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Parents' Rights and Responsibilities

As a parent you may decide to exercise your right to home educate your child from a very early age and so the child may not have been previously enrolled at school. You may also elect to home educate at any other stage up to the end of compulsory school age.

You are not required to register or seek approval from the local authority to educate your children at home. If you choose to educate your children at home you must be prepared to assume full financial responsibility, including bearing the cost of any public examinations. However, local authorities are encouraged to provide support where resources permit. You must also ensure that your children receive suitable full-time education for as long as they are being educated at home.  You are required to provide an efficient, full-time education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of the child. There is currently no legal definition of “full-time”. Children normally attend school for between 22 and 25 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but this measurement of “contact time” is not relevant to elective home education where there is often almost continuous one-to-one contact and education may take place outside normal “school hours”. The type of educational activity can be varied and flexible.

Parent's provision of education at home

Home educating parents are not required to:

  • teach the National Curriculum
  • provide a broad and balanced education
  • have a timetable
  • have premises equipped to any particular standard
  • set hours during which education will take place
  • have any specific qualifications
  • make detailed plans in advance
  • observe school hours, days or terms
  • give formal lessons
  • mark work done by their child
  • formally assess progress or set development objectives
  • reproduce school type peer group socialisation
  • match school-based, age-specific standards

However, local authorities should offer advice and support to parents on these matters if requested.

What we expect the provision to include

In their consideration of parents’ provision of education at home, we may reasonably expect the provision to include the following characteristics:
  • consistent involvement of parents or other significant carers – it is expected that parents or significant carers would play a substantial role, although not necessarily constantly or actively involved in providing education
  • recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations
  • opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences
  • access to resources/materials required to provide home education for the child – such as paper and pens, books and libraries, arts and crafts materials, physical activity, ICT and the opportunity for appropriate interaction with other children and other adults.

If we consider that a suitable education is not being provided, then a full written report of the findings will be made and copied to the parents promptly, specifying the grounds for concern and any reasons for concluding that provision is unsuitable. If we are not satisfied that a suitable education is being provided, and the parents, having been given a reasonable opportunity to address the identified concerns and report back, have not done so, we will  consider sending a formal notice to the parents under section 437 before moving on, if needed, to the issuing of a school attendance order (section 437(1)).