Is home schooling a good option?

Home schooling also known as elective home education, is when a parent chooses to provide an education for their child at home.

This would be instead of sending them to a full-time school and they would aim to cover core subjects such as English and Maths.

Whilst home schooling can solve a lot of issues, children may no longer gain the social interaction previously experienced in a mainstream school.

When speaking to a number of adults who had received home schooling in the past, their main concern was the fact that they had not learned how to navigate situations in society that were considered normal and were lacking in understanding the rules of behaviour; they would normally have gained this through peer interaction.

Because of this, they felt it difficult to fit in when embarking on higher education or their working career.

Nowadays, this is something that parents are more aware of and many home-schooled children have large social networks for support and are also able to join many clubs such as football, drama, ballet and music etc.

This obviously, is still difficult for children living in remote areas with poor access to transport.

Why do parents choose home schooling for their children?

There are many reasons why parents choose to educate their child at home.  Here are some examples:

  • Disappointment with the school system, or the school(s) at which a place is available.
  • Bullying
  • Health reasons, including mental health of the child
  • A short-term intervention for a particular reason
  • Special Educational Needs, or a lack of suitable provision in the school system for those needs
  • As a stop gap whilst awaiting a place at a school other than the one allocated.

Can my child be home schooled?

All parents have a right to educate their child from home if they wish to do so and the government is currently looking to toughen up on home education plans, to ensure they are working, as they should; especially as it is estimated that there are just under 60,000 home-educated children across 152 local authorities in England. To date, we are no further forward in this respect and the planned compulsory register of home-schooled children is yet to be agreed; awaiting the results of the Department for Education’s consultation process which closed on 24th June 2019.

Although not everyone welcomes this register, former Education Secretary Damian Hinds pointed out that the government had a duty to make sure children were safe and receiving a good education.

If your child is currently in a school environment and you wish to educate them from home, you should firstly ensure that you notify the school and advise them of your intentions. The school cannot refuse your wishes, providing you intend to take them out of school completely.

If for any reason, your child attends school because of a school attendance order, you will not be able to just simply educate them from home and you will have to gain permission from your local council beforehand.

Are there any specific rules to home education?

If you wish to educate your child from home, you must ensure they receive full-time education from the age of 5. You do not have to follow the national curriculum but it is wise to ensure that they have grasped the basics of Maths and English, preferably completing at least Functional Skills Level 2.

It may be that parents are able to oversee all teaching themselves but if this is proving difficult, consideration may be given to using outside sources such as private tutors, small teaching groups or online classes. There are many online resources that can also help, such as BBC Bitesize, which was formed in 1988 and is used by 40% of primary school students and 80% of secondary school students, to top-up their studies.

Can I receive funding for home education?

There are no grants or funding to help teach your child at home, in fact the Department for Education makes it clear that if you decide to teach your child at home, you will have to take on all financial responsibility related to their education.

However, your local authority will be able to offer you guidance in areas such as arranging examinations as a private candidate and details of any support groups in your area. To find out more about home education in your county, click here.

The rules for home schooling appear to be pretty clear but it would seem, the main priority is to consider the welfare of each individual child and ensure that whatever form of education is chosen, it meets their mental and physical needs.

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