This information is to support parents or carers who choose to educate their children away from a school setting. We also explain here Camden Local Authority’s procedures for making sure that arrangements meet legal requirements.

If you decide to home educate

Write to the head teacher if you plan to take your child out of school. The school will pass your child’s details to Camden or your local authority.

Camden Council will then write to you confirming that we have been informed that you are home educating. We will offer an appointment to meet with the Home Education Advisor.

Legal Requirements

Education for all children in the United Kingdom is compulsory, but attendance at a school is not, provided suitable arrangements are in place. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states

“it shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude, [and to any special needs he may have] either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

To be considered efficient, alternative or home education need not be the same as that a child would receive at school, but it must convince a reasonable person that the education is appropriate for the child.

When a child has special educational needs, there is a legal requirement to make particular arrangements. Guidance will be given in the child’s Education Health Special Educational Needs and Care Plan.

Meeting home educators

Home visits

The Local Authority (LA) has a duty to ensure that all children receive education. To do this, we will offer a meeting with you. The meeting is usually at Pancras Square library, but we can meet in other locations or at your home if you would prefer another location. If you prefer you can bring along a friend to the meeting.

You do not have to agree to the meeting and you can submit a report or evidence of the education provided for your child. Occasionally, home educators choose not to meet with our Home Education Advisor, which is fine and we will contact you about every six months to check if we can be of any further assistance.

Home Educators have found the meeting with our Home Education Advisor to be very helpful. We can offer advice on teaching and learning, signposting to resources to support your child’s education at home. We can put you in touch with other home education resources and groups. We can also discuss access to an exam centre for GCSE or applying for another school or a further education course.

After the meeting / report received

If the education is considered efficient, full time and suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of your child (taking into account any special needs they may have) we will contact you in a year’s time to arrange another meeting.

Occasionally, the education is considered to be broadly suitable but with concerns about certain aspects. If this is, the case arrangements will be made to visit you again in approximately three to six months. The nature of these concerns will be clearly explained to parents and carers and advice given on how to improve the education.

On the rare occasion that the quality of the education is considered to be failing to meet legal requirements, a referral will be made to the Education Welfare Service who will assist you with arrangements for your child to be enrolled at a school.

What should be taught

As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5, but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum. However, we expect that you will wish to provide the best possible education for your child.

Some families follow their own “home-made” curriculum using the internet and a compendium of published resources, but experience has shown that as the children get older and they may move to more formal qualifications and learning then the planning may have to become more structured, although this should not lessen the learning experience and the involvement of the parent.

The curriculum should be broadly based and include many of the features of a good education. This will enable your child to return to full time education in school if this is what you choose to do.

It is with this in mind that we make the following recommendations:

A broad and balanced curriculum would probably cover much of the following:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Information Technology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Personal Social and Health Education
  • Religious Education
  • and for secondary age pupils a modern foreign language.

The equivalent of four hours teaching time a day, for 200 days per year is sufficient time for providing a broad and balanced curriculum. The following features will promote effective learning and achievement:

  • regular planning of a variety of activities and tasks appropriate to the age, ability and aptitudes of the child
  • keeping records of what work is planned and has been covered, of educational visits, of activities undertaken
  • teaching listening, helping, asking questions, and encouraging progress as well as setting work
  • regular marking correcting mistakes, giving feedback on how work can be improved, celebrating achievements, keeping a record of progress
  • a range of resources and equipment for example books, materials, paints, educational games and puzzles, TV, computer, plus things normally available in the home: kitchen utensils for cooking, tools for working with wood, gardening and so on.
  • suitable space to work
  • regular use of local facilities and amenities such as libraries, museums, galleries, sports facilities, parks.
  • opportunities for regular physical exercise
  • opportunities for the child to mix socially with other children of similar age.

One of the advantages of Home Education is that families can move their children along the curriculum at a pace to individually suit the child. They can forge ahead on subjects where they have strengths, and consolidate with parallel material in areas that present difficulties.

In order to best support the learning of a young person it is a good idea to have a happy medium between an overly structured approach, which may put the young person off learning, and a totally hands off approach, which if too chaotic and not effective can lead to very little learning taking place.

There may be a tiny percentage of mature students who can totally lead their own education, but the vast majority of young people need to enjoy their work and for it to be structured and corrected at regular intervals. Without this stimulus they may lose focus.

Camden produces a termly newsletter for home educators with a range of curriculum resources and information. Copies are emailed to home educators when they join the mailing list.

Getting your child back into school

If you change your mind about educating your child at home, you can contact the Camden LA Admissions Officers on 020 7974 1625 at any time. We will be happy to advise you on school place availability and any other questions you may have.

Support organisations

This is a list of organisations that parents / carers may approach for independent information about education otherwise than at school. Our inclusion of an organisation is not an endorsement. You should talk with the individual organisations to see if they will be able to provide the service / support you or your child needs.

Home education organisations and resources (PDF)