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Home education

The majority of parents fulfil their duty to ‘secure an appropriate full time education’ for their child by ensuring they attend school. However, for a variety of reasons, some parents decide to take on the duty to educate their child/children themselves.

What is required of you

It is the duty of parents of every child of compulsory school age ‘to cause the child to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’ (Education Act 1996 Section 7).

Education can be regarded as ‘efficient’ if it achieves what it sets out to achieve and ‘suitable’ if it prepares the child for life in modern society and enables the child to achieve his/her full potential.

It is not necessary to provide the same kind of lessons as school, but it is up to you to show that the programme of work is helping your child to learn and there is evidence that your child is developing according to his/her age, ability and aptitude.

If you decide to educate your child at home

If your child is registered at a school you should inform the head teacher in writing of your intention. It is the head teacher’s responsibility to forward this to the local authority; however it would be helpful to forward a copy of your letter to the Education welfare service.

If your child has never attended school, you do not need to tell anyone but we do ask you send details to us so that we know you are making arrangements for your child’s education.

If you do not tell us that you are educating your child at home and we find out that you have a child who is not on a school roll, we will contact you to ask how you are educating your child as part of our Children Missing Education process.

The role of your local authority

Under the 1996 Education Act, we have an obligation to intervene if it appears that a child is not receiving an efficient education, which takes into account age, ability, aptitude and any special needs that the child may have.

We undertake this duty by offering visits at times that are agreed with parents/carers. These visits will usually take place during term time and during the working day.

What to teach and how your child learns

When your child is electively home educated it is your decision as to what to teach and how the child learns. However, you may wish to be aware of the content of the National Curriculum as it does provide a framework, especially if you intend to return your child to state education or to pursue more formal qualifications, such as GCSE’s.

The cost of books, materials, resources, examinations (if required) and educational trips are all the responsibility of the parent/carer as by electing to home educate your child you are outside the public education system.

View details of the National Curriculum on DirectGov (link opens in a new window)

The QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) produces many publications, which you may find useful, such as the details of the National Literacy Programme and suggestions for schemes of work. You will have to pay for these publications.

There is no requirement for you to enter your child for any tests or examinations. For an older child, you may wish to consider their need for qualifications, for example at GCSE or GNVQ part one.

About half of sixteen year olds are expected to gain five or more GCSEs at A-C grades. If they do not get qualifications at 16, it is possible to complete an access course at college to catch up. Your records of the education you have provided and your child’s progress will be very valuable to your child when gaining access to post 16 provision.

Sessional teachers

The sessional teacher will give support and advice and will confirm for you if you are meeting your legal requirement in regards to your child’s education. It may be easier for you to meet at your home as usually this is where you will have the work your child has produced, but you can arrange to meet elsewhere if you wish.

If you are having difficulties the sessional teacher will support you to look at how you can develop your teaching and your child’s learning.

After the sessional teacher has visited you will receive a report. If the sessional teacher is not satisfied that a suitable education is taking place then further visits may be offered with the aim of helping you overcome the difficulties within an agreed time scale.

If sufficient progress is not made and the sessional teacher considers your child is receiving a less then satisfactory education then a referral to the Education welfare service will be made. This may result in an application for a School Attendance Order (Section 437, Education Act 1996) which will require the child to attend a named school.  Please note that at any stage following the issue of an attendance order process you may present evidence to the local authority that you are now providing a suitable education and apply to have the order revoked.

Tips for successful home education

  • Make the learning process active, practical, participative and hopefully fun
  • Make systematic plans for your child’s learning
  • Take full advantage of all available resources, such as museums, libraries, parks, computer, a range of adults, educational video and audio tapes, clubs
  • Encourage your child to read widely
  • Plan a programme of educational visits and broadcasts
  • Provide opportunities for physical development
  • Encourage your child to develop socially with other children and adults
  • Make learning enjoyable by using a variety of approaches
  • Give your child opportunities for independent learning
  • Make sure your child has a quiet area for studying
  • Have a coherent philosophy of education

If your child has special educational needs

If your child has a statement of special educational needs, we have to ensure the needs are being met by reviewing the statement annually (the same review that would have been held in school).

If your child attends mainstream school you can inform the head teacher of your intentions to home educate and your child’s name will be removed from the school roll. However if your child attends a special school you must speak to our special educational needs department to discuss how you will meet your child’s needs.

If you decide to educate at home and then change your mind

You can apply for your child to return to school at any time, however, it is important to remember that once your child’s name has been removed from the school’s register the school may not have places in your child’s year group and therefore this may result in your child attending a different school or educational establishment.

The education welfare service and admissions team can give you advice on how to apply for a school place.

Contact us


The education welfare service
Hull City Council
The Treasury Building
Guildhall Road
Hull
HU1 2AB

Tel:  01482 300 300
Text phone: 01482 300 349

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