What the law says about homeschooling in Ireland

The Irish constitution recognises parents as the primary educators of their children which means that they can choose to homeschool their children. However, the law also clearly states that all children should start their education no later than the age of six.

TULSA stresses that even though some parents may choose to employ specialist teachers, tutors and online educational programmes to provide home-based learning; the overall responsibility for the education provided remains with the parents.

How to start homeschooling in Ireland

To start homeschooling your child in Ireland you’ll need to register with the Education Welfare Services (which forms part of TULSA). You’ll either need to do this when your child turns six, or when you remove your child from school.

The board will then arrange a meeting or phone call to discuss the formalities of registering your child for homeschooling. After the meeting, TULSA will make a decision on your suitability for homeschool and you’ll be informed of their decision in writing.

You do not have to wait for TULSA’s final approval before you withdraw your child from school. You can start homeschooling once you’ve made contact with Education Welfare Services stating your intent.
If your child has a place at school, it will be held for them until TULSA’s decision is confirmed. While you're busy with the application process, the school will remove your child’s name from the roll book for a record of attendance.

What to expect in the Education Welfare Services meeting

The purpose of the interview with Education Welfare Services is to ensure that you’ve given thought to all aspects of your child’s educational needs, and that you have an appropriate (physical) area in which they can learn.

If your child is in the secondary school stage they might also enquire about your plans on how you’ll help your child reach higher education if they want to.

Education Welfare Services will also provide you with information on what’s expected of you and the requirements of your child reentering mainstream education.

Difference between homeschooling and online homeschooling

When choosing to homeschool, you may elect to purchase a homeschooling programme that resembles distance learning. The curriculum provider will then send you the learning materials and course schedule, but the onus will be on you or a third party tutor to work through the content and explain the concepts to your child.

An online homeschooling platform will give you (and your child) access to a structured course plan and video content that will assist you in educating your child. It is important to note that you or a third party tutor will still need to be involved in your child’s day-to-day learning, the online homeschooling platform will help explain the concepts of the lesson material to your child.

What homeschool curriculum you need to follow in Ireland

When you opt for homeschooling, you do not need to follow the National Curriculum, but the State has a duty to ensure that children receive a certain minimum education. You as the primary educator can choose how the education is provided.

The laws do not define what a “certain minimum education” is but provide broad guidelines what a child’s education should do:

  • Be suited to your child's age, ability, aptitude and personality
  • Be responsive to your child’s individual needs, taking account of the areas of learning that your child is interested in
  • Ensure that your child's personal potential is enhanced and not suppressed
  • Address the immediate and future needs of the child, in the context of the cultural, economic and social environment
  • Provide a reasonably balanced range of learning experiences, so that no one aspect of your child’s learning is emphasised to the exclusion of others
  • Develop your child's personal and social skills and prepare them to be a responsible citizen
  • Contribute to your child's moral development
  • Provide opportunities for your child to develop their intellectual capacities and understanding

Homeschooling Cost Ireland

The cost of homeschooling will depend on the curriculum, platform, student level and the subjects you select.

Using an online learning platform gives students access to professionally trained teachers who are specialists in their field. This alleviates some of the pressure parents may face to master and teach difficult concepts.

Homeschooled Children’s entitlement to benefits

Some sources state that when homeschooling your child you would need to pay for the same benefits that children attending a recognised school receive. However, according to TULSA’s frequently asked questions, all children and young people on the section 14 Register are entitled to the same status as a child receiving their education in a recognised school.

Your child will therefore still have access to eye and hearing tests, and vaccination programmes etc.

Curriculum and exam costs of homeschooling

The Cambridge curriculum (or International British Curriculum) is a popular homeschooling curriculum in Ireland and is chosen for its flexibility and teaching methodologies. The homeschooling costs for the Cambridge Curriculum will be influenced by the following factors:

  • Selected platform and its fees
  • Textbooks
  • Exam fees

The costing provided below is for illustrative purposes only, and will vary depending on the number of subjects, the examination venues, and the textbook formats you’ve elected to buy (digital copy vs. printed textbook). 

Primary stage homeschooling costs

Annual online homeschooling fees for primary stage students range between €629 and €1 802 per year for three subjects. Textbooks will cost between €82 and €165 and at this level there are no additional examination fees. 

Secondary stage and IGCSE homeschooling costs

Annual online homeschooling fees for lower secondary stage students range between €2 258 and €4 324 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between €391 and €489 and there are no additional examination fees for Lower Secondary years 1 and 2. 

Annual online homeschooling fees for IGCSE students range between €2 436 and €4 869 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between €293 and €391 and, depending on the examination centre, exam fees range between €979-€1 959 collectively.

AS Level homeschooling fees

Annual online homeschooling fees for A Level students range between €1 717 and €4 464 per year for four subjects. Textbooks will cost between €391 and €489 and, depending on the examination centre, the subject, and the exam type, exam fees range between €979-€1 959 collectively.

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Homeschooling curriculums you can start with

Parents in Ireland have access to various resources that provide an outline to create their own curriculum. However, many parents find it daunting to create a curriculum for their child to follow and choose to follow a preset curriculum to ensure that they meet the minimum education requirement.

The popular pre-set curriculum choices in Ireland are:

  • IGCSE / British Curriculum - A globally recognised system of learning and assessment that allows for a seamless integration with national curricula worldwide. It offers more flexibility for students to work at their own pace and students are able to write exams in exam centres anywhere in the world.
  • The National Curriculum: The National Curriculum of Northern Ireland identifies the minimum requirements of skills for each subject and the activities to develop and apply the skills.














After school

National Curriculum

Senior Infants
First Class
Second Class
Third class
Fourth Class
Fifth Class
Sixth Class
Junior Cycle: First Year
Junior Cycle: First Year
Junior Cycle: Second Year
Junior Cycle: Third Year
Senior Cycle: Fifth Year
Senior Cycle: Leaving Certificate

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