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Advice About the Law and Home Schooling

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 24 Sep 2019 | comments*Discuss
Education Information Law Home Schooling

In basic terms, the Education Act law in both England, Northern Ireland, and Wales and in Scotland means that while parents are legally required to educate their children, no parent has to do so by sending their child to school. Parents are, however, required by law to ensure they receive full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude.

The Parental Responsibility in Home Schooling

Other information that parents considering home schooling are interested in include the following: parents or home tutors do not need to be a qualified teacher to educate a child at home, and, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, do not have to apply for permission from a school or Local Educational Authority (LEA) to educate a child at home. In Scotland, this is a little different: check the relevant page on Scotland and home schooling on this website. Home schooling parents are not obliged to teach formal lessons - the only rule is that a child must be educated, and that education must be 'suitable' to the child's needs.

What Is A 'Suitable Education' in Home Schooling?

A case at Worcester Crown Court in 1981 (Harrison & Harrison v Stevenson) involved the judge defining a ‘suitable education’ as one which could: "to prepare the children for life in modern civilised society, and to enable them to achieve their full potential."

Home schooling parents are not obliged to provide any specific or specialised type of education, and is not required to have particular standards of schooling premises, specific teaching or subject qualifications, cover any particular syllabus or follow the National Curriculum, or observe school hours, days, terms or have a structured timetable. Likewise, within home education parents are not obliged to follow an education that would replicate school, age-specific lessons.

The Rules When Starting Home Schooling

Different rules apply in Scotland in this case, which should be checked on the home schooling in Scotland page of this website. In other parts of the UK, home schooling parents do not need to seek permission to educate 'otherwise', except if their child is attending a special school and/or has special needs. If a child is already attending a mainstream school, the child should be 'deregistered', which usually involves parents writing a letter to the headteacher of the school to inform him or her of the family's desire to home school their child.

The Involvement of Local Education Authorities With Home Schooling

According to sections 437 to 443 of the Education Act 1996, Local Education Authorities (LEAs) have a duty to take action on a child's education - usually by requiring the child to attend school - only if the child is deemed to not be receiving an acceptable education. Otherwise, if the LEA do not believe that a child's education at home is unacceptable, the LEA is not required to monitor home schooling educational provision; they may, however, make informal enquiries in order to ascertain information that a home schooling education is adequate. This might take the form of asking for samples of the child's work, a written report of the education by parents, or a meeting with parents and sometimes also the child

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My son is in year 8 he has been being bullied by same boy for over a year he is struggling with school over it he struggling to write he needs extra help and noting is being done if I decide to home school him because bullying so bad and he is not getting no work done how many hours a week to I need to teach him to still claim my working and child tax
Suezy - 24-Sep-19 @ 10:25 PM
I have no option but to home school my son he hasn't been to school in 4 yrs I have been to court 4 times he just refuses to go the education welfare lady say it's either he comes to school or I get taken to court again or I home school him help I've no idea where to start he should be In year 10 if he was in school.
Josie - 22-May-19 @ 6:27 PM
Dear AHE, We thank you first of all for AHE website providing support to the community and advise on home education. And would like to share our stories in addition in seek on what's best to withdraw our children from their current school (Catholic's) in London. St. Mary's RC Primary - London. Since 2015 both our children attended St. Mary's RC Primary School in London due to our religious background, however almost four years in we've experienced such appalling discrimination of ethnicity to the extent we kept silent however the oppressiveness the school mistreated us, how they manipulate our children and us as parents we continued since our strong faith we forgive. Its gone beyond the limit of coping. The truth of the matter was when we were attacked and burgled the social services intervene and I had to fight for my rights, but the school vice took sides with the social services ignoring the facts how the school mistreated our daughter not allowing her to use the toilet when ever she needs to go, only after I emailed the vice principle that we will hold her to account if our daughter's bladder get infected, her reply was ignorant and adamant to stand her ground telling me that its important that every child do not miss out their subjects, (my goodness the child is only 7 years old)), I still have the email from the vice head. My daughter's case last year was not the only child, but speaking of our son her brother who's in his year 9 different school but related to St. Mary's RC, when he was at his sister's primary he was racially abused by one black peers who told him "go back to where you came from you don't belong here, after several times he was physically attacked by the same student (black girl) he stood up and said "why don'tyou go back to your country" and we was subjected as been racist by the vice head and summoned me. Its gone far beyond our imaginings how we've been mistreated both by the local authorities and the school, is it because we are yellow, I myself presume not as we are all the children of God, but how we've been humiliated and mistreated is far beyond sick to imagine let alone experienced, which is why my wife ask me to seek help withdraw our children from both these schools, because it's troubling our beloved children. We greatly appreciate if AHE can provide some advice giving us guidance, as I have not as yet contacted OFSTED to report this matter, because we've learnt to forgive and move on, but it seems our adversaries can only endure so much. We dearly hope AHE able to provide us support. God bless. T N Tran.
Judas - 4-Feb-19 @ 9:32 PM
hi i have just taken my son out of school to be home schoold he is in year 10and 14 yrs old.he needs 3 gcse exams to get into collage and i do not know where to start. i was thinking welsh second language, maths and english.what english books are they reading? what else do we need for the exam? also do I need to register with a school for him to sit a exam?what time are the exams etcany info would be lovelythanks.
tippy - 8-Dec-15 @ 9:05 PM
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