All school-aged children in the United Kingdom have the right to a full-time education that is appropriate to their age, development and level of need.

While most children go to school, a growing proportion of parents are taking on the responsibility for their children’s learning themselves and choosing to home educate.

We are committed to supporting and working positively with families that home educate to ensure children are safe and receiving the best education possible.

Parents and carers’ rights and responsibilities

Parents and carers do not need to be qualified teachers to home-educate their children. There is also no requirement to follow the National Curriculum, though some find this helpful if they intend to make use of public examinations later.

Parents and carers must, however, be able to provide their child with a suitable, full-time education or provide access to means through which this can be achieved.

Parents and carers can choose how, when and with whom learning takes place. They are not required to have formalised learning plans, lessons, or assessments. There is also no requirement to adhere to the age-related learning expectations adhered to in maintained schools.

We may contact parents and carers to discuss home education. There is no requirement to respond, but in cases where additional information is needed about a child’s learning or welfare, this engagement is advisable and can help prevent statutory action from being taken.

You can find more information in the document below.

Somerset Council’s Duties and Responsibilities

Local authorities have a number of duties to ensure that all children are kept safe and have access to suitable, full-time education, including those that are home-educated.

You can find details of these duties in the document below.

Home Education Process

Most home educated children enjoys a personalised and fluid way of learning that is aligned with their learning style, needs and aspirations. Many also benefit from Somerset’s network of support groups within its home educating communities that provide valued support, guidance and advice to parents and carers.

In the small number of cases where home education is deemed unsuitable, we have a duty to make enquiries and act to ensure adequate educational provision is put in place.

You can find details about how we work with parents and carers who home educate below.

Accessing exams

There is no requirement for home educated children to sit public exams, such as GCSEs and A Levels, but they can do so as private candidates.

Parents and carers who wish to have their child entered for a public exam will need to approach local exam centres (typically schools and colleges) that accept private candidates. An exam entry fee will be payable and children sitting exams as private candidates are required to do so under the exam conditions provided by the exam centre.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) holds an interactive list of exam centres that accept private candidates, which is searchable by postcode and examination type. Independently registered exam centres can also be used, where available.

You can find more information in the document below.

Returning to school after being home educated

If you want your child to return to school you can request a place at any time by following the in-year school admissions process. For support and information, please email the School Admissions team at

Last reviewed: May 22, 2023 by Qi

Next review due: November 22, 2023

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