Frequently asked questions

I have taken this from the Home Education Advisory Service website as I found it very helpful in those early days of our decision making.

More information that I have found to be very helpful can be found at:





Is it legal?

YES – it is the parent’s duty to ensure that the child receives a proper education (Education Act 1996, Section 7; Education (Scotland) Act 1980, section 30; Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, Article 45). Children of all ages can learn at home.

Do I have to inform the local authority?

NO – if your child has never been registered at a state school (or if you move to an area served by another LA) you are not obliged to notify the LA, although you may do so if you wish. If you are taking your child out of a state school in England or Wales the head teacher must remove the child’s name from the register and inform the LA.

YES – if you are withdrawing your child from a state school in Scotland.

Are any grants available for home education?

NO – home educators are in a similar position to people who send their children to private schools – there is no funding available to support them. In some areas charitable trusts may exist which might make awards to families that meet specific criteria, e.g. if a child has special educational needs. You will need to check the register of charities at your local library.

Do I have to follow the National Curriculum?

NO – the national curriculum does not apply to children who learn at home.

Will my child have to take tests at the Key Stages?

NO – formal testing is not required. The local authority may ask for information informally. They have no statutory duty to monitor the quality of home education on a routine basis.

Can a child with a Statement of Special Educational Needs be educated at home?

YES – under S324 of the Education Act 1996 the local authority must make provision for the child’s special educational needs unless the parent has made “suitable arrangements” at home. Scotland and N. Ireland: similar provisions apply.

Is home education costly?

NO – you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. In some areas you can borrow equipment from the local education resource centre. Many single parents teach at home successfully on Income Support.

Can GCSEs be taken at home?

YES – some young people enter as private candidates or arrange for part-time attendance at Further Education College to study for GCSEs. Others use correspondence courses.

Aren’t the children deprived of a social life?

NO – in many areas home educators meet together regularly for social and educational activities, and the children also attend clubs, classes, sporting and leisure activities in the community. The children mix with people of all ages as well as their peers.

Do I have to be a teacher?

NO – enthusiasm and commitment are needed, not qualifications. Many parents learn alongside their children, so the whole family benefits from the experience.

Can you study science at home?

YES – much of today’s science is geared to real-life situations using equipment that is easily available at home. And even the most up-to-date school laboratory can’t split the atom!

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