Homeschooling in England and Wales

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A young homeschool student

It is estimated that there are now over 50,000 and perhaps as many as 150,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16 who are educated at home in England and Wales. There is every indication that this number is growing.[1]

The Law and homeschooling

Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act states that parents are responsible for educating their children "by regular attendance at school or otherwise." "Or Otherwise" has become an unofficial motto among homeschooling parents.

Unless a child has Special Educational Needs and attends a Special School, or has a school attendance order, if you live in England or Wales you don't have to get permission from the Local Education Authority (LEA) to withdraw your child from school. However it is considered polite to tell them that this is what you plan to do. The school should not try to oppose homeschooling: it is a parent's legal right to choose home education for their child if they wish. Parents also do not have to inform the LEA if their child is close to school age and they choose to home educate right from the start. Some families decide to home educate for a few years until they believe their child is more ready for school.

Legal requirements

All a parent needs to be able to do is prove that education is taking place. If the LEA contacts you, you can explain your educational philosophy and any other information by letter.

  • You are not obliged to follow the National Curriculum
  • You are not obliged to enter your child for GCSEs
  • You are not obliged to have any qualifications or teaching experience
  • You are not obliged to have visits from the LEA at home

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