Education is compulsory - school is optional

Why do people choose to home educate their child(ren)?

A smiling boy lying on grassSome families make a carefully considered decision to home educate long before their child reaches "school age." There may be philosophical, religious or various other reasons for their choice, and ultimately they feel that in some way they can offer a more suitable education for their children at home. It is also a natural choice for parents who have enjoyed participating in their child's early learning and see no reason to give up this responsibility when the child reaches the age of five.

Other parents send their child into the school system, but later find that school does not work for their child. School does not suit everyone. Sometimes children may find it hard to "fit in"; some children have special needs; some children face bullying and may become very anxious and distressed.

Children may find that school does not suit their particular way of learning, so parents who become unhappy with the education which is provided in schools may also decide to home educate. Many parents feel they are better able to cater for their child's individual needs at home.

Only you and your family can make this decision, but it can be very helpful to talk to other families with experience of home education who may share the same problems and concerns.

Membership of Education Otherwise gives you the opportunity to meet other home-educating members, as well as offering a range of information and ideas to enable you to make an informed choice based on the individual circumstances of your family. In the Members Forum you will find a broad spectrum of home educators from all areas of the country and with a variety of different perspectives and experience.

There are as many reasons for this as there are families doing it. Here are a few of them: children’s ill health; unhappiness, loss of a 'childhood', bullying, children turning into unrecognisable aliens! Poor academic achievement despite intelligence; lack of support for learners’ needs; lack of respect for children - their personalities and gifts; the increasing stress of testing and attainment targets; poor interaction with others in schools - both children and teachers alike; narrowing of the curriculum; intense pressure; unreasonable expectation put upon children and teenagers. 

In general; miserable, stressed, switched off kids. And the deep inherent feeling in parents that surely there has to be another way.

Surely a successful life in the real world after school years is not dependent on this!

You’ll be glad to know, it isn’t!

To put some other worries at rest; educating out of school is legal, you don’t have to be a teacher, your kids do make friends, there is support, you will not be alone or the only ones, children do learn, and finally home educating does work!

Ross Mountney - Learning Without School


Education Otherwise frequently receives enquiries from parents about home education, often relating to how they should engage with their local authority. This has been particularly concerning for parents since the publication of the Elective Home Education Departmental Guidance for Local Authorities (EHEDGLA), in April 2019.

Education Otherwise, in conjunction with the Centre for Personalised Education charity, has obtained advice from a Queen's Counsel (or QC, a title given to a senior barrister) in order to help us provide accurate information to parents. The QC we instructed specialises in public law and education law, and is a former part-time Chair of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, and a current member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's panel of counsel. The QC also trains lawyers and others in education and public law.

Education Otherwise is revising its information in line with the advice received from the QC. The revised information will be posted on the website when ready. In the meantime, but also as a matter of good practice, parents should of course always obtain their own legal advice if they have concerns over any issues.