Can you get funding for homeschooling in the UK?

As of 2021, homeschooling in the UK is no longer eligible for government funding, but families can access financial support in other ways. Homeschooling has become an increasingly popular choice for many parents in the UK, offering children a personalised and flexible education. However, one of the common concerns for parents considering homeschooling is the financial aspect. Fortunately, various avenues and resources are available to help ease the financial burden of homeschooling. This guide will explore different funding options and strategies for parents.

Understanding the Legal Landscape

Before delving into funding options, it's essential to clearly understand the legal requirements for homeschooling in the UK. Parents have the right to educate their children at home, provided they ensure that their child receives a full-time education suitable to their age, ability, aptitude, and any special educational needs they may have. This education can occur through various approaches, including structured lessons, field trips, and practical activities.

Parents are not required to follow the National Curriculum, but they must ensure their child receives an education that prepares them for life in modern society. To homeschool legally, you must notify your local council of your intention to educate your child at home. Once registered, you may be eligible for certain forms of financial support.

Local Authority Support

Local authorities play a crucial role in overseeing homeschooling arrangements. While they are not obligated to provide direct financial support, they may offer resources, guidance, and sometimes even financial assistance in certain circumstances.

  • Support Group: Joining a support group can be beneficial. They offer advice on homeschooling, connect families, and provide information on dealing with local authorities. This network can be a valuable resource for both information and emotional support.
  • Access to Resources: Local Authorities may be able to provide access to resources such as educational materials, online courses, and even funding for specific learning needs. It's advisable to maintain open communication with your local authority to explore available options.
  • SEN Support: If your child has special educational needs (SEN), you may be eligible for additional support. Local authorities have a duty to provide suitable education for children with SEN, and this may include financial assistance for specialised resources or services. You may also consider applying for an EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan), which will enable extra funding and support for your child.

Financial Assistance

While homeschooling itself does not come with direct financial support from the government, there are various programs and benefits that parents may be eligible for.

  • Child Benefit: Child Benefit is a universal payment to which all parents are entitled, regardless of whether their child attends school or is homeschooled. This can provide a helpful financial cushion for homeschooling families.
  • Tax-Free Childcare: The Tax-Free Childcare scheme can help working parents with the cost of childcare, including homeschooling expenses. Eligible parents can receive up to £2,000 per child per year, making it a valuable source of financial support.
  • Free School Meals: If your child previously received free school meals, you may still be eligible for this support while homeschooling. Contact your local council to inquire about the application process.
  • Pupil Premium: In some cases, local authorities may provide a form of funding known as the Pupil Premium for children previously attending school and now being educated at home. This funding is often linked to eligibility for free school meals.

Independent Funding Sources

Apart from government programs, there are independent funding sources that homeschooling families can explore.

  • Educational Grants: Various charities and organisations offer educational grants to support homeschooling families. These grants can cover various expenses, from curriculum materials to extracurricular activities.
  • Online Fundraising Platforms: Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter can be used to raise funds for homeschooling expenses. Create a compelling campaign outlining your educational goals and the resources you need, and share it with friends, family, and your community.
  • Local Community Support: Engage with local businesses, community organisations, and individuals who may be willing to sponsor or support your homeschooling journey. Some businesses may offer discounts on educational materials or services.
  • Part-Time Work and Flexible Employment: Consider part-time work or flexible employment options that allow you to balance your work commitments with homeschooling responsibilities. This can provide an additional income stream to support your educational endeavours.

Some facts and good reasons to home-school your child

  • It allows you to create a tailor-made education, one that suits the learning needs of your child.
  • One-to-one teaching is very effective, so your home-schooled child will make much more progress with much less teaching time; often, a school day’s worth of learning within two hours of teaching. This allows you much more light and space during the week to do other things.
  • The school day and week are flexible and can provide a much better school/work balance for your home-schooled child and family. There are no school runs nor limitations on school holidays. Lessons can start and finish at times more palatable for teenagers or busy households.
  • Homeschooling ensures that your child receives the individual attention of a teacher, enabling them to reach their full potential. Teachers can adapt their teaching to your child to bring the greatest benefit.
  • There are fewer distractions in a home setting, with no noise or distraction from classmates, which can sometimes negatively impact your child’s concentration and performance.
  • If your child is shy, they often will not ask questions in a classroom environment. In a home school setting, your child will feel more able to ask questions and gradually develop confidence.
  • You can always decide to return your child to the school system at some later stage and have the best of both worlds.
  • The social aspect of homeschooling is relatively easy to implement. You can join local groups (often linked through Facebook) where you meet other families with the same ambitions. If you are interested in homeschooling, a good first step is to talk to other parents who do it.

How much does it cost to home-school your child?

Some families choose to provide all of their children's tuition. You do not need to be a qualified teacher to do this. Thus, the cost is minimal, with only expenses for teaching resources and exam entries required.

Some families choose to use a tutor to help them shape their curriculum and teaching programme, perhaps providing just one or two hours of tuition or planning each week. The tuition fees for a qualified teacher would typically be £40ph to £44ph.

Some families choose to use a tutor to provide the majority or all of the tuition. Typically, for Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2, between 8 to 16 hours each week, tuition fees from £30 to £45ph. Typically for Key Stage 3, GCSE, IGCSE and A-Level; generally 2-3 hours per academic subject each week, tuition fees from £40 to £50ph.

Teachers To Your Home has considerable experience and success in providing homeschooling for children of all ages, abilities and needs. They provide qualified teachers to support families by scheduling a complete homeschooling programme, teaching regular one-to-one lessons weekly, monitoring progress, helping organise public examinations and supporting and advising parents.

You can also pair up with other homeschooling families to share the tuition and the costs for homeschooling.

As generations of home-schooled children grow up, some having never been to school, and move forward into further education, universities and employment, they are living proof of how successful it can be: a system that encourages the most gifted to flourish and a life-saver for some whose destiny in school may have been of academic failure, as their learning needs were not individually catered for.

This is the greatest advantage of homeschooling; it allows parents to create a tailor-made education that suits their child's learning needs. Because of its flexibility, parents who home-school have a choice about what, when, where and how their children learn.

Other parent guides you may wish to read include:

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