Education is compulsory - school is optional

Coronavirus School Closures and Home Education

Some parents feel that, with schools closed, they have become home educators. This is not the case. 

Home education is a lifestyle choice that requires a significant commitment in terms of time and resources, it is not something that parents should decide to do without a great deal of research and thought. The current situation is causing stress to families who are understandably worried about their child's education and stressful times are not times when such far-reaching decisions should be made.

If a child is registered at a school, they are not a home educated child but remain a school pupil. The school still has a responsibility to provide education to the child and parents should follow instructions from their child's school. Local Authority education departments and  Schools should be signposting parents to resources, services and support whilst children who are registered pupils are unable to attend school. 

It is important that parents maintain as much normality as possible. This could be by maintaining school hours for learning as much as possible and by ensuring that their child does the work set by the school. Parents should encourage their child, but most of all, reassure their child and follow Government and relevant NHS advice.  Remember, also, that this is a stressful time both for families and for children.  Very few people learn well under stress and allowance should be given for the strange circumstances.  Many families will also be experiencing work from home for the first time and many need to find a balance between the competing responsibilities of work and caring for the children.

This is also not a normal time for home educators.  Despite the name, a large part of home education takes place outside of the home.  Groups and activities that home educators are used to participating in are also closed; as are many of the museums, art galleries, libraries and other places for educational visits.

If a child is becoming bored, there are many resources available online which are educational, such as BBC bitesize, Khan Academy and others, many of which are free of charge. These can give children a chance to maintain their interest in education ready for when they can return to school. Please see the Education Otherwise resources list for further information on these resources.

If this experience makes parents feel that home education is right for them, they should think carefully about how they will manage the commitment and research what is involved at length. At that stage, Education Otherwise can offer advice and guidance through our web pages and our facebook group The home education community is providing support to parents of school children who are concerned about their child's education, through social media. 

Parents looking for support for schooled children will also find that a number of social media groups have been created specifically to assist parents of schooled children during the enforced absence from school.  

A dozen brightly-dressed children in line, reaching upward and smiling