Your home education responsibilities

Part of: Home education

Educating a child at home is an important family responsibility. It requires a serious commitment of: 

  • time 
  • patience 
  • energy 
  • money – there is no funding for home education so you will have to pay for: 
    • books 
    • equipment 
    • exam and course fees 

While your child is of compulsory school age, from 5 to 16, you are legally responsible for their education. It must: 

  • be suitable for their age and ability 
  • give them the ability to read, write and work with numbers 
  • be suitable for any special educational needs they may have 
  • give them the skills for life within their community, but not limit their options for decisions they make later in life 

Learning should be your child’s main, weekly activity. Your child does not have to learn for a specific number of hours. As a guide, children in school spend between 22 and 25 hours per week on schoolwork, 38 weeks a year. 

See the Department for Education’s detailed home education guidance for parents.  

You can also contact us to discuss home educating your child. 

National Curriculum 

The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject.  

If you home educate your child, you do not have to follow the National Curriculum. 

If your child wants to take GCSEs or formal qualifications, following the National Curriculum is useful. 

Find out more about the National Curriculum on GOV.UK

Some parents prefer experiential, child-led learning, following the child’s interests. Some follow a more structured routine like a school routine. Some will do a combination of both. 

Key stage tests and exams 

Your child will not be tested at any stage and does not have to sit any exams.  

If your child does want to take GCSEs, IGCSEs or other exams, they can take them at an external examination centre. Your child can study the subjects they want and take the exams at any age. 

Your qualifications 

You do not need to be a qualified teacher or have any qualifications at all. You do not need to pay a tutor to educate your child. 

You do need to be well organised and have plenty of enthusiasm. 

Yearly report

A report must be submitted each year. It should give an overview of the education your child's received and the progress they've made.

Visit the Education Freedom website for help and guidance on writing your report.

Contact the home education team