Home Education in the UK – A Useful Guide For Other Countries

Education is no longer considered a privilege. In most jurisdictions, ‘education’ is considered as an indispensable part of a child’s rights.

In the UK, education has always commanded a high priority in the society. The government, in turn, has always adopted a liberal education policy, as highlighted from the laws of the land. That’s why the concept of Home Education (HE) has always been an integral part of society in the UK.

Why Home Education?

Due to a multicultural and plural society as prevalent in the UK, the reasons for parents to opt for Home Education may vary. Some of the common factors influencing parents’ decisions regarding the educational needs of their children include:

– Religious, philosophical, or spiritual compulsions
– Unsatisfactory school system
– Lack of suitable schools in the locality
– To meet the specific and/or special needs of some children, like those suffering from diseases such as Cerebral Palsy, autism etc.
– Failure of child and school management to effectively tackle certain conditions in school, like bullying, corporal punishment etc.
– Financial reasons etc.

Recently, the Parental Responsibility has emerged as one of the major reasons for Home-Educating children in the UK. More and more parents are trying to learn the art of true parenthood and are relishing the additional responsibility of being (actually) responsible for the growth of the thought process in the child.

Whatever may be the compelling circumstances, Home Education is here to stay, and is being increasingly preferred in the UK. An estimated 100,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16 are being given Home Education by their parents in the United Kingdom, and the figure is likely to increase in the coming years.

Benefits of Home Education

Home Education (tutorial-based teaching) has several advantages over classroom education (instructions-based teaching). Some of these include:

1. The child tends to receive individualistic and far more attention at home than at school.
2. Comfortable home environment in the company of parents gives the child an ideal environment to learn.
3. The absence of awe-inspiring teachers means quick feedback from the child to assess his/her learning capabilities.
4. The Child can learn at their own pace, and follow their own curriculum and interests.
5. Enhanced self-motivation and self-discipline in the child.
6. Instilment of parental values instead of peer values in the child.
7. Cultivation of courage to arrive at independent decisions.
8. Avoid destructive competition in search of better grades from the peers and fellow students.
9. Special children need special attention that can only be provided under home conditions.
10. Above all, as a parental responsibility of teaching your child, nothing is more beneficial and satisfactory than to take complete responsibility of your child’s education.

Shortcomings of Home Education

One must also consider some disadvantages of Home Education before deciding the academic future of the child. Some of these include:

1. Non-development of social skills due to the absence of interaction with peers and teachers.
2. Special expertise and skills required to teach may be lacking in the parents. Moreover, they might not be abreast of the latest technologies and teaching aids that might help the child learn better.
3. Even both the parents combined may not know all the subjects required for the proper education of the child.
4. Parents may ultimately spend a considerable amount of time equipping themselves with the skills to teach their child; thus, losing out on the chance to supplement the family income.
5. Laboratories, gyms, and other facilities provided by school authorities may not be accessible from home.
6. A child’s progress will not be adequately monitored, especially as they do not have to follow the National Curriculum or take SATs.

Home Education in UK – Legal Aspect

The UK is divided into different legal jurisdictions. For instance, there are different sets of laws applicable in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. However, substantially, all these jurisdictions follow similar legal principles and postulates, with minor variations.

Home Education has legal sanction in all three regions in the UK. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (England and Wales), Sections 30 of Education (Scotland) Act 1980, and Article 45 of Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, are the relevant legal provisions that provide the requisite teeth to the concept of Home Education in the UK.

Here is the summary of these legalities as applicable in the UK:

Only ‘education’ is compulsory under UK laws and not ‘schooling.’

No qualification is prescribed for the parents desirous of giving Home Education to their child.

Parents are at absolute liberty to decide how they want their child to be educated at home.

No compulsion of following the National Curriculum or observing school hours.

Parents must ensure that their child receives an efficient full time education, suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs the child may have.

Parents are not legally obligated to inform the Local Education Authority (LEA) when they decide to educate their children at home. If the child has never been registered at a State school, or if you move to an area served by another LEA, you are not obliged to notify the LEA, although you may do so if you wish. If you are taking your child out of a state school in England or Wales, the head teacher must remove the child’s name from the register and inform the LEA. If your child has special needs and attends a special school, you need permission to deregister.

However, if you are withdrawing your child from a State school in Scotland, the LEA must be informed.

No special Government grants are available for Home Education in UK.

No formal tests are required to pass by the child. However, the LEA may ask for information informally at intervals to monitor your child’s progress.

There is no prohibition on the Home Education of a statemented child provided he/she is not attending a special school, in which case you need the consent of the LEA.

Home-Educated children can take GCSEs as private candidates or as students of correspondence courses. However, it is not compulsory to take GCSEs.

To address the concern for social deprivation of Home-Educated children, in many areas, home educators meet regularly for social, educational, and other activities. Children also attend clubs, classes, sporting and leisure activities in the community. Children get to interact with people of all ages as well as their peers.

Student Group Travel To Boston: Performance Trips That Are Educational!

If you are looking for a great performance destination with a historical twist, then Boston is an ideal choice for your student group trip. Bands, choruses, orchestras and dance ensembles have fantastic performance options from which to choose, where audiences are in abundance. Plus, your students will gain a real and vivid life education of the history of America and where it began. Known to many as the birthplace of the United States, Boston is one of America’s oldest cities steeped in history beginning with the Puritans who, in 1630, founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution. Known as the “Walking City,” student groups will have fun learning about American history in Boston. This vibrant, thriving city is renowned for its world-class museums, historical sites, monuments, educational institutions, delicious food, signature shopping, fantastic entertainment and professional sports. Boston not only retells the powerful stories of our nation’s past, but is willing to accommodate and entertain student groups as few other cities can. Student group travel to Boston is educational, both musically and historically!

Performance Opportunities in Boston

Three of the most popular performance sites in Boston include the Boston Conservatory, Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market and Six Flags® New England.

The Boston Conservatory, the oldest performing arts conservatory in the nation, offers student performance groups an award-winning theater that is newly renovated. The Conservatory just recently completed a $32 million, 16-month-long renovation and expansion project that effectively adds 16,000 new square feet of rehearsal and performance space to the building, as well as a completely renovated, state-of-the-art 300-seat theater with new orchestra pit, air conditioning and a host of technical upgrades and accoutrements. Conductors are constantly raving about the incredible acoustics within this theater.

At Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, there are numerous locations for your school band, orchestra, choir or dance ensemble to perform in the most historic location in Boston. Your ensemble can perform outdoors where thousands of people shop and dine each day, giving you a large audience. Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market is one of the most visited historical attractions in Boston.

Just an hour and a half outside of Boston is Six Flags® New England. Like all Six Flags®, this theme park is exciting and has some of the fastest, tallest, wildest, gut-wrenching rides in the country including rollercoasters like Batman – The Dark Night, Bizarro, voted the #2 steel rollercoaster in the country, and the Cyclone, one of the largest wooden rollercoasters in the U.S. New to Six Flags® New England this year is Goliath, a heart-pounding roller coaster. With over 40 exciting amusement rides, an exhilarating water park and fantastic entertainment, Six Flags® New England will surely provide thrills and exciting times your student group will always remember. Six Flags® New England provides marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, choirs, orchestras and dance ensembles an opportunity to perform in front of thousands of spectators at various sites throughout the park as well.

Historical Sites in Boston

The historical aspects of Boston are fascinating. Boston is both an indoor and outdoor museum of history and architecture. As part of your itinerary, you and your student group should include the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is 2.5 mile walking tour through Boston that takes groups around 16 significant historical sites including:

U.S.S. Constitution
Bunker Hill Monument
Copp’s Hill Burial Ground
Old North Church
Paul Revere House
Faneuil Hall
Boston Massacre Site
Old State House
Old South Meeting House
Former Site of the Old Corner Bookstore
First Public School Site and Ben Franklin Statue
King’s Chapel and Burying Ground
Granary Burying Ground
Park Street Church
Massachusetts State House
Boston Commons

Guided tours are available for student groups. However, the Freedom Trail is well-marked and can be self-guided. To obtain guides for your group, The Freedom Trail Foundation offers maps and other resources for educators at http://www.thefreedomtrail.org.

Opening Soon: Scheduled to open June 25 in Boston is the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Most of the museum will be located on a barge anchored next to the museum pier on the Fort Point Channel. In addition to state-of-the-art technology, the museum will have actors dressed in period clothing and the original Robinson Tea Chest that was thrown into the Boston Harbor on Dec. 16, 1773. Students will have the opportunity to throw a tea chest over the sides of the Beaver, Eleanor and Dartmouth, replicas of the original ships involved in the Boston Tea Party.

Other Historical Sites in the Boston Area

Don’t forget to include historical sites around Boston including Lexington and Concord, where the great patriot Paul Revere is best remembered for his ride through the countryside warning the Minute Men that “The British are Coming!” Lexington and Concord are also known as the first sites of battle in the American Revolution as well as the site of the Old North Bridge where the American militia defeated the British soon after the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired.

Just north of Boston is Salem, a town known for the Salem Witch Trials, one of the darkest episodes in American History. Salem is a fascinating town that features The Salem Witch Museum which takes students back to Salem in 1692. The museum offers a dramatic history of the Witch Trials and witchcraft, bringing the past into a present day perspective. In addition to the museum, a tour of the House of the Seven Gables, complete with a hidden staircase and history of Nathaniel Hawthorn, will inspire students’ imaginations.

Lastly, a trip to Boston wouldn’t be complete without a short jaunt south along the coast to Plymouth. Here students can view Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims first landed in 1620, experience the Mayflower II, and visit the living outdoor history museum, Plimoth Plantation. Known as the site of the first colony, Plimoth plantation recreates life in a Wampanoag Indian village and a 1627 English settlement and how they co-habitated. Students will gain a fantastic education of Native American and Colonial history.

Overall, Boston provides performance groups with fantastic performance options and a historical education about the American Revolution. In addition and not even mentioned in this article are other fantastic attractions like the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science and whale watching excursions. Unlike any other city, Boston provides student groups with unlimited attractions, museums, historical sites, monuments and performance sites. As one can see, Boston has it all!

Church of England School

About one fourth of all primary schools in England are Church of England schools. Most British citizens believe that receiving and education from a CE School is important for children to be able to learn and develop a sense of what is right and wrong. Individuals also believe that these students will receive a finer education and evolve into a responsible member of their society.

There are three different categories of schools located throughout England. The first one is called voluntary aided; the school is owned by the church and the governing body of the church handles all school operations from appointing teachers to raising money to aid in the repairs of school buildings.

The second category is the voluntary controlled, where the school is owned by the church and it appoints its own overseers. However, the school board is not totally loaded with church members, and the teachers are not appointed by the church board. Rather the teachers are hired by the local education authority who also oversees any repairs to school buildings as needed. The last type is the foundation, where a foundation owns the school and the foundations board employs the teachers and other staff and oversees all school operations.

The Church of England is also in the first throes of a major expansion project, hoping to open over 100 additional schools. Currently as of 2004 approximately 25 of these schools had been opened with another 15 of them almost completed. Because of the popularity of catholic education, such expansion is possible and needed to provide the education for British children across that country.

The admission policy in England is pretty straight forward. The board will admit students of all faiths provided there is not a shortage of available spaces in the school system. If there is a shortage, preference will be given to students who are, of course, from the catholic faith, and then to students who have excellent academic records, and go on from there. In some locations, scholarships are available to the families of students who excel in academics but cannot afford to pay for a private education.

There are some myths of catholic education. For example many individuals do not believe that catholic schools educate children on the topic of sexual education. In fact, there are requirements that this topic is taught as part of each school’s science curriculum. The catholic school system has also been accused of not wanting to educate children who are of different faiths. That too is a myth. Of course, the church believes in the religious education of all children, particularly the catholic faith. However, children of all faith are welcome to the system, as are children who express no faith at all.

The catholic way of education has been founded in history in the country of England, going back to the legendary kings of England who were the heads of the Catholic Church. The catholic education of England’s children remains a very popular educational system.