Educating your child at home
Education is compulsory for all children of statutory school age. However, parents may exercise their right to home educate their children instead. The decision to educate a child at home may be a valid education choice, but is one which should not be taken lightly.
There are a number of very positive reasons why parents elect to home educate. A particular philosophy, the desire to hone a talent or the child has or to help foster a particular lifestyle.
Some of the other reasons include conflicts with the school or negative experiences for the child or parents. In many situations such conflicts can be resolved with clear communication between the home and school. Where children have special educational, behavioural or social needs particular consideration should be given to how such needs can be met.
Bearing in mind that every child and every parent is different, talking to other parents who home educate can also help to get an insight into what home education entails.
If you are considering home education for your child, please think it through carefully and discuss it with the local authority. There are trained and experienced teachers who can help advise you.
If you are considering home education, the following points will provide some general guidance.
The decision on how to educate a child is the responsibility of the parents/ guardian, this is defined under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996.
Home educators do not have to follow the national curriculum or keep to school hours but they must ensure the child is given full-time education that is effective and suitable for that child, taking in consideration their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs.
If the child is currently enrolled in a school, the parents/guardian must inform the school in writing that they intend to remove their child and will be providing education at home. If the child has not yet started school, the parents/ guardians have no legal obligation to inform the Local Authority (LA) of their intention to home educate but it is advisable to do so. It is also helpful to keep LA informed of any major changes in circumstances such as any change of address.
If the LA suspects that a child who is of compulsory school age is not receiving education that is full-time or suitable to their requirements, whether this is at a school, home or by any other means, a notice will be served on the parents/ guardian requesting them to provide evidence that their child is receiving adequate education, if this cannot be achieved a school attendance order may be issued.
The LA is not able to provide parents/ guardians with any grants or funds to help provide home education. It will wherever possible provide advice and guidance.
The QCA maintains and developes the national curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.