What the law says about homeschooling in the UK

Homeschooling is legal in the UK. The law states that as the parent, you are responsible for ensuring that your child is properly educated if they are of compulsory school age. The compulsory school age for children in the UK is from five to sixteen years old.

The law only requires that a parent provides an education that is suitable for your child’s age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs. Though you are not required to follow the National Curriculum, your local council can make an informal enquiry to check if your child is getting a suitable education at home.

How to homeschool in the UK

Though many home-educating families choose to do some of the following, there are no legal requirements for parents to do the same:

  • Acquire a specific qualification: You do not need to study to be a teacher or obtain an aptitude certificate from your local council.
  • Specialised premises or equipment: It is advised that you create a proper learning environment for your child, but it does not need to meet particular requirements.
  • Teach the National Curriculum: You can select the most appropriate curriculum for your child, it does not need to align with the National Curriculum or be exhaustively extensive.
  • Give formal lessons: Many homeschooling parents choose this method of education because they want to create an open learning environment where it happens as they grow.
  • Follow public or private school schedules: Flexibility is one of the major reasons parents choose homeschooling, because they can set their own weekly and daily schedule to match their family’s needs.
  • Mark your child’s work: Your local council will not ask for a portfolio of your child’s work should they make an inquiry to establish if your child is getting a suitable education.
  • Match school-based, age specific standards: If you’ve elected home education because of your child’s needs or abilities that do not match age-based standards, you can choose how fast or how slow your child can progress at various levels.

How to start homeschooling in the UK

It is important to check with your local council what their requirements are for homeschooling. The following steps are based on the recommendations provided by the City of London.

Step 1

If your child is registered at a school you must advise the head teacher in writing of your intention to educate other than at school. Additionally in the letter you would be requesting that your child’s name is removed from the school roll. The school will then notify the Education and Early Years’ Service at the City of London Corporation.

If your child is not registered at a school but they are of statutory school age you are advised to notify your local council of your intention to educate other than at school.

Step 2

After notification you will receive a form to complete and return to the Education and Early Years’ Service at the address above, which details the arrangements you have made for providing your child with suitable education.

Step 3

On returning the form to the Education and Early Years Service:

  1. You will receive information about educating your child other than at school. This information will include useful names and addresses of organisations independent of the Local Authority.
  2. Arrangements will be made for curriculum and inspection services to be available to you.

An Inspector and an Educational Psychologist will then write to you to make an appointment to visit you to discuss your arrangements.

Step 4

The Inspector and Educational Psychologist will advise, support and review your child’s educational provision. The Inspector will compile a report based on their visit and any other information available. The Inspector will state in their report whether the education provided is satisfactory or not.

If the education is deemed satisfactory a review date will be arranged and your child’s name will be placed on the School Pupil Database, which currently holds details of all children educated other than in school.

If the education is deemed unsatisfactory a review visit will be arranged by the Inspector.

You would be allowed up to three months to make amendments to your arrangements should you wish to continue to pursue educating your child other than at school.

A further visit (within three months) would then be arranged by the Inspector to review the arrangements.

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, or online school, 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, but the onus won’t be on you to grasp and explain the concepts of the lesson material to your child.

Benefits of homeschooling

There are several reasons why parents would choose home education, but below are some of the primary reasons UK parents are turning to homeschooling.

  • Some students need academic flexibility due to their special talents (or needs). For example, homeschooling provides a suitable environment and schedule for future sports stars to complete their education while they pursue their talents.
  • Homeschooling, when combined with an appropriate curriculum, provides meaningful education that avoids over testing and develops understanding instead of memorising.
  • Parents opt for an internationally recognised curriculum if they have concerns about the quality of education at their closest (or local) public school, but cannot afford the costs of a private school.

Homeschooling Cost in the UK

The Cambridge curriculum (or International British Curriculum) is a popular homeschooling curriculum in the United Kingdom 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 £530 and £1 518 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 £1 902 and £3 642 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between £330 and £412 and there are no additional examination fees for Lower Secondary years 1 and 2. 

Annual online homeschooling fees for IGCSE students range between £2 052 and £4 101 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between £247 and £330 and, depending on the examination centre, exam fees range between £825-£1 650 collectively.

AS Level homeschooling fees

Annual online homeschooling fees for A Level students range between £1 446 and £3 760 per year for four subjects. Textbooks will cost between £330 and £412 and, depending on the examination centre, the subject, and the exam type, exam fees range between £825-£1 650 collectively.

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Homeschool Curriculums UK

The two popular homeschooling curriculums parents choose in the UK are:

  • IGCSE / Cambridge 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 is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers English, mathematics, science and makes sex and relationship education as well as relgisious education compulsory.














After school

Key Stage

First Year University Equivalent
First Year University Equivalent

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