Who do I tell if I want to begin home educating?
If your child is preschool and you have not applied for a school place, you don't need to tell anyone. If your child is preschool but you have applied or received a school place, you need to decline your school place by notifying school admissions. If your child is already at a mainstream state school, then you just need to send a deregistration letter to the headteacher. If your child is at a state special school, then you will need permission from the local authority (although this should not be unreasonably withheld) before you can deregister. If your child is at a private school, then you need to notify the headteacher and it is possible you will have to give notice or pay fees in lieu of notice.
Do I have to fill in the form that I got from the council?
No. But it is advisable to respond to their enquiry. For more information, visit our page on dealing with the LA.
What about socialisation?
There are so many opportunities for structured, unstructured, "academic" and purely social events that you would not be able to fit it all into your week. However, parents are responsible for transportation and it is much easier to get to everything if you drive, as town centre venues are expensive to hire, so most events take place in cheaper venues.
What do I have to teach?
That is up to the parents to decide. Responsibility for education lies with the parent, not the local authority or state. Home educators choose from a wide variety of educational methods, subjects and resources.
Can my child still do GCSEs?
Yes. Your child can do GCSEs or IGCSEs exams (depending on the board, subject and specification) Apart from art and design GCSEs. However, it will be at your own expense and you will need to make all the necessary arrangements.
Do I have to meet anyone from the council / local authority?
No - but don't ignore their letters completely. If you don't want to meet with them (and most do not) do still reply to their letters as the local authority is still entitled to make informal enquiries.
When can I join the main NorthantsHE group?
You need to be living in or very near to Northamptonshire and currently home-educating a child of your own (or that you have parental responsibility for) of at least 3 years of age who is not on a school roll (either having never been registered or having been subsequently deregistered) and have met a current, existing member of the group to be added to our facebook group.
Are there home educators near me?
There are home educating families (with children of various ages) all over the county. The greatest numbers are to be found in the towns.
For those reading further afield than Northamptonshire, know that every county and city has a home-ed group. Most major towns have at least one - but usually several - home educating families living there.
Are there any activities or meet ups near me?
There are activities, events, meet ups and socials across the county.
Many of them can be found in our what's on section.
However, do be prepared to travel for activities, events, meets & socials.
Transport is not laid-on. You will be responsible for getting you and your child/ren to and from the venue.
Is there any funding for home educating families?
No. If you choose to electively home educate your child/ren, then you are deemed to be in the private sector.
That means that you are completely responsible for funding all activities, books, resources, transport, exam fees and anything else arising from the education of your children.
Additionally, home educators are not exempt from having to meet any requirements and conditions under tax credits, universal credits etc...
Home education is not a reason to not to work or be available for employment.
The state-funded education provision is state-funded school and associated services.
Are home educators entitled to discounts?
Some venues, organisations and companies offer discounts to home-educators.
These discounts may be on the same basis as school discounts. They are often more generous than school discounts.
However, it is important to bear in mind that home educators are NOT entitled to any discounts. It is entirely down to the venue/provider's discretion.
I have a product or service to sell – Can I join your group in order to reach home educators?
No. The main NorthantsHE group is peer-to-peer support group that is only for home-educators. Our open group is only for those who are actively and seriously considering home-education.
If you would like to sell to home-educators then please advertise in the usual way.
For example: Pay for Google adverts or Facebook adverts, put a card up in a local shop or community centre, advertise in local papers, magazines, do a leaflet drop etc...
Home education groups are inundated with advertising and marketing requests. Most groups (including NorthantsHE) decline them all - and that includes requests for an advert to be posted on behalf of a business.
If home education doesn’t work out, can I put my child/ren back into school?
Yes. Some families only plan to home-educate until a certain age and others review their decision every year.
Many home-educated children go into school (or return to school) after a period of home-education.
It is possible for a home-educated child to go to school having never followed the national curriculum.
Note that you are not automatically entitled to return to your child's former school. If it was over-subscribed school, then it is likely that the place your child vacated has been reallocated to another child.
When you (re)apply for a school place, the usual admissions criteria are applied.
What should I do if I am forced into home-education?
Ideally, a family should make a positive choice to electively home-educate their child/ren.
Never allow yourself to be forced into home-education against your will. This is called "off-rolling" and is illegal. If you do not want to home-educate your child/ren then you should be clear with both the school and the local authority (council) that you are not choosing to home-educate and you should not send in a deregistration letter.
Once you have deregistered your child from a school, the local authority is no longer responsible for educating your child and neither is your child's former school.
If you are hoping to use home-education or the threat of home-education as "leverage", know that this can have mixed results because once you have deregistered, it is often a case of "out of sight out of mind" as far as the local authority is concerned.
Additionally, the local authority is not obliged to offer your child a place in their previous school.
Will the local authority arrange for my child to do GCSEs?
No. Once you have opted to electively home-educate your child, you are responsible for making any and all arrangments for your child to sit exams, be that GCSEs, A levels or any other exams. You will also have to pay the exam entry fees and any invigilation fees yourself, too, plus any special access arrangments.
More information about sitting exams can be found on here.
How long will it be before I hear from the local authority once I deregister?
It can be anything from a couple of weeks to years!
In some cases, families never hear from the local authority at all.
Typically, it will be within a few weeks and you might get a letter every year or two after that.
Can I still work and home-educate?
This depends on the age of your child/ren and the type of work that you do?
There are many home-educating parents that work from home or outside the home around home-education.
This can be accomplished through both parents coordinating their working pattern so that there is always someone at home.
Or one or both parents working from home for some or all of their hours.
There are also plenty of home-educating parents who run their own businesses to fit around home-education.
I’m a single parent, can I still home educate?
Yes you can - and there are lots of single-parents who are home educating children of all ages.
Know that there is no funding for home-education and that home education is NOT in and of itself a reason to avoid having to meet any work-related requirements for tax credits and universal credit.
Is there anybody who home-educates a child with SEND?
Yes, lots of home-educated children have SEND.
This includes home-educted children who are on the autism spectrum, have PDA, anxiety, sensory issues and mental health issues.
Additionally, there are home-educated children with dyslexia, dyscalculia etc...
Why do people choose to home educate?
There are many reasons why parents choose to home educate. Here are some of the most common:
Desire to teach their own children.
Home education is more fun
Home education is more varied
Ability to experience more through home-education
Ability to travel
Child is gifted
Child is behind the curve, academically
Child has SEND/Dyslexia/Dyscalculia/Anxiety/Autism Spectrum Disorder/PDA/etc...
Child is a school-refuser
Desire to avoid SATs and too many tests or teaching to the test
Home education is more interesting
Home education is more adaptable to different children's needs