Over the past three years, the numbers of home-schooled children in the UK has grown substantially to an estimated 60,000 – almost double the 34,000 estimate recorded in 2015.
Is Home Education legal in the UK (England and Wales)?
Most people living in the UK has the right to take full responsibility for their child’s education.
There are two exceptions where you would need to seek permission in order to home school.
1. If your child is subject to a school attendance order which is issued when the local authority is unsatisfied with the education being provided at home.
2. If your child has special needs you will need to be granted permission by your Local Authority to home educate.
Any refusal must give valid and specific reasons and can be challenged in court if deemed unfair.
What do I need to do to start home schooling my child?
If your children have never been in school then you don’t currently need to inform anyone of your intention to home school.
However, if your child is already registered at school you will need to send a brief letter stating that you wish for their name to be removed from the register.
You under no obligation to justify your decision or detail how you will go about educating your child but you can do if you want to.
Example school de-registration letter:
Re: (your child’s name & date of birth)
After careful consideration we are withdrawing our son/daughterfrom school in order to home educate in accordance with Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.
Please remove his/her name from the school register as from date in accordance with the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulation 2005 section 9(1)(c) for mainstream schools (Wales) OREducation (Pupil Registration) Regulation 2016 section 8(1)(d) for mainstream schools (England).
Please confirm in writing that you have received this letter and that my child’s name has been removed from the school register.
Can I home school if my ex-partner objects?
A person named on the child’s birth certificate has parental responsibility for the named child.
Having parental responsibility means that either parent can send in a de-registration letter without actually needing the other parent’s consent.
However, it also means that the other parent can choose take the parent to court if they disagree with the decision to home school.
Court cases are likely to be expensive and stressful so it’s probably best to avoid them if possible by discussing your wishes with the ex-partner before to de-registering your child from school.
Do I have to meet with someone from the Local Authority if I home educate?
In 2006 local authorities were given additional powers to be able to insist on seeing children in order to inquire about their welfare only if there are grounds for concern.
However, this does not mean that the LA can insist on a home visit in order to establish whether or not your child is receiving an adequate education.
You have the right to refuse a home visit unless the Local Authority has due cause for concern e.g. this would usually mean somebody has reported a concern to the Local Authority.
It’s entirely up to you how you choose to respond.
Personally, I think it’s best to stay polite and give some information about our education principles and activities.
Whether you allow a meeting will probably depend on your child (especially if your child may become anxious about meeting) and your relationship with your Local Authority.
Do I need qualifications to home school my child?
You don’t need any specific qualifications to home school your child.
I’m was a teacher but have chosen not to teach to the curriculum as I believe that learning should be far more organic.
Take some time to figure out what suits you and your children.
Visit our Resources section if you want some free materials for teaching about well-being, self esteem and other issues.
If you’re interested to know what your child would be learning in a school in England or Wales then the National Curriculum will provide an overview:
The Curriculum in Wales:
National Curriculum for England:
The law regarding home education
Home Education in England an Wales
What the law says…
In England Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 says: ‘The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable
a) to his age ability and aptitude, and
b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise.’
“Otherwise” refers to a parents right to choose to home educate.
Home Education specific to Wales
In Wales the basic law regarding Education remains the same as in England (see above 1996 Education Act).
However, things are slightly different in Wales due to Education being a devolved power.
There are also likely to be more differences between home educating in England and Wales as new guidance comes into force.
You can read more here:
I hope this post “Can you home school in UK?” has helped to answer your questions.