Home Education UK Law

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When I tell someone in the UK that I home educate I am often asked "is it legal?" (As if I would go around breaking the law and then mention it to everyone that asked!).

Home Education is legal in the UK (although there are some differences in the law between the four countries.)

To home educate in the UK you do not have to be a trained teacher, and you do not have to follow the National Curriculum - or take SATS tests.

Find out more about Home Education in the UK - or scroll down to see the legal situation.

Home Education UK Law


In England and Wales we are allowed to home educate under section 7 of the 1996 education act which says :

    "The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable a) to his age ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise."

It is the 'otherwise' part of this statement that gives us the right to home educate. You do not need permission to home educate. If you child has never been to school then you do not have to tell the local authorities of your intention.

If your child has attended school, or been offered a place at a school (even if they have never been), then you must deregister by sending a deregistration letter to your child's school.

However - the exception to the above is if your child has special needs and attends a special school. In this case you need permission to deregister your child. For support with this please see the HE Special website.


The law is pretty much the same as in England at the moment, although the creation of the Welsh assembly may introduce differences.


Scottish law differs slightly from England and Wales. The law says that:

    "every child has a right to an education, and it is the duty of the parent of every school age child to provide that education, either by sending the child to school, or by other means."

In Scotland you must get permission to home educate. However, this permission cannot be withheld unreasonably.

For more information and advice about home educating in Scotland, visit Schoolhouse.

Northern Ireland

The law is almost identical to that of England and Wales.

Visit HEDNI.org for more details.


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