Education is compulsory - school is optional

FAQs

What about socialisation?

Rather than spending weekdays competing with twenty-five other human beings of their own age, in a natural community children spend their daily lives with old people, babies, and everyone in between. They do not compete, but learn to search out the needs of others and to help them live and learn. Interacting in a mixed age group and the habit of teaching, learning from and helping others are natural to home education.

How can I find other home educators in my area?

See our home 'Local Groups' page, listed in the main menu. Members of Education Otherwise are allocated an EO local contact, and receive a contact list of other EO members.

Do I have to provide infromation to the Local Authority annually?

There is nothing in English law that says the parent is required to provide information on an annual basis, though the Welsh Guidelines recommend that the LA contacts the family annually with a request for updated information. The practice throughout England and Wales is extremely variable. However, many local authorities will wish to make annual visits to the family home or will ask the parents for a written report. See our pages on HE and the law for more information.

There is nothing in the law which mandates annual contact, but nor is it expressly disallowed by law. Please read our pages on Children Missing Education and School Attendance Orders for more background information on the local authority's duties in law.

Do I have to wait for approval before I can start home educating?

No. In England and Wales you do NOT have to have your home education approved. Please read our page on deregistering a child from school, listed in the main menu. However, parents of children with special needs should read our SEN pages, since the local authority will have to give consent to removing a child from a special school.

Do I have to allow a representative of the Local Authority to access my home or child?

The local authority has no automatic right of access to your home or to your children simply because you are home educating.

Will the Local Authority monitor the education we provide?

It is likely the local authority will want to know what educational provision is being made for your child. Local authorities have no legal duty to monitor and supervise your home education, but they do have a duty to identify children not receiving education.

If you receive a request for more information about how you are home educating, you can legally respond in a number of ways for example by filling in a form or writing a report or by talking to someone from the local authority. See 'Writing an Ed. Phil.' in the main menu for more information on the responses you can make to your Local Authority's enquiries.

Do I have to follow the National Curriculum?

Home educating families are not required to follow the National Curriculum, or any other curriculum or educational system.

Do I have to be a qualified teacher to educate my child at home?

You do not have to have any formal qualifications in order to educate your child at home. As a parent, you have been educating your child from day one.

What do I have to do if I want to withdraw my child from school?

For children who are registered pupils at a state school, in cases where the parents wish to home educate, the law requires the parent to send a written request to the proprietor to remove the child's name from the school roll. Choose 'Deregistration' from the main menu to learn more about withdrawing your child from school.

Who do parents have to tell if they are beginning home education?

If a child has never been in school, there is no legal duty for the parent to inform anyone in authority about home education once the child reaches the age of 5.

How many children are home educated in England and Wales?

Local authorities in England and Wales know of around 20,000 home educated children. It is estimated that at least the same number are currently not officially known to the authorities, making a total of at least 40,000 home educated children in England and Wales.