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Home schooling

You should inform the headteacher of your child’s school and the school should then inform us.

If your child has never attended school, please inform us of your decision to educate at home.

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This is set out in Section 7 of The Education Act 1996 which states:

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable:

  • to his age, ability and aptitude
  • to any special educational needs he may have

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

There is no guidance about what a suitable education might be but it should prepare your child for life in a modern society and allow them to reach his or her full potential. It should offer: 

  • a broad and balanced curriculum
  • english, mathematics and information and communications technology (ICT)
  • opportunities for physical, social, spiritual and cultural development

The phrase "full time" can be interpreted differently, since your child's education at home is often on an individual basis. A suggestion of a minimum of three hours per day has been offered.

You should consider the need for your child to have formal qualifications for any future role in life.


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We only have a duty to intervene if there is evidence that the education offered is not suitable.

In order to make a decision on this basis, an Education Welfare Officer will make a request to visit you on an annual basis, if possible, to view the education being offered.

Following the visit, a report will be written, stating whether the provision is suitable.

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For a child with a Education, Health and Care Plan where a Special School is named the situation is different and the local authority must be consulted and give permission for education at home.

The local authority also take responsibility for ensuring that the Education, Health and Care Plan is reviewed annually.

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Several groups of home-educators exist in Wiltshire.

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Last updated: 27 March 2017 | Last reviewed: 27 March 2017