Home Education & Homeschool Laws - Homeschooling

    Home Education & Homeschool Laws

    If you wish to educate your child at home, you may have some questions regarding any legal requirements or what you might need. To help you, we have provided answers to some of these home education questions below. There are many courses available with Oxford Home Schooling that your child can enrol on, ranging from Key Stage 3 to A Level. Take a look at our starter guide to see the requirements you will need to consider before starting your home schooling journey.

    Can I teach my child from home?

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    Yes. This is known as Elective Home Education (EHE) and it enables a child to be taught from home, rather than in a school environment.

    Under Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, parents should provide suitable full-time education:
    • to their age, ability and aptitude, and
    • to any special educational needs they may have,
    • either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

    Take a look at our overview of home schooling in the UK for further information on the first steps to take.

    Is it compulsory for a child to enter education?

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    Yes. Compulsory school age for a child is at 5 years old. From this time, you must ensure your child receives a full-time education; however, this does not have to be at school and can be from home.

    Your local council can make an informal enquiry to check if your child is receiving education at home. Inability to provide evidence of this can result in a school attendance order, mandating your child is registered at a local school within 15 days.

    Local authorities have no formal duty to monitor home education. However, under the 1996 Education Act, they have a statutory duty to establish the identities of children in their area who they believe are not receiving a suitable education. If an enquiry is made, you will need to provide evidence you are providing an education.  Methods of demonstrating this may include:

    • Writing a report
    • Providing samples of your child’s work
    • Inviting a local authority representative to your home, with or without your child being present
    • Meeting a local authority representative outside your home, with or without your child being present (representatives have no automatic right of access to your home)

    The Education and Inspections Act 2006 states that local authorities must make arrangements if they identify children who are not receiving suitable education.

    Do I have to follow a school curriculum?

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    No, your child can be taught from home using whatever style or structure suits your preference. Our breakdown of the different home schooling styles can help you decide on a study format right for you and your child.

    You do not have to follow the National Curriculum.

    What role does the child play in choosing home schooling?

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    It is natural to have a discussion with your child if you want to teach them from home. Whilst it is ultimately up to the parents to decide, the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) states that a child’s opinion must be taken into account and given weight in this decision.

    Local authorities may want to gain the view of the child and their preference for home schooling.

    What are common reasons for wanting to choose home schooling?

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    Parents may want to teach their children from home for various reasons, including:

    • Bullying of the child
    • Religious or ideological beliefs
    • Distance from nearest school
    • Unwillingness of child to attend school
    • Health
    • Special educational needs

    Do I need to inform the local authority of home schooling my child?

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    You are not legally obligated to inform your local authority if you wish to home school your child. It is however recommended, to ensure you can gain support if needed.

    Under the 1989 Children Act, local authorities have the right to gain contact with a child if they believe the child requires an education supervisor via court appeal, should their home education be deemed unsuitable.

    If my child is disabled, do I need to contact my local school or authority?

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    Yes, you must gain the permission of your local authority before home schooling if:

    • The child is attending a special needs school
    • This was arranged by the local authority

    If your child is attending a mainstream school, you do not need to gain permission to take your child out for home schooling.

    Can someone else teach my child at home?

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    Yes, you can either conduct the home schooling yourself or via a tutor in your own home.

    An appropriate tutor should have a recent DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate. Some local authorities can assist in this process; it is advisable to check with your local authority if this is the case for you.

    You may join Homeschooling Groups where other parents are involved in the teaching.

    You should however be extremely wary of sending your child to an unregistered school environment.  These are illegal and you would be deemed to be failing in your duty of care if you did so.

    What financial support can I receive for home schooling?

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    There is no legal support or legislation for financial support in home education; the parent assumes full financial responsibility.

    Local authorities can support in certain circumstances, including:

    • Curriculum materials
      Information for work experience opportunities
      Contact with a library to lend books

    We hope this information has helped answer some of the questions you may have had on the legalities of home schooling. Learn more about our courses or make an application today.

    Are there any upcoming changes to the laws regarding homeschooling

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    No, Not at present.  The Schools Bill, which would have introduced a compulsory register of homeschoolers, was withdrawn from the government’s legislative agenda on the 5th Dec 2022.

    There are not currently any plans to re-introduce this bill.