Study Coach: What is Home Schooling?

In the USA the idea of Home Schooling is a norm but things are not quite the same in the UK; in other words in the UK Home Education in some circles is almost considered to be a novelty. It appears that in the UK the idea of taking a child out of school or not sending your child to a mainstream school at age 5 is almost seen as an act of deviance. If you are a UK Mum and would like to educate your child/children at home, you are entitled to do so. If you are residing abroad and will be moving to the UK and prefer home schooling then I hope you will find the following of some use. My name is Morel Benard and my organisation is Study Coach UK. 


The decision to educate at home is personal, it could simply be your preference as a parent or it could stem from negative issues arising in the school system and adversely impacting on your child. Please however note that parents shouldn’t feel pressured to educate their child at home because of bullying at school or any other incident. If there is evidence of discrimination against your child in the school system then this matter should be resolved at school and parents should not have to resort to home schooling because of such incident. The decision to educate at home should solely be the parents preference. Note, that it does not have to be the child’s preference, but hopefully the child will be happy to be educated outside mainstream school. 


It is worth stating that the Local Authority (local council) cannot override parents decision to home school unless there is justifiable cause. Note, that the local council can seek the child’s opinion on the education they are receiving at home but this is different to overriding the parents preference to teach the child at home. Meaning that the child might prefer to go to school but if the education being delivered at home is in satisfaction of legal requirements, then the local council must accept the parents preference to home school. In speaking with children being schooled at home the representative (welfare officer for the local authority) will be seeking to establish if legal requirements are being met. 


In respect of Home Schooling, the Education Act (1996) section 7 says that: “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude and to any special education needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise”. You can find the law on Home Schooling at

Parents should note that the term ‘or otherwise’ refers to home or any other suitable place and is also referred to as elective education. In respect of compulsory school age in the UK, the age is 5 – 16. Education for most children will no doubt start well before age 5 with children attending early years education, but in the UK it is not mandatory to register your child for early years education. If you wish to register your child at a nursery it is simply your choice, there is no legal requirement for your child to attend a nursery. Section 7 of the 1996 Act refers to parents providing ‘efficient’ education.


The meaning of the term efficient education means that the education provided must achieve what it is intended to achieve. This does not necessarily mean suitable in accordance with the UK National Curriculum. 

The education delivered in Home Schooling must be age appropriate enabling the child to progress during childhood and prepare the child for the future, in order to function independently as an adult. The education delivered under Home Schooling should not directly conflict with British values and hinder social development. 


If you decide to do Home Schooling, you should note that there is no obligation for you to provide any outside bodies (local council, school) with a plan of set hours for teaching and learning. You therefore don’t need to produce a timetable, don’t need to observe school hours, days, terms. What you will however need to ensure is that the education provided does occupy a substantial part of the child’s life. If parents fail to meet this requirement parents will fail section 7 of the legal requirement.  

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SUBSCRIPTION: Please Subscribe to Study Coach, the subscription form is below. Subscription will allow me to alert you to future blogs on Home Schooling. If you have a question about Home Schooling, Academic Support, then do get in touch with Study Coach. Email: Morel Benard


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