Educating your child at home
Most parents send their child to school, but you do have the right to educate your child at home. As a parent, you must ensure your child receives a full-time education from the age of five.
What’s required of you
The facts about home education are:
- you do not need to be a qualified teacher to educate your child at home
- your child is not obliged to follow the National Curriculum or take national tests, but as a parent you are required by law to ensure your child receives full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude
- any special educational needs your child may have must be recognised
- you do not need special permission from a school or local authority to educate your child at home, but you do need to notify the school in writing if you’re taking your child out of school
- you will need to notify the local authority if you are removing your child from a special school
- you do not need to observe school hours, days or terms
- you do not need to have a fixed timetable, nor give formal lessons
- there are no funds directly available from central government for parents who decide to educate their children at home
- some local authorities provide guidance for parents, including free National Curriculum materials
The role of your local authority
Local authorities can make informal enquiries of parents who are educating their children at home to establish that a suitable education is being provided. If your local authority makes an informal enquiry, you can provide evidence your child is receiving an efficient and suitable education by:
- writing a report
- providing samples of your child’s work
- inviting a local authority representative to your home, with or without your child being present
- meeting a local authority representative outside the home, with or without your child being present (representatives have no automatic right of access to your home)
If it appears to the local authority that a child is not receiving a suitable education, then it might serve a school attendance order.
Although you’re not legally required to inform your local authority when you decide to educate your child at home, it is helpful if you do so. The only exception to this is where your child is attending a special school under arrangements made by the local authority. In this case additional permission is required from the authority before the child’s name can be removed from the register.
If you are taking your child out of school to home educate them, you need to inform the school in writing. It’s advisable, but not compulsory, to inform your local authority of any significant changes in your circumstance relevant to your child’s education, like a change of address.
Find out more about home educating
Many local authorities have information online about educating your child at home. The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to the relevant page on your local authority’s website.