It isn’t widely known that Home Education (HE) or home schooling (more a US term) is a perfectly legal option for parents.
The law states that:
- You can teach your child at home, either full or part-time.
This is called home schooling.
- You can get help with home education from your local council.
Write to the headteacher if you plan to take your child out of school. They must accept if you’re taking your child out completely. They can refuse if you want to send your child to school some of the time.
- As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5 but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum.
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This means that we don’t have to put our children through successive changes if we would prefer not to. There are several scenarios where HE could be a route to consider:
If your posting notification is very short notice and there is not time to explore schools before the move, HE could be an option for the short term while the family settles and you can take the time to look at the local schools and make an informed choice.
If your posting is a short one and you don’t want to make an annual school move, perhaps HE would suit for a year.
If there are no spaces in your preferred school you don’t have to accept a second best. This is particularly key if you are fully intending to move to the first choice school once a place becomes available. Rather than go to one school for a few weeks only to move, it could be that HE is a preferred option.
But I’m not a teacher?
To home educate your child you do not need to be a qualified teacher and there are plenty of sites and groups to support. Some are paid for, many are free. The pleasemissmummy.com site offers ongoing support for military families in exactly this situation. You don’t have to do it alone. A quick search on Facebook and you will find many HE groups in your area. Several of these will let you join when you are only considering your options. It means you can find out what’s happening in the area first, to make an informed decision.
Surely my children won’t have any friends?
The opposite is in fact true. HE groups are popping up all over the place and moving to a new patch can be daunting and lonely. The HE community is incredibly sociable. A great way for adults and children to meet families in the new area. A few clicks on social media and you will find plenty going on in the new area.
Why is the admissions process so complicated?!
Unfortunately moving schools isn’t as simple as going to look around a few schools, choosing your favourite and then applying. The process falls to the hands of the local authority and depends on a set of criteria that must be adhered to. The steps you follow are explained here but note there will be regional variations so always check with the LA or the school of choice.
Schools may give priority to children who:
- who have a brother or sister at the school already
- who live close to the school
- from a particular religion (for faith schools)
- who do well in an entrance exam (for selective schools, e.g.
grammar schools or stage schools)
- who went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)
- in care or being looked after (all schools must have this as a
- who are eligible for the pupil premium