Home Education

Educate your child at home

Parents/guardians are within their rights to make a request to educate their child at home rather have them taught at one of the local authority schools.

Who is entitled to educate their child at home?

Any parent/guardian can choose to do this as long as they provide an efficient education that is suitable for the age, ability and aptitude of the child.

Parents/guardians have a responsibility to inform the education authority that they wish to withdraw their child from school in order to educate them at home and to request the authority's consent. 

In line with the Scottish Government we aim is to issue a decision within 6 weeks of the receipt of the original application. Until consent is granted the young person remains on the school roll and should attend school.

If a family have moved into the Highland Council area from another local authority area in Scotland or another nation, the parents/guardians do not require the consent of the authority to educate a child at home.  However, we do encourage families to contact us as the advice we can provide & the information about services for school aged children provided by the NHS, further education providers and Skills Development Scotland  is found to be very helpful by families educating their children at home.

What kind of education do parents need to provide?

Parents/guardians who choose to educate their children at home do not have to follow the traditional school curriculum and do not have to use a fixed timetable that keeps to school hours and terms. They need to demonstrate that they are providing an education that is suitable for the child, with appropriate variety, resources and access to other children.

It is the parent's/guardian's responsibility to provide the curriculum and resources and to meet any costs associated with this.

What about formal qualifications?

There is no legal requirement for young people to take a particular set of qualifications. The internal assessment component of many qualifications can restrict the certification of external candidates.

Parents/guardians educating their children at home can make arrangements for their children to sit formal exams (for example, through their local college).

Parents/guardians are responsible for any costs associated with this.

What happens next?

An Education Officer will contact the family to discuss the application.

Parents/guardians are given an opportunity to outline their plans for education at home.

Parents/guardians can choose whether to submit a written outline of their plans, have a meeting or home visit.

Parents/guardians will receive a letter informing them whether the request is granted or whether further information will be required.

If consent is granted, the child's name will be removed from the school roll. From this time the parents/guardians are responsible for providing their child with an efficient and suitable education.

We will seek at all stages to allow a child to have the opportunity to express their view.

If consent is not granted, the Council must be clear about why the request has been refused. The parents/guardians will be given the opportunity to address the grounds on which it has been refused and resubmit their request if they wish.

What level of contact is there between us and home educating families?

An Education Officer will make contact with the family by email or letter on at least an annual basis to review progress and offer advice if requested. If there are concerns about the educational provision, more frequent contact may be requested.

Parents can choose whether to provide a written update or have a meeting. The young person’s views are also sought.

In situations where concerns have been identified and the parent/guardian has subsequently failed to improve matters, the Council can make an attendance order. This allows the parent/guardian up to 14 days to provide the Council with information to satisfy them about the quality of education on offer. If this is not done, the child will be expected to return to school.

Highland Council does maintain a database of all the young people in the Highland Council area whose families have been given consent to be educated at home.  Regularly Highland Council is asked for some of the data.  When this happens no names or information that could identify an individual is ever given.

Flexi Schooling

Occasionally parents/guardians request withdrawing a young person part-time from school, e.g. for the child to attend school only on certain days, or for certain subjects. The feasibility of each request should be considered on its own merit, while taking into consideration that under Section 28 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 ' so far as is compatible with the provision of suitable instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.

We would advise parents/guardians to initially discuss a Flexi Schooling approach with the school before making an application. Ultimately, however, it is a decision for the Highland Council and each school as to whether they can support such an arrangement.  

What if the child has additional support needs?

A parent's/guardian's right to educate their child at home is not changed if their child has additional support needs. However, it is reasonable for the Council to ask parents/guardians how they plan to cater for their child's needs at home.

We have no obligation to provide financial or other support for children with additional support needs who are educated at home.

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