Are we Breaking the Law by Home Schooling?
If we as parents choose to home school are we breaking any law? Can we be made to send our daughter to school? Our daughter has issues with regards to school life.
Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure that all children receive an education from the age of 5 to 16. For the vast majority of children, this will inevitably mean going to school. However, ensuring that their children attend school is not the only way that parents can satisfy their legal responsibility in England.
Teaching children at home, or home schooling, is legal and is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. You mention that your daughter has issues with school life, which is one reason why some parents choose to educate their children at home. Other parents may choose to home school for religious or social reasons, or simply because they feel that they are better able to address their child’s needs.
As long as your daughter is receiving an education, you have complied with Your Legal Duty and the authorities should not force you to send your daughter to school. However, it may be advisable to notify your Local Education Authority that you intend to home school your daughter rather than just taking her out of her school. The school should also be notified in writing of your intentions before you remove your daughter. The rules are different for children who attend a special school due to their special educational needs.
There is no requirement for you to follow a particular curriculum or to have any teaching qualifications. It is also up to you whether your daughter goes on to take GCSEs. However, you should bear in mind that if your daughter does not attain any recognised qualifications this could limit the options she has later in her educational or professional career. A parent who educates their child at home must ensure that the child still has a full education and that any special needs the child has are addressed. The education the child receives should be appropriate for their age and abilities.
The Local Education Authority could ask you to prove that you are providing your daughter with an education. You might do this by setting out the methods you use and providing examples of your daughter’s work. Alternatively, you could arrange a meeting, either at your home or elsewhere, with a representative of the Authority. If the Local Education Authority was not satisfied that you were providing your daughter with an appropriate education, they could serve you with a school attendance order forcing you to send your daughter to school.
There are many websites offering advice and materials for parents who decide to educate their children at home, and some Local Education Authorities may supply free study materials based on the National Curriculum.