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Home education

Home education or home schooling is an option for parents who either choose not to, or are unable to educate their child at school.

Although there is a duty on parents to ensure that any child of compulsory school age in their care receives a suitable education, home-schooling is a legal alternative to ensuring regular attendance at school.

This can be done without the consent of the school or local authority (LA) except where your child attends a special school under a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Even then, the school may give consent for the child to be withdrawn from the register if it is judged to be in their best interests.

The government has issued guidance on home-educating children which states, “Parents who choose to educate their children at home must be prepared to assume full financial responsibility, including bearing the cost of any public examinations.”

According to government guidance, LAs should provide written information and website links for home educating parents that are clear and accurate and which set out the legal position, and parental roles and responsibilities, in an unambiguous way. This includes contact details for home education support organisations.

Do I need to teach my home-educated child the national curriculum?

The government sets out the broad requirements of the basis of home-school education, including that it is:

  • full-time
  • efficient
  • suitable to age, ability, aptitude and any SEN considerations.

Parents home-schooling their children are not required to follow the national curriculum, but they do need to ensure their child receives a broad and balanced education. 

Others parents may choose to teach the National Curriculum. The associated tests and assessment arrangements are developed and administered by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Find out more details about this on the QCA website.

If I home-school my child, will Ofsted inspect me?

Parents/home-educators are not inspected by Ofsted. There are no regulations on the facilities required. There is no obligation to stick to an established timetable or term times, giving parents a lot of flexibility. See Child Law Advice for more.

Reviewed: February 2018

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