Homeschooling

The COVID-19 measures have done great harm to many but few can deny that children have perhaps suffered most. Worries about their children’s learning progress, the constant disruption due to changing rules and concerns about mental health have prompted many parents to start home educating. In July 2021, the BBC found that home-education numbers in the UK rose by 75% in the first eight months of the school year. Nevertheless, this was only an acceleration of an already established trend which is not limited to the UK. Wired reported in 2015 of the growing number of tech-savvy homeschoolers.

This page serves as a resource for new and experienced homeschoolers.

Home education under UK law

Education is compulsory for children in the UK between the ages of five and sixteen but unknown to many, it is not compulsory to send children to school. In the UK, it is a parental right to home educate.

Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age.
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 [F1(in the case of a child who is in the area of a local authority in England) or additional learning needs (in the case of a child who is in the area of a local authority in Wales)] he may have,either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Education Act 1996, Section 7

In fact, Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that it is the parents’ responsibility to educate their children. Most people simply choose, by convention, to outsource this task to schools.

Getting started

The Education Otherwise has excellent information for parents who are considering home education. Visit their website for the full details but in summary:

  • You do not need formal qualifications to educate your child and you do not need to follow the National Curriculum.
  • Unless the child has special needs, you need no permission to home educate nor are you obligated to inform your Local Authority.
  • If your child is currently enrolled in school in England or Wales, you must send a notice to the school in writing.
  • Your child can sit examinations such as GCSE and A levels. Home-Ed.info has information about GCSEs for Home Educators.
  • Your local authority has a duty to identify children not receiving education have no legal duty to monitor and supervise your home education.

Text books and references

There are many affordable text books and reference books available online and at your local book store. The following are popular with both homeschoolers and conventional educators.

Information resources

These online resources offer guidance or lesson resources. If you have suggestions to share, please post them in the comments section below. Note: we will continue to update this list as it is still in progress.

UK Government guidance

General information about home educating

Resources for all ages

Primary school

English

Mathematics

Science

Religious Education and History

Languages

Classical Christian Education

Science and technology kits

Home-Ed.info suggests some suppliers that will sell science and technology kits to individuals.

Cochranes – This site has a range of hands-on science kits and teaching apparatus for chemistry and DNA structure (molecular modelling kits), physics, astronomy and mathematics.

Maplin – This shop has a wide selection of electronic equipment, including most components as well as some kits. Useful as first port of call for anything of this nature. Maplin has several shops around the UK which can be worth a visit, if you have one neaby.

Rapid – This site has a wide variety of tools and educational resources. These include kits, electronic components, and even some kitchen gadgets for use in food technology.

SciChem – This site has a range of specifically educational supplies, but will sell to individuals or home educators as well as schools and colleges. It can be particularly useful for laboratory equipment.

home-ed.info: Science and technology resources for home educating

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