Advice for parents

Home education

Please note: the information on this page only applies to home education in England and Wales.

If you are dissatisfied with the care and/or education your child receives at school, and changing to another school is not an option, you may wish to consider home education. There are many reasons that parents and carers may choose to educate their child at home, for example:

  • Bullying;
  • They feel that they are able to provide a more suitable curriculum to meet their child's individual needs;
  • Special educational needs and disability;
  • Illness or other health reasons;
  • School refusal or phobia;
  • Concerns about the school or curriculum.

Legal rights

Home education is legal in all parts of the UK. However, the legislation is slightly different in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Please see the Education Otherwise website for more information.

In England and Wales, home education is given equal status with schools under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which states: 'The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable a) to his age ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise.'

More information can be found on the GOV.UK website

Procedures and considerations

Before you can home educate your child, there are certain things to be considered and procedures that will need following: 

  • You will need to inform your child's current school or Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), if applicable. The head teacher is then responsible for informing the Local Authority (LA).
  • You will only need to inform the LA directly that you wish to home educate if your child attends a designated special school.
  • You do not need to be a teacher or hold any specific qualifications.
  • There is no duty for the LA to monitor the provision of home education for a child, though most will do so to some extent. 
  • There is no requirement to follow the National Curriculum or to teach particular subjects, as long as you provide an education which is appropriate to your child's needs.
  • There is also no requirement for your child to take exams, although you can arrange for your child to take exams as an external candidate at an examination centre.

You may also wish to consider flexi-schooling where your child would attend school on a part-time basis. This is at the discretion of the individual head teacher and would need to be mutually agreed by the school and parents.

In certain circumstances, you could consider further alternatives found on the internet. Kidscape works closely with the charity Red Balloon Learner Centres. These centres provide full time education for children aged 9-18 who are unable to go to school because they have been severely bullied or suffered trauma. They also offer Red Balloon of the Air, which is an online community of staff and students. 

For more information about home education, please visit Citizens Advice.

Related advice 

Changing schools
Assertiveness workshops for young people
Taking further action 

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