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.