Getting Started

Home education - getting started

Helping you get started on your home ed journey.


There are a myriad of reasons to decide to home ed. Maybe you've decided to 'worldschool' or travel, spend more time together as a family, and facilitate your child's unique interests; you have a child with additional needs, they're being bullied, their mental health is suffering, or they are just less well suited to a school environment. The decision to home educate full time is usually arrived at after much thought and research (and often much worry). It requires commitment and a lot of time, and there will be tough days; that's normal. Home education tends to be an educational philosophy and lifestyle instead of a short-term solution.


The first thing you would need to do - if your child is in school - is to deregister them. Deregistering is a very simple process (providing it is an English mainstream school, i.e. not a special school, as the process is slightly different for children registered at those). You do need consent to deregister from a special or SEN school; you cannot just stop sending your child. But this is unnecessary if your child is in a mainstream school with an EHCP - just follow the standard deregistration process. It's just a matter of sending a letter (or email) to the headteacher informing them that you are now home-educating; this takes your child’s name off the school register. It is then the school's duty to inform the Local Authority, not yours. Here is a template letter that you can use.

File Deregistration letter.docx

You can immediately begin EHE (Elective Home Education); you do not need anyone's permission or need to give any prior notice to the school or attend any exit 'meetings' - but you must do the letter. Do remember to get a receipt from the school. Once you've deregistered, your legal duty is complete. This link has UK deregistration info, including details for Wales, Scotland, and Special Schools (and what to do if the school is difficult):

If your child has never been to school, and you haven't accepted a place for them at one - you do not need to do anything or inform anyone of your decision.

If your child was all set to move to secondary school and you've changed your mind, inform the school and LA admissions that you no longer require the place.

 If your child is starting home ed after finishing primary school, and you are not applying for a secondary school place, you do not need to do anything.

If you’re moving area and your child is currently registered at a school, you must let the school know (in writing) that you’ve left and no longer require the school place. You can state it's as you're moving home. There's no need to say you’re now home ed or where you are moving.

You don't need to contact the LA in all the above instances. If you become known to them, don't worry - and if they ask for details of your child's education, confirm that you are home-educating.

For most children, when they are first removed from school, a period of 'de-schooling' may be necessary (as a rule of thumb, one month for every year a young person was in school). Don't mention that you're 'de-schooling' to your LA - legally, education must be provided as soon as you dereg. Take some time out, relax, and go with the flow - don't rush into following a curriculum or buying lots of resources. It is a time to adjust, discover new ways of learning, have fun, and give the child time to recover from any negative experiences they may have had at school. As the parent, you will need time to find your feet and get out of the school mindset too.

Most LAs have an EHE (Elective Home Education) department; some are quick to contact you, and some can take ages. If they do contact you, don't panic. Read all letters or emails carefully, and don't ignore them - some will be introduction letters or voluntary forms requiring no response. It would be best to tell them you wish to keep all future communications in writing. If they request a visit, you can decline; whether you meet with them is up to you. Legally, you're not obliged to have visits or let them meet your children. You also do not have to provide evidence of their work. This link covers local authority dealings in more depth. Your local Facebook home ed groups will also have guidance for this.

There isn't one way to home ed - and it's different for every family, changing as needed for your child. There is much to be learned from daily life and play, and you can try many other things and approaches. Don't be afraid to deregister; remember that your child can return to school anytime; it's not an irreversible choice (though it's most likely you won't want to!). Find and go to social H.E. meetups; Facebook is great for this. Not just for the social aspect but also because it's very reassuring to chat with other home-educating families; we're a supportive bunch. You'll discover we all have wobbles and bad days, and that's normal - it's because we care and we're developing alongside our children. Do not worry too much; you know what is best for your family.

One of the many beautiful things about home education (along with visiting places when everyone else is at school: quiet, no queues, easy to park, cheaper off-peak prices, etc.) is that it is flexible - you can tailor the education and the style of learning to fit your child's individual needs, interests and passions. You do not have to legally follow the National Curriculum, though being aware of it is helpful and can give you ideas for topics. Some people are very structured, with set subjects and timetables, etc. Others are entirely unstructured, doing little 'sit down work' and prefer allowing the child to develop and pursue their interests by whatever means suits them best. There are many 'styles' or learning methods that can change regularly over time, adapting to your family.

Good luck in your own H.E. journey.


There's a handy beginners' guide to home educating in the UK, free on Twinkl: H.E. Beginners Guide

There are some helpful videos on their YouTube channel, too.