All children between the ages of five and 16 have to be in education, and between 16-18 in education, employment, or training. Not all children receive their education at school. Some parents or carers choose to teach their children at home. This is called Elective Home Education.
Those who decide to teach their children at home should provide an education which is suitable for your age and ability. If you have any particular special educational needs, your parents need to take this into account when planning your lessons and other activities.
Instant Expert: Read all about home education in Oxfordshire, including what support is available for parents.
Children who are home educated should receive as much high-quality education as those who attend school. A normal school year is 22 to 25 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. A home curriculum should give you just as much learning, but there are no rules about timetables. How learning is delivered is entirely up to your parents.
Crucial: Some children and parents decide after doing home education for a while that they would like to go back to school or start school. Find out more about School Admissions and how to apply for a school place in Oxfordshire.
What kind of education will I get at home?
What you learn is up to your parents. Unlike children who attend school, a child in Elective Home Education does not have to follow the National Curriculum.
You can still take examinations, and are encouraged to do so. Most employers will want you to have qualifications like GCSEs when applying for jobs. Your parents will need to arrange this (including paying any fees) as they are in change of your education.
There are local and national organisations which provide home schooling services to parents. These can range from exam services to full year-round curriculum support, video tuition and more. Your parents will need to arrange this (including paying any fees) as they are in change of your education.
There are also local and national support groups which provide support, resources and opportunities to socialise and make new friends.
Crucial: Oxfordshire County Council's Elective Home Education Team works with colleges to run courses for 14-16 year old home-educated young people, and the health service to help EHE families get health services normally provided at school, such as immunization.
Some of the groups which can support your parents to provide home education are:
You can find more about support for home educators on the Oxfordshire County Council website.
Did you know? Some Further Education Colleges have study places for young people aged 14-16 who are educated at home. You may be able to study GCSEs and more at college while being mainly educated at home. Contact your local FE College for more information.
Do I get any support from school or the local authority?
If you are being home educated, your parents have responsibility for your education. Your school has no more responsibility for you after your parents have told them that you are being home educated. They have to do this by sending a letter to the Head.
If the County Council is informed that a child is being educated at home (if you have been taken out of a state school, this will happen automatically) they will offer to visit the family to offer support and make sure that the child is receiving an education as part of their duty of care to all young people. Parents or carers can refuse this support. There is no legal obligation for a local authority to visit a home educated child.
Instant Expert: More about being educated at home from Oxfordshire County Council.
Elective Home Education Services
The Local Authority can give parents advice and support by phone, email and home visits from Elective Home Education Link Workers. This only happens if the parents want this support. This team links with colleges which can provide courses for home educated young people, with the health service to make sure home educated children receive the same health services as children at school, and with the Education, Employment and Training team to ensure you receive information about learning choices, apprenticeships and other opportunities for young people. They can also refer you to other services if you or your parents need more support.
Crucial: Your education should be right for you. Sometimes children disagree with their parents about whether home education is best for them, or might feel the need for support from people outside their family. If you have concerns about your education, you can contact the Elective Home Education Team, if you have health concerns (including mental health) you can contact the School Health Nurse team. You can also contact us her on Oxme - just click on the Live Chat button on any page.
Questions and answers
Here are some of the questions young people have asked about home education:
I have a problem with bullying, will home education help?
Your school has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for learning. If you are being bullied at school, raise it with your teacher or other staff at school. They will take action to stop the bullying. If you decide to home educate, the people who were bullying you may still find ways to continue; online, for example, or in the local area. Some young people find it empowering to insist on their rights to be educated in a safe environment. Taking action to stop bullying can also win you friends.
Will home education help if I have anxiety which stops me going to school or college?
Anxiety is a major problem for young people at the moment, but it is treatable and most people learn to manage their anxiety successfully. You can get support to manage anxiety from your GP, School Health Nurse and other health services. Managing anxiety is easier when you have a regular routine that gets you out of the house, provides social and educational stimulation, and offers opportunities to do positive activities with other people. A good home education programme should do all these things.
I need to look after someone at home, or keep them company, is home education the answer?
Your school should have support in place for Young Carers. Talk to a teacher or someone else at your school. You have a right to education, and this should not be disrupted by providing care to others.
I want to be educated at home, but I am worried I might miss my friends or be lonely, what can I do?
It can be difficult to stay in touch with friends from school when you have switched to being educated at home, just because you see less of them. Making an effort to get names, addresses and contact details can help with this, as can inviting friends round and making an effort to stay in touch. There are also socials and meet-ups for children whose parents provide their education at home. Many children also find it helps to join a club, group or sports team.
Will people find it strange that I am educated at home?
Every year, thousands of parents decide to educate their children at home. Famous people educated at home include Elijah Wood, Serena and Venus Williams, Taylor Swift, Emma Watson (who went on to study at Oxford University!) and Justin Bieber. As long as your education is good quality, supports you to get the qualifications you need and is right for you, then it does not matter where you learn.