Home Schooling UK: Everything You Need To Know

Home schooling in the UK is becoming a more popular education option, especially after the pandemic. There are many children who are struggling after lockdowns to return to a crowd-filled school setting, and parents are looking for alternate options. However, you may be wondering how exactly you go about home schooling in the UK.


home schooling uk


Home Schooling UK Requirements


In the UK, the law states that all children of compulsory school age, five years old to sixteen years old, must have an efficient full-time education that meets their age, ability, aptitude and any other special educational needs. There is no law that states that this education must take place in a school setting. It is completely legal to home school in the UK.


Who You Need To Tell


Who you need to tell depends on where in the educational system your child is, and their circumstances.

If your child is registered and in school, you first need to send a de-registration letter to the head teacher, or principal of the school. This letter needs to include that you plan to home school, from a specific date, and request that your child is removed from the register. It can be sent by post or by email. You may be invited to attend a meeting to discuss your decision with the head, but you have no legal obligation to do so. Legally, you don’t need permission for your child to be de-registered.

There are some exceptions to these rules. For instance, if your child attends a special education school, you will need permission from your local authority to begin home schooling. You need to send a letter to your local authority, detailing your child’s name and school details, asking for consent for them to be de-registered. It can help if you include information about how you intend to meet your child’s educational needs.

If your local authority refuses to give you consent to home school, they need to tell you the reasons for doing so and you can challenge the refusal.

Another exception is if your child is under a School Attendance Order, or SAO. With an SAO in place, you can’t home school. You would need to write to your local authority and ask for the SAO to be revoked.


Home Schooling In Scotland


The process in Scotland is a little different. In Scotland, all children must have permission from the local authority before they can be de-registered if they have been attending school. This needs to be done by letter, and you might want to include some details about how you intend to home school. The LA should respond within six weeks. The LA can’t refuse consent unreasonably, but they may refuse if there are extreme circumstances.


When You Don’t Need To Inform Anyone Of Your Intent To Home School In The UK


There are some circumstances when you don’t need to tell anyone that you’re planning to home school your child. These include:

  • If your child has never attended school – they have not reached compulsory school age.
  • If your child has never attended school in the area you now live in – they have moved from one county to another and have not been registered for a school in the new area.
  • If your child has attended an independent school
  • If your child has finished primary education but has not yet begun their secondary education.
  • If your child has been attending a school which has now been permanently closed.




Flexi-schooling is a best of both worlds type option. Your child would attend school on a part time basis and be home schooled the rest of the time. You do need permission from the school’s head, or principal, and they are not obliged to provide this option. However, the local authority website for your area may have a list of schools that are open to flexi-schooling.


What Training Is Needed For Home Schooling?


Essentially, the answer to this question is none, you don’t need any training to be able to home school your child in the UK.

There is research that shows that the education level of home-schooling parents has no bearing on the academic performance of their children. Researchers have suggested that it is parents who are proactively involved in their children’s education, who model good learning behaviour, and who provide their children with educational opportunities that impact the child’s academic performance.

While you don’t need any training or qualifications to home school, you might want to take some courses, either academic courses, or possibly some courses on different learning strategies. If you’re home schooling your children you aren’t going to be a teacher, so there would be things that teachers are trained for that wouldn’t be applicable for you, such as safeguarding procedures, classroom management, risk assessment and school reports. You aren’t preparing a learning environment for thirty children, you’re preparing a learning environment for individual children.

The other thing to consider is that you don’t have to be the person who teaches your child at home. You may want to hire a tutor or use online classes and courses, activity clubs, or a home-schooling group.

If you decide to hire a tutor, you need to remember to ask for references. You’ll also need to do a DBS check to make sure that the tutor can be around children. There will be help and guidance on how to do this on your local authority website.

If you join a home-schooling group, you’ll need to remember that if there are five or more children, you might have to register as an independent school.


Are There Any Inspections For Home Schooling?


There are no inspections in the same way as a school setting would be inspected by Ofsted. Having said that, the local authority does need to make sure that your child is receiving a suitable education. Every local authority has its own rules for this, but in general, it is usually called an informal enquiry.

The informal enquiry could be very broad, or it might ask for specific pieces of evidence. This could be a written report, samples of your child’s work, a meeting with a local authority officer, or a home visit with an officer.

There is no legal requirement to answer the enquiry or meet with the officers. However, the local authority may conclude that your child is not receiving an adequate education. They may then issue a School Attendance Order, or an Education Supervision Order. A SAO is an order that will legally require you to register your child in a specific school. An ESO could impose further conditions on your child’s education and allow the local authority to make decisions on your child’s education.