Do I Need Formal Qualifications to Home Educate?

Parents making decisions about home schooling their children tend to be thinking first about the benefits or disadvantages that a home education would give their child, and it may only be once the decision has been made to home educate that he or she begins to consider the actual process and reality of their own role as a teacher. This article will look at any laws, regulation, assessment and monitoring process that covers the position of the home educator of a home schooled child.

In Order To Home School My Child, Do I Have To Have A Teaching Qualification?

Many new home teachers are surprised to find that the answer to this question is no, in order to provide a child’s education at home, parents (or any other home educator figures) are not required to have a teaching qualification, or in fact any subject or other qualification. Many home teaching parents are very surprised to discover the relative lack of rules or regulation monitoring the home educator.

While Home Schooling my Child, do I Have to Follow Particular Teaching Practices?

Again, new home educating parents may be surprised to find that they are not required to follow any curricula, including the National Curriculum, with their home school child, the teaching timetable (or indeed, a decision to learn without any kind of timetable or teaching structure) is open to the home schooling family to determine. Nor do home schooling families have to learn for or participate in national tests like Key Stage tests or Standard Assessment Tests – these are all non-compulsory.

The rules governing home schooling – which comes under the phrase ‘education otherwise’ in the Education Act legislation – focuses instead on the child’s ultimate education. Parents who are home schooling their child have to ensure that the child receives an education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, but the method or means in which that education is obtained can be determined by family, parents or child.

As such, there are no rules on parents who are home schooling following a particular timetable like that within the school day in mainstream schools, nor do home schooling students have to learn for a certain number of hours, days or terms. More information on determining your own structure or teaching style can be found elsewhere on this site. Some Local Educational Authorities (LEAs) may offer help, support or guidance to parents starting as home teachers, while some parents ask their child’s former school (if applicable) for help borrowing resources such as National Curriculum materials, but the school or LEA are not under any obligation to provide this help.

Likewise, no funding is available to home schooling parents (usually) – and if a parent is giving up their own career to teach a child at home, this needs to be considered. Central government does not provide funds for parents who make the decision to home school their child.

Home educators are not subject to any kind of formal assessment that might occur in schools, such as inspection or testing of pupils to check the education is being aptly provided. The law determines that while parents have to provide their children with what is termed a ‘suitable’ education, but intricacies of such a term are unspecified and the nature and testing of that education is not defined. Some LEAs might check up on home schooled children to check that they are receiving a ‘suitable’ education, but this might occur in a variety of ways, including a letter to parents or request for evidence of work, or may, in some areas, not occur at all – it depends on individual authorities, and will not involve a formal inspection.