Home education FAQ

No, if you withdraw your child from school, the school has a duty to inform the local authority when de-registration takes place, at which point SHE will become aware that your child is home educated. If you do not register your child at school when he/she reaches statutory school age, but decide to home educate instead, you are not obliged to inform the local authority. However, you can, of course, contact the local authority if you wish to do so.

No, if you decide to home educate, you are not obliged by law to follow the National Curriculum. However, it is probably worth bearing in mind that it does provide a useful checklist of skills and knowledge which one would expect of a balanced curriculum. Furthermore, if you wish your child to enter or re-enter state education in the future, reintegration will be easier for them if you take into account the requirements of the National Curriculum.

Local colleges sometimes allow access to courses for home educated KS4 students. Home educated young people aged 14-16 in England are able to attend college part-time or full-time and the Government will pay for the course, however it is up to the colleges whether or not to admit under-16s. It is worth bearing in mind that your child is, of course, able to access further education provision, post-16, without additional costs. Also, it is important to be aware that if you de-register a child who is already attending a college course organised by his/her school, course fees will no longer be paid by the school.

Education Otherwise is a national organisation for home educators. It can help you to get in touch with other home educating families in your area, providing information about local groups and organised activities. Please see the Useful contacts for Home Educators page for more information.

You need to inform the school in writing. Your letter should state that you wish to de-register your child as you intend to educate him/her at home. The school have a responsibility to notify the Local Authority of any child who is being removed from their register to be home educated.

Some schools are willing to enter into a flexi-schooling arrangement with a family. However, this would be entirely at the discretion of the head teacher and governing body. If you are interested in the possibility of flexi-schooling your child, you need to contact the school in question in order to discuss this option. Please check with the Department of Education on the latest rules regarding flexi-schooling.

There is currently no local authority funding available for home educating families and therefore the responsibility for meeting the costs of your child's education – providing appropriate resources, opportunities for educational visits, access to activities with their peers and other adults and exam fees, for example – will be yours. This should, of course, be taken into consideration when deciding to home educate.

You should contact the County Council admissions team in order to discuss the process for making an application for a school place. Please bear in mind that the In-Year admission process may mean that you do not get a school place at your child’s previous school, nearest school or preferred school.

Parents/carers have the right to home educate a child with a statement of special educational needs or an Education Health Care plan. However, if your child is registered at a special school named in their statement or Education Health Care plan, they cannot be de-registered without the agreement of the local authority. The local authority has a duty to ensure that the needs identified in the statement are being met, to maintain the statement and to review it on an annual basis.

Under Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, it is the parents/carers’ duty ‘to cause (the child) to receive efficient, full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’.

SHE aims to offer a home visit from a member of the team within a few months of notification, in order to discuss the provision that you have made for your child's education and to support you by answering any queries that may have arisen since starting home education, offering information, advice and suggestions if required. However, as a home visit is not a legal requirement and may be unacceptable to you, a meeting could be arranged to take place at a different venue if preferred. Alternatively, a member of the SHE team will be happy to discuss your questions by telephone or email if you prefer.

Under Section 437 of the Education Act 1996, the local authority must satisfy itself that parents/carers are fulfilling their duties regarding their child's education. If evidence of this is not provided, either through meeting or written submission, the local authority may conclude that the child is not receiving a full-time, efficient and suitable education, and would therefore be required to follow the recommendations set out in the Government Home Education Guidelines 2.7 to 2.11 which may as a last resort end in the LA serving a School Attendance Order.

You are under no obligation to follow the National Curriculum however, as a local authority we feel you should aim to provide your child with a broad, balanced curriculum which caters for their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development. It is important to consider how you will develop your child's knowledge, understanding and skills, appropriate to their abilities and aptitude, as well as how you will incorporate regular opportunities for them to mix with and learn alongside their peers. Your child’s education should be sufficiently challenging so that he/she is able to make progress, and should ultimately help him/her to prepare for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.