For Home Educators
Is it legal to educate my child outside of state school?
Absolutely. Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996:
The Parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable;
To his age, ability and aptitude
To any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
You are not required to follow the National Curriculum (though some home educators choose to follow elements of it along the way) or sit exams.
Do I need to be a teacher or have formal qualifications?
No. To home educate your children is a legal right as cited above and there are no conditions other than stated: that the educational provision be efficient, full time and suitable.
Teaching children from home is quite different to a school classroom, being often a case of facilitating a child’s self-directed learning rather than formal instruction.
At first, you might feel nervous about the responsibility and confused about how to approach your children’s educational needs. This is a common experience.
Being a member of a support group can be invaluable for sharing philosophies and approaches with other home-educating families to increase confidence and conviction!
Do I need permission from the school or Local Authority?
If your child has not begun school, you do not need permission from any official body to choose home education for your child.
If you wish to begin home-educating a child who is currently is school you will need to submit a written letter to the school in question to inform them of your decision and requesting that they remove your child’s name from the school register. This is the de-registration process. The school, on receipt of your letter, is obliged to contact the local authority (LA) to inform them of your decision.
(Be aware that if your remove your child from school without deregistering as above this could be seen as truancy and may result in the school issuing an attendance order.)
Special Educational Needs or SEN:
If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and is registered at a mainstream school, as well as informing the head teacher of the school it would be helpful to inform the LA SEN team to ask for the plan to be updated.
If your child has an EHCP and attends a special school, their name remains on the register until the SEN team are satisfied that the educational provision you have planned will meet the child’s special educational needs, whereupon your child’s EHCP will be adjusted accordingly.