All school-aged children in the United Kingdom have the right to a full-time education that is appropriate to their age, development and level of need.
While most children go to school, a growing proportion of parents are taking on the responsibility for their children’s learning themselves and choosing to home educate.
We are committed to supporting and working positively with families that home educate to ensure children are safe and receiving the best education possible.
Parents and carers’ rights and responsibilities
Parents and carers do not need to be qualified teachers to home educate their child. There is also no requirement to follow the National Curriculum, though some find this helpful if they intend to make use of public examinations later.
Parents and carers must, however, be able to provide their child with a suitable, full-time education or provide access to means through which this can be achieved.
Parents and carers can choose how, when and with whom learning takes place. They are not required to have formalised learning plans, lessons, or assessments. There is also no requirement to adhere to the age-related learning expectations adhered to in maintained schools.
We may contact parents and carers to discuss home education. There is no requirement to respond, but in cases where additional information is needed about a child’s learning or welfare, this engagement is advisable and can help prevent statutory action being taken.
You can find more information
Somerset County Council’s Duties and Responsibilities
Local authorities have a number of duties to ensure that all children are kept safe and have access to suitable, full-time education, including those that are home educated.
You can find details of these duties
Home Education Process
Most home educated children enjoy a personalised and fluid way of learning that is aligned with their learning style, needs and aspirations. Many also benefit from the Somerset’s network of support groups within its home educating communities that provide valued support and, guidance and advice to parents and carers.
In the small number of cases where home education is deemed unsuitable, we have a duty to make enquiries and act to ensure adequate educational provision is put in place.
You can find details about how we work with parents and carers who home educate
There is no requirement for home educated children to sit public exams, such as GCSEs and A Levels, but they can do so as private candidates.
Parents and carers who wish to have their child entered for a public exam will need to approach local exam centres (typically schools and colleges) that accept private candidates. An exam entry fee will be payable and children sitting exams as private candidates are required to do so under the exam conditions provided by the exam centre.
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) holds an interactive list of exam centres and that accept private candidates, which is searchable by postcode and examination type. Independently registered exam centres can also be used, where available.
There is more information