Parents who decide their children would thrive with a home school education have usually examined the motivations and repercussions of home teaching in detail, but will tend to retain concerns about the actual practical process of themselves becoming a teacher. This article will look at the law surrounding their regulation and assessment of a teacher of a home school child.
I Want to Home School My Child: Do I Have to be a Qualified Teacher?
No, to educate a child at home, you do not need to be a qualified teacher. In fact, many home tutoring parents are surprised at the lack of regulation involved in the decision to home educate. Parents are not required to follow the National Curriculum with their home school child, and national tests like Key Stage tests are also non-compulsory.
The rules governing parents who are home tutoring their child state that a child must be given a full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, whether this is provided within school or ‘education otherwise’, a phrase which has been adopted by a group (Education Otherwise) which offers support and information for parents home schooling their child.
Parents who become their child’s teacher do not need to follow a specific school timetable of a certain number of hours, days or terms of teaching per year. Some Local Educational Authorities (LEAs) may offer to provide help, support or guidance to parents starting as home teachers, such as National Curriculum materials that may help the parent to structure their child’s education, if that is desired. Parents should contact their LEA directly to find out more about this possibility.
Otherwise, support groups such as the Home Education Advisory Service (HEAS) and Education Otherwise can provide advice on sourcing educational materials such as textbooks. Lesson and teaching ideas are available elsewhere on this site, too.
However, it is worth noting while making the decision whether to home school a child, especially if a parent is giving up their own career to do so, that just as parents who decide to educate their children in the private sector have to self fund this route, no funds are made available from central government for parents who make the decision to home school their child.
Assessment of Home TeachersJust as students who are home educated do not have to undertake courses which lead to qualifications, like GCSE and A levels, or assessment tests such as Key Stage exams, home educators are not subject to assessment through SATs (Standard Assessment Tests that children in state education take in school years two, six and nine.
Parents have to provide their children with what is termed a ‘suitable’ education, but the nature and testing of that education is not defined. Some LEAs might visit home learning children to check up on their progress, as well as that of their teacher, but this depends on individual authorities, and will usually involve an informal check rather than a structured exam or testing session.