If you’ve decided (or are considering) to home-school your child or children, then you’re thinking about a very serious undertaking, with your children’s future at stake, and it would be no surprise that you are looking for some help and advice. After all, teachers and (many) tutors are specialist professionals with valuable knowledge and experience.
I have many thousands of hours of education experience and I’m happy to offer you some advice, with a focus on some of the most common questions.
Do I Need Permission from My Local Council / Local Authority to Homeschool My Child?
Parents in the UK have the right to choose to educate their children at home. However, there are some conditions. The main conditions are:
- You must provide your child with a full-time education from the age of 5 years old.
- You don’t have to follow the National Curriculum, but you must be able to provide evidence of the education you’ve provided to your local council, if they request it.
- You need permission from your local authority / local council if your child has special educational needs (SEN) and attends a special school.
- You also need permission from the local authority / local council if your child is subject to a ‘school attendance order’ (which would have been issued by a local authority).
Other than these conditions, the UK offers parents quite a lot of freedom with regard to your child’s education.
What Evidence Do I Need to Provide to a Local Authority?
If the local authority asks you for it, you must provide them with evidence of the education you’re providing your child. There is no hard and fast definition of what this includes, but your local authority would probably expect to see the following:
- Are you teaching your child an appropriately wide range of subjects (for their age)? You’d be expected to have taught at least English, Maths and some sciences and humanities subjects by the time they are 10. You do not need to prepare your child for a specific exam.
- Is there any evidence of your child’s work? The council would want to see some evidence of what the child has actually done themselves, at least some of it should be their written work.
- Is there any evidence of teaching or instruction? The local authority would expect to see some evidence that your child has been taught or some feedback/guidance has been provided.
- What kind of resources are being provided? The answer to this should certainly not be ‘none’! Resources can include textbooks, revision guides, worksheets or Get My Grades (of course!).
Get My Grades is designed to be a fantastic resource for homeschooling families – it helps you to provide a rigorous education, with the ability to prove you set relevant work for your child, and automatically provides feedback. You can also link other family members or tutors to your child’s account to support them.
Do I need a tutor or teacher if I want to homeschool my child?
You do not need to hire a tutor or teacher if you want to homeschool your child, however many homeschooling parents will seek some professional help. Professional help can be expensive but it may allow you to fill in some of the gaps – no one would expect the average parent to be able to teach all subjects! A professional teacher or tutor should also be able to help you keep appropriate evidence for your child’s education and provide invaluable advice – not to mention help your child to succeed!
If you do get professional help, you can check to see if any tutors you deal with are members of The Tutors’ Association. This means they will have had to have been DBS checked (criminal record check: so you can ask to see their DBS certificate) and have signed up to a code of conduct. If anything goes wrong, there’s also an independent complaints procedure.
Where Can I Get Further Help?
If you would like further help, you can contact your local authority or feel free to get in touch.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you and your children the very best of luck!