I've answered some questions that are commonly asked regarding home education. I have also listed some recommended websites below that you can go to for further information on home education.
What is Home Education?
Home education is the education that you provide your child whilst at home. Most parents are already home educating their child. For example; when they take them to after school clubs, help them with homework or simply talk to them about life. However, this is not the same as home education as they attend a school during the day, so the school is responsible for their learning. Elective Home Education is where parents have chosen to take full responsibility for their child’s education, so they do not attend a school during the day.
Do I need to be a teacher to home educate?
No, you do not need to be a teacher to home educate your child.
Am I legally allowed to home educate?
Yes, home education and school education are both legal options for education and both have the same legal status in England. Although it is legal around the UK, different rules may apply for each country. We are only referring to England in the article.
Can I be forced to home educate?
You cannot be forced into it and must make the choice yourself. It has been reported that some schools are “off-rolling” which is where a school may advise parents to home educate instead of formally excluding them. However, this cannot be done without the consent of parents. The local authority has a duty to provide a school place for parents if the child is on their register and if the parents want them to attend a school.
Can I home educate part time?
This is known as Flexi-schooling and is where a child attends school part time and is taught at home part time. This must be arranged with the headteacher. Flexi-schooled children are enrolled in a school in the same way as other schooled children and must therefore follow the national curriculum. This is therefore not the same as home education as parents do not take on ‘full’ responsibility for their child’s education.
How do I start home schooling?
If your child already attends school, you will need to de-register them which is where you tell the headteacher (preferably in writing) that your child will no longer be attending school and that you will be taking full responsibility for their learning. They are then deleted from the school register and she will be contacted by the Local authority about the provision hat you will be providing.
If your child has never attended school, you do no need to do anything although you may still be contacted by the Local Authority. Also, If you have applied and been offered a school place; you will need to formally de-register them in the same way that you would if they were already attending school.
With every rule; there is an exemption and if there are any court orders in place for your child; it is best to seek legal advice before starting the de registration process. If your child has a statement of education, you may need to get permission to home educate your child so contact your Local Education Authority.
I am a single parent and my ex-partner does not agree, what can I do?
Either one of you can send in the de-registration letter but at the same time either one of you can challenge the other parent’s decision and re-register the child. This is not ideal or in the best interest of the child. If it does go to court, it is likely that the child will be ordered back to school.
My child is 16, can I home educate them?
You can home educate your child between the ages of 16 – 18 and they should still get child benefit but please check before doing so.
Is there any financial help?
There is no financial help available for home educators from the LA. We managed to get a childminding card from the library which allowed extending borrowing and have found home education groups that offer discounts for a variety of things. Please see the discount section of our website for further support.
Will I be monitored?
There is nothing in law to say that you should be monitored for home educating your child. However, it is common to be contacted at least once a year. In recent years there has been talk of a register and the government is currently (2019) growing more and more concerned about the amount of families home educating so the LEA may attempt to monitored in a more detailed way. They will contact you and it is good practise to respond to their questions, but you only need to show that you are providing a good education. They do not have any right to enter your home and you can ask to meet in a mutual place other than your home unless you are happy to let them in.
Do I have to follow the National Curriculum?
You do not need to follow the National Curriculum and you have the power to decide what you will teach your child. The Local Authority may try to suggest that you follow the same timings that they used at school i.e. allocated hours for P.E, breaking your child’s learning into subjects etc. You do not need to follow the National Curriculum but can do so if you please or may decide on an alternative curriculum. The term 'full time' has never been defined in law and many home educators say they educate all the time. You can choose to take exams and can arrange these privately.
These are some of the question that we are often asked but if you have more it may be worthwhile visiting one of these sites?