When it comes to the education of your child, there are a lot of factors to consider and decisions to be made. You might be considering a different option than the traditional style of education – such as educating your child on your own at home. Home education can be a great option for parents and children and it has a number of advantages – but it also has some drawbacks as well. It is important to consider your particular situation and the needs of your child so that you can determine the best course of action for their education.

What are the UK Government’s Rules on Home Education?

It is not necessary to be a qualified teacher to educate your child at home and you are not obligated to follow the National Curriculum. However, as a parent you are required by law to make sure that your child receives a full time education. Their education should be appropriate for their age, ability and aptitude. Also, you do not have to have special permission from your local authority – but it is necessary to let the school know in writing that you will be educating your child at home. You don’t need to have a fixed timetable or observe normal school hours.

If the council wants to check in on your child and their education, they can make an informal enquiry. If they determine that your child is not getting a suitable education, you might be served with a school attendance order.

Pros and Cons of Home Education

Pros:

  • Families who live in remote rural areas might find it difficult and time consuming to travel to the nearest school, so schooling at home is more convenient.
  • The child will receive a one on one education and get more focused coaching than they would in a classroom with several other children.
  • The child can move at their own pace without having to keep the pace of other learners in the classroom. For gifted children this might been finishing a day of school work in only a few hours.
  • Families can have more freedom to travel and live abroad.

Cons:

  • The child will miss out on a lot of social interaction, which is important for developing interpersonal skills and learning how to relate to others.
  • If the parents are not qualified teachers, they might not have the skills to facilitate the child’s learning.
  • A child benefits from learning from several teachers, as each teacher has a different approach and is an expert in their niche.
  • A lack of structure and authority might make it more difficult for a child to adjust if they go to regular school or get a job in the future.

UK Home Education Stats

According to the Badman Review in 2009, approximately 20,000 home educated children and young people in the UK are known to local authorities. Of course, not all home-schooled children are reported, so the actual number could be more than 80,000.