Home Education Blog

What is Home Education?

Put simply, Home Education is when parents or guardians decide to remove their child from, or not start their child in, a school education and take over the responsibility for their child’s education themselves.

“Is it legal?”

Yes. The government states: “As parents, you – not the state – are responsible for ensuring that your child, if he or she is of compulsory school age, is properly educated. Despite the term ‘compulsory school age’, education does not have to be undertaken through attendance at school…”

You, as parent/guardians are then free to decide what your child learns, how they learn, where they learn and who teaches them. Basically there is no fixed curriculum – you decide!

“So can I remove my child from school and do nothing with them?”

No. Although there is no legislation that deals with Home Education as a specific approach, the Government states: “Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states 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) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

As a special note I want to make sure you know that from the very first day you take on the responsibility to Home Educate, your child must be learning full time. Some people will say you can ‘do nothing’ or de-school for a time but this is not acceptable should a Local Authority inspector ask you what your plan is. However, whatever you are doing with your child actually can be counted in some way as education, it doesn’t mean they have to be sat in front of a pile of books all day. If they help you cook a meal, that has many educational elements as well as life skills. If they help you do the food shopping that counts as an educational opportunity if you give them the chance to calculate the budget for example.

Your child will be learning all the time in one way or another, a suitable education does not mean just ‘book’ learning.

“Will I get funding?”

Unfortunately no, the Government is no longer financially responsible either so all costs must be met by the parents. The parents must commit to ensuring their child receives a full time education that results in the child making progress appropriate for their age and ability taking into account any special educational needs.

The link below takes you to the UK Government’s Department for Education guidance document that explains the law. Please don’t be daunted by the legal wording it is actually a very simple process that can be immensely rewarding and successful for both parent and child.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791528/EHE_guidance_for_parentsafterconsultationv2.2.pdf

Why Home Educate?

Why not! There are numerous different reasons why families choose to Home Educate their children.

Every Home Educator’s decision is different

People Home Educate for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Disillusion with the school system
  • Bullying in school
  • Religious beliefs
  • Political reasons
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Many, many, more….

There is no ‘one reason’ why parents/guardians decide to Home Educate, you will find people from all walks of life. each with their own reason. 

You are in control

For example, you may be a professional who wants your child to follow in your footsteps, or maybe, you think the school system does not devote enough time to Maths, or Chemistry, or Physical Education…
Whatever it is that you and your child want, with Home Education YOU are able to pick and choose what they learn. This could be in the format of tutors, online learning or you teaching them. However be aware, there may be no support from your Local Authority.

If your child is finding school stressful and is not coping

If your child is being bullied or has anxiety or stress at school and you have tried everything to solve the problem, Home Education may be a solution. 

How does Home Education work?

Debbie’s thoughts….

Its entirely up to you and your child to decide how to Home Educate, there is no right or wrong way to do it. I have found that the way we Home Educate as a family is constantly changing, as you try things you can continually adapt to what suits your family.

I found Home Education evolves as you go along. I realised quite quickly that rigid timetables did not work for us, we are very flexible in our days. During primary years we went on numerous outings and trips all over the place. There was lots of learning ‘by doing’ or by attending workshops, exhibitions, talks, museums and similar.

I soon realised that it was completely pointless to force my children to do work books when they were tired so formal learning was a very small part of our day, usually no more than an hour. However if they became engrossed and wanted to continue for interest in which case they may work on a project for a number of days!

What worked for us….

I was aware of the need to ensure I covered the basics like Maths and English so we always had workbooks for those. We also did lots of online learning through numerous different educational websites and apps. By far the most successful one that we used for the longest time was ConquerMaths. It covers all the Maths needed for every age, my son even used it for some A level work. See the following link if you would like to buy an annual subscription for ConquerMaths with fantastic discount for Home Educators of 59% which is a great help, go HERE

I believe the key to successful Home Education for us has been to have lots of fun. To enjoy being together and learning important life skills like how to get along with each other and cooperate, be compassionate and respectful of other people’s needs.  

My children have been very much involved in everything that goes on in our house. We always discuss and explain things that are happening. They understand about family finances, why we pay tax, how the UK Government works and why we vote. Basically everything we deal with, they are involved in to some extent. This has given them great general knowledge.

Where to start with Home Education?

Don’t Panic!

It’s not as frightening as it first seems. If your child has a school place or is attending a school your first step is to write a deregistration letter addressed to the Head Teacher informing them that you have chosen to Home Educate your child from a certain date and asking them to ensure the child’s name is withdrawn from the school role. 

The school can not refuse, they have to remove your child from the school role and can not insist you attend a meeting or delay the process in anyway. Always get a receipt if you hand deliver the letter or post by registered mail so you can prove they received your letter. Keep copies of all correspondence including any text messages.  

The school will lose funding

Beware of a school asking you to wait until after a certain date as that maybe a way of ensuring they still receive the funding for your child’s place. You do not have to agree to this, you can remove your child at any time. 

Special Educational Needs (SEN) & EHCP

The deregistration process is more complicated if your child has Special Educational needs and has an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan). There are Facebook groups to help and support you under these circumstances. 

Further Assistance

Click HERE for a Home Education deregistration letter template (opens in a new window). Go to File | Download to download the file in your favourite format.