Instead of sending your child to a place of education, you can choose to educate your child at home. This is known as home schooling, or elective home education (EHE).
Your rights and responsibilities
Some parents take a carefully considered decision to home school their child before they reach school age. Others will start school and decide later that this isn't right or working for their child, and choose to home school instead.
Ultimately, as a parent you have the right to educate your child in the way you feel suits them best, as long as you comply with Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which states that the parent of every child of compulsory school age (age 5 and up) must receive efficient full-time education suitable to:
- their age and abilities
- to any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
Flexi- school (part time) arrangements
You may wish to enter into part time or ‘flexi-schooling’ arrangements, where your child is registered at school part-time whilst also receiving education at home. You'll need to get agreement from your school for this, and it’s important to remember that Headteachers are not obligated to agree.
Home Education UK has flexi-schooling faq's if you're interested in whether this may be a suitable option for you.
Things to consider about home-schooling
Home schooling is a big commitment, and it's important to consider how you'll develop your child's knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to their age and abilities. It's also important to consider any costs involved, and whether you'll be able to provide enough social opportunities for your child to mix and learn alongside other children.
What needs to be taught
As a parent, you don't need to have any formal teaching qualifications to home school. You may wish to teach your child yourself, employ a tutor, or teach in groups with other home schooled children. If you decide to employ a tutor, check their qualifications and ask to see their Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) certificate.
You won't have to follow the National Curriculum or stick to school hours. However, your child’s education should be challenging enough that they are able to make progress, and should ultimately prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
Although it's not compulsory to follow the National Curriculum, some parents find it useful to use as a framework for their own teaching. If you intend for your child to go back to school at some point it's also a good idea to cover similar work to make the transition smoother.
If you choose flexi-schooling, your child will follow the National Curriculum whilst at school.
There are lots of free online resources and libraries that could be used for teaching. There may be costs to consider however, such as having to pay for stationery or equipment. If you decide to give up work to home school your child there'll also be the indirect cost of loss of earnings.
Your child won't have to sit any examinations, however, if you wish them to do so you’ll have to fund the cost of the exams. You’ll need to find a centre that will allow your child to sit the examination, but you'll have the flexibility to choose the examination board most suited to your child. The major examination boards for GCSEs/IGCSEs are Edexel, AQA and OCR.
Some home schooling parents find that IGCSEs are more appropriate than GCSEs since they are based predominantly on final examinations rather than coursework that needs to be supervised at school.
Your child's social life
You should consider your child’s social development as part of their education. You may have extended family or friends who are also home schooling, that you could join on visits to museums, galleries, theatres or other places of interest. In addition, your child could socialise with other children through a particular sport or hobby.
If your child has special educational needs
If you have a child with SEND, and their needs are one of the reasons you are considering home educating, visit our Local Offer home schooling page.
Who you'll work with
If we've been notified that you're home schooling your child, you'll be able to access support and advice from Elective Home Education (EHE) advisors.
Elective Home Education (EHE) advisers
EHE Advisers are qualified teachers, experienced in working with families who are home schooling. Their aim is to work with parents to support them to ensure their child receives a suitable education. EHE advisers have enhanced DBS clearance.
Our EHE Advisers do not meet with families whose children have flexi-schooling arrangements however, as schools are ultimately responsible for every child registered on their roll.
Services for young people
We share the names, addresses and contact details of young people who are electively home educated with YC Hertfordshire to ensure they receive the appropriate support from the service.
They work closely with partners to provide counselling, mentoring or access to other services.
What to do next
If you wish to pursue Elective Home Education for your child please complete the Notification of Elective Home Education form.
If you’ve decided to remove your child from a mainstream school you should also write a letter to your school’s Headteacher to notify them. There are de-registration templates online that can be used for this purpose such as on the website Education Otherwise.
Educate your child at home form
If you have any further questions you can call 0300 123 4043 to speak to a member of the Elective Home Education Team.
There are also a number of independent organisations who can give advice and resources including:
Off site visits - information for schools (The Grid)