Homeschooling in Britain: A Parent’s Guide for 2025

Homeschooling in Britain is continuing to grow in popularity. And for good reason! With more pressures on schools and children than ever before, parents are increasingly seeking an alternative education that provides opportunities for flexibility, a personalised curriculum and a safe learning environment. 

If you’re thinking about homeschooling in the UK, you’ll find everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide. We explain what homeschooling involves, dive into the advantages and disadvantages, as well as the latest rules and regulations when removing your child from traditional schooling.

Homeschooling in Britain: An Introduction

What is homeschooling?

Homeschooling in Britain, also known as home education or “elective” home education, is an educational practice where children are taught at home, rather than a traditional state or private school. Parents or guardians take on the role of educators, planning and delivering lessons tailored to their child’s individual needs and learning pace. 

When homeschooling, teaching might be solely provided by the parent or guardian, or supplemented by subject-specific tutors and academic coaching

Homeschooling can encompass a massive variety of teaching styles, from structured, curriculum-based approaches to more flexible, child-led learning.

How does homeschooling work?

If your child is currently in mainstream education and you want to start homeschooling – your first step is telling the school. They must legally accept your request if you’re removing your child full-time.

Schools can refuse if you want your child to attend part-time, though. This is known as flexi-schooling.

We’ll cover legal requirements in more detail, but as a rough overview, homeschooling in Britain involves:

  • Initial decision-making: Parents decide to homeschool their child based on personal, educational or situational reasons.
  • Deregistration: If the child is already enrolled in a school (even if they haven’t attended), parents must inform the school in writing of their intention to deregister their child.
  • Curriculum planning: Parents design a curriculum that meets their child’s educational needs. This can be structured around the national curriculum or customised to focus on specific interests, needs and skills.
  • Daily teaching: Parents provide daily instruction and educational activities. This can include traditional lessons, hands-on experiments, field trips and other learning experiences. The amount of time your child spends on formal learning is up to you.
  • Assessment: Exams are optional when homeschooling in the UK, but regular assessments, both formal and informal, help track your child’s progress and ensure they’re meeting goals.
  • Support and resources: Many homeschooling families join local or online homeschooling groups for support, resources and social interaction with other homeschoolers.

Why choose homeschooling in the UK?

Homeschooling offers a unique educational experience tailored to the needs and preferences of your child. Many parents are drawn to homeschooling because it allows for a more individualised approach to learning, greater flexibility in scheduling, and the opportunity to create a nurturing learning environment at home. 

Here are some key advantages.

Pros of homeschooling in Britain

  • Customised learning: Tailor the curriculum to fit your child’s learning style, interests and pace. One-to-one teaching, whether from parents or tutors, is often more effective than large group settings.
  • Flexibility: Create a flexible lesson schedule that suits your family’s lifestyle and allows for more hands-on and experiential learning. No school runs. No prescribed holidays.
  • Safe learning environment: Provide a safe and supportive environment free from bullying, peer pressure and other social issues – especially for children with additional needs that may go unnoticed in  large classes.
  • Stronger family bonds: Spend more quality time with your children, fostering closer family relationships.
  • Enhanced focus: Spend more time on subjects that are challenging or of particular interest to the child. Particularly helpful for academically, artistically or athletically gifted children.
  • Life skills: Opportunity to teach practical life skills and values that may not be covered in a traditional school curriculum.

Although you need to formally notify and deregister your child from school, you don’t need to provide your reasons for homeschooling. They must accept your request, no matter the personal reasons.

What is the biggest disadvantage of homeschooling?

While homeschooling can be a highly rewarding experience, it’s important to understand the potential challenges and drawbacks. Homeschooling requires a significant time and financial commitment, and it can present unique educational hurdles. 

Before deciding to homeschool in the UK, it’s essential to weigh these potential disadvantages to ensure you can address and manage them effectively.

Cons of homeschooling in Britain

  • Time: There’s no way around it. Homeschooling requires a significant time commitment from parents, who must plan and deliver all lessons.
  • Financial burden: Homeschooling involves additional costs for educational materials, extracurricular activities, academic tutors and loss of income if a parent must stay home.
  • Lack of socialisation: If not managed appropriately, limited interaction with peers can affect social development and lead to feelings of isolation.
  • Limited resources: Access to specialised resources, facilities and extracurricular activities may be restricted compared to traditional schools.
  • Educational gaps: Parents may lack the expertise to teach certain subjects (especially as children get older), potentially leading to gaps in the child’s education.

Can I take my child out of school and homeschool?

Yes, you can absolutely take your child out of school and homeschool.

In the UK, parents have the legal right to educate their children at home. This is outlined in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996. The act states children must have “full-time education” suitable for their “age, ability and aptitude” as well as any special educational needs. This doesn’t necessarily involve school.

If you’re considering homeschooling, here are the key regulations to consider.


If your child is already enrolled in school, you must inform the school in writing of your decision to homeschool. They’ll remove your child’s name from the register.

If your child is at school because of a school attendance order, you’ll need your local council to formally agree before removing your child.

Local authority involvement

Local authorities may make informal inquiries to ensure a suitable education is provided. They can request information about your educational approach and may visit your home, though you are not legally obliged to allow home visits.

You must provide an education that’s suitable to your child’s age, ability, aptitude, and any special educational needs. Education must be full-time, but there is no strict definition of what constitutes “full-time” education in a homeschool setting.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, you must ensure their special educational needs are met. The local authority may review the EHC plan to ensure appropriate provision.

If your child attends a SEN school, your local council will need to formally agree to a homeschooling request. You don’t need the council’s permission if your child goes to a mainstream school, even if they’ve got an EHC plan.

Record Keeping

While not legally required, keeping detailed records of your child’s educational progress, activities, exams and assessments is beneficial, especially if questioned by the local authority.

Homeschooling in Britain: Costs and Monitoring

How is homeschooling monitored?

In the UK, local councils are responsible for ensuring homeschooled children receive a suitable education. 

While there is no formal inspection process, local authorities might make informal enquiries to check the education provided meets required standards. 

This could involve:

  • Initial contact: After deregistering your child from school, the local authority may contact you to discuss your homeschooling plans.
  • Educational evidence: You might be asked to provide information about your educational approach, curriculum and resources. Some parents choose to submit a written report or portfolio of their child’s work.
  • Home visits: Although not mandatory, some local authorities request home visits to discuss your child’s progress and review their learning environment. You can choose to meet them elsewhere if you prefer.

If your council feels you aren’t providing a suitable education for your child, they can serve a school attendance order. This means your child must attend formal education, or you’re liable for prosecution.

Does Ofsted inspect homeschooling in the UK?

Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), does not inspect homeschooling directly. Instead, Ofsted works with local authorities to ensure they’re fulfilling their duties regarding home-educated children. 

Local authorities must have procedures in place to monitor and support homeschooling families. But the inspection of individual homeschooled children falls outside Ofsted’s remit.

What will it cost to homeschool my child?

Homeschooling comes with a variety of costs, which vary depending on your approach and resources. At the least, you’ll have to supply textbooks, revision books, pens, paper, computer software and subscriptions to online resources. 

As well as these “basics”, you should factor in:

  • Extracurricular activities: Fees for sports, music lessons, art classes and any other activities.
  • Field trips and educational outings: Costs associated with museum visits, historic houses, science centres and educational experiences such as trips abroad.
  • Exam fees: Registration fees for exam boards. For AQA (for example), fees start around £50 for GCSEs and rise to £200 for some A Level subjects. You’ll also have to register as a private candidate at a school, college or exam centre to sit exams. Here, prices range from £50 to £300 per subject.
  • Private tutoring: Hiring academic tutors for subjects where parents lack expertise, or academic coaches to improve your child’s study skills and confidence. One-to-one tuition generally starts from £40 per hour.

These costs can easily add up when homeschooling, and it’s essential to budget accordingly. While some families manage with minimal expenses, others invest significantly in their child’s education.

How much money do you get for homeschooling in the UK?

In the UK, the government doesn’t provide direct financial support for homeschooling families. Unlike some countries where homeschooling grants or subsidies are available, British parents are responsible for all costs associated with home education.

That said, some local authorities may offer access to resources or support services, such as online learning platforms, access to local leisure centres or borrowing resources from libraries. They might also run groups and get-togethers for homeschooling families. 

These offerings (financial or otherwise) are at the discretion of your local council, so it’s best to check with them directly.

What are the requirements for homeschooling in the UK?

To homeschool in the UK, parents don’t need formal teaching qualifications. But you must provide a “full-time education” suitable to your child’s age, ability, and any special educational needs.

Here are the basic requirements:

  • Deregistration: If your child is enrolled in school, you must notify the school in writing of your intention to homeschool.
  • Education plan: You should have a plan or approach for how you’ll educate your child. This doesn’t need to be a formal document and you don’t have to follow the national curriculum, but having a clear idea will help satisfy local authority inquiries.
  • Regular monitoring: You should monitor your child’s progress and adjust your approach to ensure they’re learning effectively. Your council might make an “informal enquiry” to check you’re providing a suitable education. So these documents will help satisfy any checks.
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN): If your child has an EHC plan, you must ensure their special educational needs are met. The local authority may review the EHC plan to ensure appropriate provision.

Homeschooling in Britain: Subjects and Qualifications

What subjects are compulsory for homeschooling?

There aren’t any compulsory subjects for homeschooled children. 

Nonetheless, to ensure you’re providing a suitable education, it’s advisable to teach at least the core subjects of Maths, English Language and Science. While the UK government doesn’t mandate a specific curriculum for homeschooling, parents are expected to provide a broad and balanced education suitable for their child’s age and aptitude.  

So for younger children in Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7), this might include fundamental subjects such as English, Maths and basic science. As children progress to Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11), their studies become more detailed, with a stronger emphasis on reading, writing, more advanced maths skills, and subjects like history, geography, and foreign languages.

In Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14), students deepen their knowledge and explore more complex concepts. By Key Stages 4 and 5, the curriculum becomes more specialised. At GCSE, students focus on core skills in English, Maths and Science, as well as four or five additional subjects. By the time students reach AS and A Levels, this narrows to three or four subjects in total.

What exams do homeschoolers do?

Homeschoolers in Britain have the option to take standardised exams. They aren’t compulsory though, so this is up to you.

Homeschooled children don’t take SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2, as these exams assess school rather than pupil performance. Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs) and 11 Plus exams (used for entry into selective schools and grammar schools) are optional. They can be taken if parents choose.

For older students, GCSEs are the most common qualifications taken by homeschoolers at the end of Key Stage 4. These exams are important for further education and employment opportunities, as many jobs and post-16 qualifications ask for minimum grades. 

Post-16, A Levels are popular if your child plans to attend university. BTECs or apprenticeships are also great options for students who’d benefit from a more vocational route.

Do homeschooled children have to take GCSEs?

Homeschooled children don’t have to take GCSE exams. Even so, it’s advisable.

While GCSEs aren’t compulsory for homeschooling, they are the most widely recognised qualification at the end of Key Stage 4. They serve as a standard benchmark for academic achievement, used by educational establishments and employers alike.

With this in mind, most homeschoolers opt to take GCSEs (or IGCSEs) in at least the core subjects of Maths, English and Science. Many also take GCSEs in areas of interest, like History, Geography or Modern Languages.

Where do homeschoolers take GCSEs?

Homeschooled students can sit their GCSEs at independent test centres or local schools and colleges that take private candidates. 

Independent test centres accept private candidates, providing a supportive environment tailored to homeschooled students. Some local schools and colleges also allow homeschooled students to take exams alongside their enrolled peers. Availability, prices and policies vary though, so it’s important to register well in advance.

Homeschooling in Britain: Future Prospects

Is homeschooling common in the UK?

Homeschooling is increasingly common in the UK. According to the latest government data, 126,000 children were homeschooled during the 2022-23 academic year. This was up from 116,000 children in 2021-22.

This growing trend shows more and more parents are seeing the benefits of taking direct responsibility for their children’s education – opting for homeschooling as an effective alternative to traditional schooling environments.

In terms of the specifics, the numbers increase as children get older. While only 3% of home-educated children are in Year 1, around a third are in Year 10 or 11.

The government also estimates 49% of homeschooled children are male and 51% are female. 14% of homeschooled children had SEN support while 5% had EHC plans – which roughly matches the national average.

Do UK universities accept homeschooling?

Yes, UK universities accept homeschooled students. When considering applications, universities focus on students’ qualifications and achievements rather than their educational background. 

As we’ve seen, homeschoolers often take GCSEs and A Levels, which are the main criteria for university admissions. If you’ve taken alternative exams, check with your university what qualifications they accept.

Does Oxford accept homeschoolers?

Yes, the University of Oxford accepts homeschooled students. Like other top universities, Oxford evaluates candidates based on their qualifications and merits. 

For entry to Oxford, homeschooled students must meet the same academic standards as those from traditional schools. This includes strong performance in GCSEs, A Levels or equivalent qualifications. 

If you’re considering an Oxbridge application and aiming for the very top grades, don’t miss our guide to acing your A Level exams and how hard it really is to get AAA.

Are homeschooled students more successful in the UK?

Determining whether homeschool UK students are more successful is complex. The Department of Education doesn’t collect data on exam results and career progression for home-educated children. So we can’t compare directly.

However, studies from America suggest that homeschooled students outperform their peers both academically and socially. This research indicates that homeschooled children develop as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than those attending conventional schools. They often exhibit strong self-motivation, independence and critical thinking skills, contributing to their success in higher education and beyond.

The increasing number of UK homeschool students and their acceptance into leading Russell Group universities reflects growing recognition of homeschooling’s effectiveness. Many homeschooled students thrive in formal academic settings and pursue successful careers, suggesting that homeschooling (done right!) provides a solid foundation for future success.

Do you need help with your child’s education? At Achieve Learning, we provide dedicated one-to-one tuition for 11 Plus Exams, GCSE Maths and English, as well as academic coaching and reading support. Get in touch with our expert team for a free, no-obligation chat about your child’s needs.