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Home education guidelines

The National Curriculum

Although the National Curriculum does not apply to children educated at home, it does provide a useful checklist of skills and knowledge which one would expect of a balanced curriculum.

You may wish your child to enter or re-enter a local-authority-maintained school at some point in the future and re-integration will be easier if you take the requirements of the National Curriculum into account.

Academies are publicly funded schools which operate outside of local authority control. They are described as independent state-funded schools and they do not have to follow the national curriculum. They can choose their own curriculum, as long as it is "broad and balanced".

Whether you choose to follow a curriculum or not, the local authority will expect your provision to: be broad and balanced, promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development as with any child within society prepare children for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

It is important for your child to mix with other boys, girls and adults to learn from, and with them. There are many home education groups in Norfolk which are organised and run by home education families.

The National Curriculum covers the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. Other subjects include history, geography, languages, art and design, music, physical education, citizenship, computing and design and technology.

Pupils are divided into key stages:

  • Key stage 1: ages 5 to 7, year group 1 to 2
  • Key stage 2: ages 7 to 11, year group 3 to 6
  • Key stage 3: ages 11 to 14, year group 7 to 9
  • Key stage 4: ages 14 to 16, year group 10 to 11

Unless the family has philosophic, medical or religious reasons for not doing so, a broad balanced curriculum should include personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) outdoor and environmental education, work experience (KS4) and careers advice.

A parent’s provision should cater for the child’s physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual development and be broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated. It should be:

  • Broad: It should introduce the child to a wide range of knowledge, understanding and skills
  • Balanced: Each part should be allotted sufficient time to make its special contribution, but not so much that it squeezes out other essential parts of learning
  • Relevant: Subjects or topics should be learnt so as to bring out their application to the child’s own experience, to adult life and to give due emphasis to practical aspects
  • Differentiated: Home education needs to be matched to the child’s abilities and aptitude. It should also be sufficiently challenging so that a child can show that some progress is being made.

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