Home Education Network

The legal aspects of home education

Home education is perfectly legal in the UK; education is compulsory, going to school is not.

Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act applies to England and Wales, it says that:
"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) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise"

Home education is one of the "otherwise" options.  It is perfectly legal,  requiring no special teaching qualifications.  Families do not need to  follow the national curriculum or adopt any particular methodology.  This allows families to respond to their children’s educational needs in a personal way that best suits the individual.  Home education breaks  away from the one size fits all approach and allows children to learn  in a more natural way, responding to what interests and inspires them.

The processes and guidelines do vary though in different parts of the UK.   These are the EHE Guidelines for Local Authorities in England:

DCSF Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities

Below are links relevant to home educating in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland:

Welsh Assembly Government guidelines; to encourage good practice in relationships between LAs and home educators.
For information on home educating in Scotland visit Education Otherwise.
For information on home educating in Northern Ireland visit Education Otherwise

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