitor the quality of home education on a routine basis.
|Can a child with an Education, Health and Care plan be educated at home?
|YES – the LA has a duty to have regard to ‘the views, wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parent, or the young person’ (Children and Families Act 2014, section 19(a)). Section 10.30 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years states:
‘Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 parents have the right to educate children, including children with SEN, at home. Home education must be suitable to the child’s age, ability, aptitude and SEN.’
|Is home education costly?
|NO – you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. In some areas you can borrow equipment from the local education resource centre. Many families teach at home successfully on a low income.
|Can GCSEs be taken at home?
|YES – some young people enter as private candidates or arrange for part-time attendance at further education college to study for GCSEs. Others use correspondence courses.
|Aren’t the children deprived of a social life?
|NO – in many areas home educators meet together regularly for social and educational activities, and the children also attend clubs, classes, sporting and leisure activities in the community. The children mix with people of all ages as well as their peers.
|Do I have to be a teacher?
|NO – enthusiasm and commitment are needed, not qualifications. Many parents learn alongside their children, so the whole family benefits from the experience.
|Can you study science at home?
|YES – much of today’s science is geared to real-life situations using equipment that is easily available at home. And even the most up-to-date school laboratory can’t split the atom!
|I want to talk to someone who is home educating. Can you put me in touch?
|NO – however, most home educating groups can now be found on Facebook. Search for home education along with the county or large towns nearest to where you live.