This question came up on a Forum recently and parents, who’ve made the decision to home educate, often ask if there are time restrictions on de-registering their children from school to start home learning. And whether it’s best to do so at the end of school terms and years, or if this matters.
With regard to the legalities; there is no requirement as to when parents are allowed to take their children out of school, only that they inform the school that they are doing so, usually in writing. Otherwise they may do so at any time.
Some of the home education organisations and websites offer templates to help you word this letter to the school, the Education Otherwise website has a printable for example. Another good site dealing with other FAQs parents have about Local Authority requirements is www.edyourself.org
It’s worth looking at these and knowing your rights, particularly with regard to what the LA are allowed – or not – to do.
With respect to the children’s learning and education; it is very much a personal choice when you decide to change from school to home learning.
If there are health or wellbeing issues that have influenced your decision and you feel that your child is suffering in school then the sooner the better, for their learning will be inhibited by their distress and therefore it’s best alleviated sooner rather than leave it. It will not harm your child’s future to take them out of school whatever stage they’re at, whatever time of term or year.
In fact this is the case whether health or suffering is an issue or not and whatever your reasons. Parents have removed their children from school at all stages of their education and at all ages and they’ve still flourished and achieved academic success through a variety of time scales and approaches.
However, if you want to follow a structured approach similar to school, and adhere tightly to both the curriculum and timings of the education system, you might find it easier to work to the end of a term or year so that you can maintain continuity with it. Some do so out of courtesy to the school. But it’s not imperative.
The education system offers a very tightly prescribed approach to learning and most of us are conditioned to think that this is the only way to learn successfully. But with the wide range of learning styles and time scales families adopt with their home learners, plus the growing body of evidence of their success as these young people graduate, it’s clear that other approaches work too.
If you’re wanting to home educate you may find it helpful to explore these approaches through researching sites mentioned, plus the range of home educators’ blogs, and joining some of the social media groups especially for home educators where you can ask direct questions and gain immediate support. The Homeeducationuk Facebook group is an example.