What is home schooling and how do I do it?

Home schooling has become the norm for many families during the pandemic. But you may also want to consider it as a longer-term approach. Here’s the key information you need to know about home schooling.

Two children filling in worksheets at a table

What is home schooling?

  • Home schooling is when a child is educated outside of the mainstream school system. Instead, a parent, guardian or private tutor teaches them.
  • Legally, all children must receive a full time education from the age of five.
  • Any child can be home schooled as long as they receive a full time education. You can home school either part time or full time.
  • You do not need to be a qualified teacher to educate your child at home. There are no home school qualifications required, either.
  • You do not have to follow the national curriculum. The council can make an “informal enquiry” to check what education your child is getting.

I want to start home schooling. How do I start?

When making a decision about home schooling, do lots of research to help inform your thinking. Read tips on how to approach it and look for online groups where other families can offer advice.

You can learn more about home schooling requirements from the government website. The Department for Education has guidance for parents looking to start home education. Education Otherwise offers help and advice for home schooling families.

Once you’ve reached a decision that you want to home school, this is what you’ll need to do:

  • Tell your child’s school that you plan to educate them at home. They may refuse if you are planning to home school part-time.
  • If you child is in school because of a School Attendance Order, you will need to contact your local authority. They will need to give you permission before you can start home education.
  • You will need to get permission from the local authority if your child attends a special educational needs (SEN) school.
  • This is not necessary if your child is in a mainstream school, even if they have an education, health and care plan (EHCP).
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