Loading please wait

How to start homeschooling

Here at EdPlace we know that choosing to home educate your child is no small undertaking. And yet, deciding to start homeschooling your child at home can be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. So much so that, according to the BBC, the number of children being home schooled in the UK had risen by 40% in the three years prior to 2018!

Here at EdPlace we like to think we’re the one-stop shop for all your queries and questions about home education. We’ll be your helpful hero and your educational guide, with you every step of the way; from the moment you need homeschooling resources to the day your child starts their GCSE revision. We’ll also give you the low down on homeschooling costs, homeschooling curriculums and everything in-between to prepare you for your home education journey. 

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J R R Tolkien

We’re here to help you keep your feet, to be the Gandalf to your Frodo. There are lots of advantages and benefits of homeschooling, so read on to see where the wonderful world of home education might take you and your child!

Where to begin with homeschooling in the UK

Your rights

UK parents enjoy a huge amount of freedom when it comes to homeschooling their children. As a parent in the UK you have every right to educate your child at home, either full or part time. You don’t even need permission to homeschool, provided you are ticking all the boxes as you go (keep reading to find out which boxes need ticking!).

In keeping with the 1996 Education Act, it is a legal requirement to ensure a child is given a full time education appropriate to their “age, ability and aptitude” upon reaching the age of five. That education can be received in a formal school setting or at home from you - the choice is yours.

The term ‘legal requirements’ may well bring a little sweat to your brow and a first read over the 1996 Education Act might make home schooling in the UK seem like a daunting task. However, EdPlace aims to make homeschooling your child and jumping through the hoops as straight forward and easy as possible leaving you free to inspire your child’s learning. Using expert-created home schooling resources to educate your child can help take the pressure off you, and make your homeschooling journey easier as a result. You’ve got this, parent!

In the UK you have every right to educate your child at home, either full or part time. You don’t even need permission

Miss Amy, teacher and homeschooling writer

Who to inform

If your child is currently registered in a UK-based school you will need to inform the Headmaster or Headmistress in writing that you will be withdrawing your child from formal education and will be homeschooling them from now on. If you wish to teach your child full time at home then the school will have to accept your decision. If, however, you’re hoping to divide your child’s education between school and home education on a part time basis you will need the Head’s agreement. They do have the right to refuse to accept your child on a flexi basis, so there may be some negotiation involved here. For more information you can check out our section on homeschooling rules.

EdPlace aims to make homeschooling your child and jumping through the metaphorical hoops as straightforward as possible, leaving you free to inspire your child’s learning. You’ve got this!

If your child has never been registered in a school and you have not applied for a place for them, then there is no need for you to inform anyone of your wish to homeschool. It is recommended by some local councils that you do inform them of your intention to homeschool your child, however, you certainly don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Your local authority has a duty of care to ensure that all children are receiving their legal entitlement to education and therefore, even if you choose not to inform them directly, you can probably expect to hear from them in the future. Most councils like to maintain active and supportive communication with home educators to ensure that the children are having all of their academic needs met whilst being homeschooled in the UK.

Do I need to worry about Ofsted?

If you’ve ever uttered the word ‘Ofsted’ around a teacher you’ll be familiar with the look of pale horror and the slightly green tinge of dread at the mere thought of official school inspections.

The good news is that, as a home educator, you’re not legally subject to any such formal checks or inspections. Using UK home schooling activities and other resources are a great way to help you provide your child with a great standard of education without being worried about any checks! Rejoice!

While you are under no obligation to do so it will likely work in your favour and, at the very least, help to avoid any unnecessary stress to maintain an open rapport with your local council.

Miss Amy, teacher and homeschooling writer

Getting started with UK homeschooling

So, you’ve done it, you’ve decided to take the plunge and homeschool your child. Awesome! You’ve informed your child’s school and you’ve set up a space in your home for lessons. Now the only thing to decide is what your lessons will contain and how will you deliver them. It can be tricky to work out where to start when you first start to homeschool, but we’re here to help!

The great news is that you don’t need to be a qualified teacher to be able to undertake home schooling in the UK, so there’s no need to check out the nearest homeschooling courses (unless you want to of course!). As a home educator you also have a huge amount of freedom when it comes to deciding what to teach your child and you are under no obligation whatsoever to follow the National Curriculum, although many parents choose to do so. You're free to create your own method of home education; our homeschooling topics and activities can help you create your own work, whilst also covering the National Curriculum if you’d prefer to stay traditional.

If you are new to teaching and home schooling you might find the National Curriculum a good starting point from which to draft your own scheme of work, and from that foundation you could then tailor your home schooling curriculum to your child, their interests and abilities. The world really is your educational oyster and EdPlace is here to help you find that pedagogy pearl!

All of our UK homeschooling resources, interactive worksheets, assessments and revision materials have been written and designed by experienced teachers and are aligned to the National Curriculum. Once you’ve decided what you’d like to teach read on to find some brilliant tips and guidance from the professional and experienced teachers at EdPlace on lesson planning and delivering your lessons.

Homeschooling FAQs

What are the requirements for homeschooling (elective home education) in the UK?

Parents must make sure that their child receives full time education from the age of 5, although they don’t need to follow the National Curriculum. If the child is currently enrolled in a school, they must inform the school in writing that they plan to withdraw their child. The school must accept if you’re taking your child out completely. They can refuse if you want to send your child to school some of the time, and the local council may make an ‘informal enquiry’ to make sure your child is getting a suitable education from home. They can serve a school attendance order if they think your child needs to be taught at school. If your child is already attending school because of a school attendance order, you must get permission from your local council before you can educate them at home. 

If your child has SEND and attends a special school, you’ll need to get the council’s permission to educate them at home. You do not need the council’s permission if your child attends a mainstream school, even if they have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Do you have to do GCSEs if you’re homeschooled?

Although homeschooled children are not required to take GCSEs, many still choose to do so as they are a standard qualification which can lead to further education and employment down the road. If they do want to take GCSEs, parents can arrange for their children to do so as a private candidate. 

Is home schooling a good idea?

If parents are prepared to dedicate plenty of time and effort to provide a comprehensive education for their child, as well as finding learning resources and potentially a homeschooling tutor, then it can be a great idea. It requires careful planning but can lead to flexibility and great results!

How many hours a week should I homeschool in the UK?

In the UK, there’s no legal requirement for the amount of hours a child needs to be homeschooled - however, mainstream, state-funded schools are required to provide a 32.5-hour week.

How do homeschoolers take exams?

Homeschoolers can take exams by registering as a private candidate, either at local schools or at exam centres, who will administer the exams and handle all necessary paperwork. Parents must ensure that all registration deadlines are met, and any associated fees are paid.


Get started for free

Access thousands of homeschooling resources

Already have an account? Login here

"When I chose to home educate my daughter because of bullying I chose EdPlace as an extra teaching support. I think its great and so does my daughter, she uses it daily with me and by herself and I can keep track of how she is doing and what subjects we need to concentrate more on. Brilliant and recommended." Jess

"I home school my son and have done so for 7 years now. I am so pleased I came across EdPlace, invaluable, and easy to navigate. Great value for money. A great asset." Jenny H

"I would recommend EdPlace to anybody. I am homeschooling my daughter and it’s the best thing online plus it’s well worth the money" Denise Webster

"Recently had to start homeschooling my child in a very important time in their academic career. Helping as a tool in Mathematics, English and Science. The way that your child can do assessment tests and then is guided in which areas they need to move forward in is great and when they get something wrong it is explained so that they can try to advance and not just be told it is wrong. Very impressed. Thank You" Heather

EdPlace resources are home educator approved!

We’re trusted and used by home educators to supplement learning.

Get started
  • National Tutoring Awards 2023 Shortlisted / Parents
    National Tutoring Awards 2023 Shortlisted
  • Private-Tutoring-WINNER-EducationInvestor-Awards / Parents
    Winner - Private Tutoring
  • Bett Awards Finalist / Parents
  • Winner - Best for Home Learning / Parents
    Winner - Best for Home Learning / Parents

Get started for free.

Get started