FAQs

Please note that the following do not follow any particular order as the list is haphazardly updated:

1. Is Home Education (HE) legal in the UK? Yes, it is.

2. If HE is legal, why do parents of truants get prosecuted? If parents decide to send their child to school, they must subscribe and agree to the rules and regulations governing their choice. One of those rules stipulates that the child must attend school regularly, unless permitted by the school authority to take time off.

3. How do I start home educating my child? All you need to do is inform the school of your decision in writing. The school will inform the Local Education Authority (LEA).

4. My child is in special school, does the same as 3 above apply? No. Depending on your child’s condition, the LEA may refuse your request if they believe the child’s needs will not be met at home. However, your request cannot be refused on unreasonable grounds.

5. Are HE families entitled to financial support? No but look through Fiona’s Ed Yourself website for exceptional cases.

6. Do I need to follow a set syllabus or the National Curriculum? No but if you wish to follow what schools follow, the link to the National Curriculum is here.

7. What about examinations such as GCSEs? Home Educated kids can sit GCSEs and/or IGCSEs as external candidates at authorised examinations centres. There are fees attached and you will need to check with your local centre. There is a dedicated HE Exams forum with answers to a variety of GCSE/IGCSE-related questions. The link is here. For alternatives, see 17 below.

8. Do I need a private tutor? No, and you do not need to be a qualified teacher to home educate.

9. Where and how can I meet other families? Come along to a social group meeting as there are always many families in attendance. Once you are actively home educating, you may also want to join a number of online HE forums to get news of regular and ad-hoc events. There are lots of discounted events and trips available to HE families.

10. What happens if I am not unable to cope? You don’t know until you’ve tried. One of the good things about HE is that you can send your child (back) to school when and if you choose to do so. Flexi-schooling is also an option though not all schools subscribe to this.

11. What about university? A sizeable number of home educated kids are pursuing degrees in universities. See 7 above and 17 below.

12. Are HE families monitored? Some LEAs perform annual reviews, others don’t. There is no legal requirement for LAs to perform reviews or monitor HE families.

13. Are HE families reported to the Social Services by the LEA? No, there is no legal requirement to do so.

14. Where can I find the legal guidelines relating to HE? This document gives the comprehensive guidelines that LAs should take on board. Please read and keep it. Article 2, Protocol 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights states in part that “…the state shall respect the right of parents to ensure..education in conformity to their own…philosophical convictions.” The link to the Protocols is here.

15. Can a working parent home-educate? Yes. I work as a self employed accountant and home educate my two sons. I also happen to be single with no family member to call on for any level of help. Zero help. Nada. If I can single-handedly do it, anyone can.

16. Do I need a Home Education ID card to get discounted entry rates to attractions? No, you don’t. You may, however, need to pre-book. Don’t forget to let them know that you home educate.

17. My child is approaching teen years or is a teenager; are there other options for this age group? Yes, children aged 14 and above can enrol on the fully funded 14-19 college schemes and study towards exams. Ask at your local college. Another option is enrolment with a UTC (university technical college). There are a number of these springing up all over the country but be aware that they only offer technical and science subjects. UTCs are backed by multinational companies and offer students the opportunities to prepare for, and sit exams (GCSEs and A-Levels) towards, university admission, or obtain practical skills required for employment and/or apprenticeships in technical fields. There is a dedicated Facebook Page for those interested in exploring UTCs. If the link doesn’t work, search for ‘Home Ed – Exploring UTCs’ on Facebook.

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