Despite what some people believe, homeschooling is a perfectly viable option for parents and children in the UK. That being said, it isn’t always clear what’s involved in home education, how to remove your child from school, and who you need to notify.
To help demystify the process, here’s what you need to know before making the homeschooling transition.
Who do you have to notify if you want to homeschool in England?
If your child isn’t enrolled at a school and hasn’t been offered a place at one, you don’t need to notify anyone that you’ll be homeschooling.
Is your child is already enrolled at a school? Then you will need to notify the headteacher to ask for their name to be removed from the register. They won’t be able to stop you from taking your child out of school. They are, however, able to decline requests to flexi-school your children, which means adopting a part-time home education, part-time school hybrid.
If your child isn’t at school yet but has been offered a place they won’t be taking, you’ll need to remove their name from the register by contacting your local authority (there is usually just a simple form to fill out).
Learn more about the homeschooling law in the UK.
What if my child has special educational needs?
Things work a little differently if your child has special education needs. If they have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, you’ll need to notify your local council if you intend to homeschool — even if your child is at a mainstream school or hasn’t yet started school. If your child attends a special school, you’ll also need permission from your local authority.
With an EHC plan, the council has an obligation to inspect your child’s educational arrangements each year. This is not the case if your child doesn’t have an EHC plan.
Why do you need to inform your local council in this instance?
The council is interested in ensuring that your child’s needs are being met. Plus, as you might be able to access assistance with teaching at home, they can provide you with useful information.
Do you need special qualifications to homeschool your children?
No. You don’t need to be a teacher or have educational qualifications to educate your children at home. Some parents will feel concerned that they don’t have the knowledge to teach their child all subjects and to the highest level. However, there are plenty of resources, such as online schools, correspondence courses, and parent-organised groups, that can offer support.
Experienced tutors can be an invaluable resource for helping your child in areas beyond your expertise. You can arrange sessions (online or in-person) as and when your child needs a little extra support.
Do I need to follow the national curriculum?
No. You don’t need to teach your children the national curriculum. They also don’t need to sit exams like SATs, GCSEs, and A-Levels.
You must ensure your child is still receiving a suitable full-time education. However, the content you cover, who is teaching your children, and whether you stick to standard school day and term times is up to you.
How does inspection work?
While there is no legal requirement for home educating families to receive inspections, some local authorities monitor home educated children through yearly or one-off home visits.
The council can still make an informal enquiry if they have any concerns, which you have a right to reject if you don’t want them to monitor you. However, should they have particularly strong concerns about your child’s education or welfare, they can still issue a School Attendance Order.
Get support from Threshold Education
At Threshold Education, we can work with you to ensure that your child receives the best possible homeschooled education. We’ll match your child with the perfect tutor who will devise a bespoke homeschooling programme. Get in touch to learn more.
Are you and your child currently transitioning from school to homeschooling? Take a look at our homeschooling tips.