What is home education?
Home education is when a child is educated at home rather than at school. It's perfectly legal in the UK to educate your child at home and you don't need to be a qualified teacher to do so. Children who are home educated receive all their education from their parents or carers, sometimes with the help of outside tutors. If you decide to home educate your child you don't have to follow formal rules about how you teach or when you teach.
In some ways home education is a continuation of the teaching that every pre-school child receives from his or her parent or carer. But from the age of five education is a legal requirement, so if you choose to home educate after this age you need to plan extremely carefully. You must be able to offer supervision by an adult all day.
Why do people choose home education?
Some people know from an early stage that they want to home educate their child. They may have philosophical or religious reasons for this. Or they may have been home educated themselves or raised in situations in which education wasn't focused on a traditional school environment - their parents may have travelled a lot.
In other cases a child may start off in school but later be taken out and educated at home. The reasons for this vary - a child may have special needs or be unhappy at school in some way. Sometimes parents feel that the methods of teaching in school aren't right for their child and that they can provide a better education for them at home. Other parents sometimes home educate because they can't get a place for their child in a school of their choice.
Some of these reasons may apply to you if your child stammers and you have become disillusioned by what you have heard about or experienced of the school system. Take care though to make the decision in the interests of your child and not because of your own experience of formal education. Schools have changed and improved over the years and teachers have more sympathetic attitudes to the individual needs of children, so if you are considering home schooling do take the time to really investigate what is available in formal schooling before you make the decision to home school. It may be helpful to discuss your choice with your child's therapist. The BSA:Helpline can offer information and support.
What laws apply to home education?
If you home educate your child you don't need to follow the National Curriculum or take SATs or other national tests. But you are required by law to make sure your child receives full-time education that's suited to their age, ability and aptitude. Parents in England are now required to register with their local council annually if they intend to home school their child. They also have to demonstrate that they are providing a suitable education for their child. In Scotland, home educating families are already visited once a year by their local authority and this practice is developing in England.
Where can I find out more about home education?
If you're interested in home education a good first step is to talk to other parents who do it. Many home educating families keep in touch with each other so that they can swap ideas about learning at home and so that their children can socialise. It is also important to contact your local authority to discuss your intentions and it would be advisable to take advice from your child's therapist as well.
Education Otherwise (This has information about home education and can put you in touch with home educating parents).
Directgov: local authorities (This has contact details of all local authorities).
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Text for this page: Home Schooling
Text for this whole section: Options in primary education