- 2014 Consultation
- Groups and Meetings
Home Education is a legal option for every family in Northern Ireland. It is not necessary to seek permission from the Department of Education or your local Board of Education. If your child is registered at a school, you must deregister the child (by writing to the school principal); neither you nor the principal need permission from the Board or the Department of Education.
There may be an exception to this when a child who is attending a Special School - in this case the parent might need permission to deregister the child.
You do not need to hold any formal teaching qualification, or any formal qualification of any kind, to educate your children at home.
There is nothing in Northern Irish law which states that the Education and Library Board has the right to monitor your educational provision, to meet with your children, or to visit your home.
You are entitled to decline to meet with the Board at your home or elsewhere, many home educators prefer to keep all communication in writing so that everything is clear and documented... and while you should never ignore a letter from the Board you can repond in the format you prefer, so don't worry if any forms you are sent don't seem to apply to your circumstances. This page details the information we have on the way the various Boards currently operate,
There is nothing in Northern Irish law which requires you to follow the National Curriculum or any other curriculum.
Some parents in Northern Ireland have been told (by schools or Education Boards) that it is not legally possible to deregister a child from school. A new Department of Education NI Circular makes it clear that they are wrong. More details on this can be found on our 'Deregistration from School' page.
The section of Northern Ireland legislation which allows for home-education as a legal and equal option to school is:
Education and Libraries Northern Ireland Order 1986 SI 1986/594
1. The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
What this means is that education is the responsibility of the parent, and that the parent can choose how they provide education. The majority of families choose to fulfil their legal obligation by having their children attend school; however other forms of educational provision are available and permissible.
The following legislation is used when it appears that a parent is not fulfilling his or her obligations as outlined above:
Schedule 13 Enforcement of duty imposed by article 45
1(1) If it appears to a board that a parent of a child of compulsory school age in its area is failing to perform the duty imposed on him by article 45(1), the board shall serve on the parent a notice requiring him, within such period not being less than fourteen days from the service of the notice, to satisfy the board that the child is, by regular attendance or otherwise, receiving efficient full-time education suitable ....
2(1) Where, at any time whilst a school attendance order is in force with respect to a child, the parent of the child makes an application to the board by whom the order was made requesting ... that the order be revoked on the ground that arrangements have been made for the child to receive otherwise than at school education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have, the board shall amend or revoke the'order in compliance with the request unless it is of the opinion that
- (d) no satisfactory arrangements have been made for the education of the child otherwise than at school.
The situation is different in the Republic of Ireland and information on home educating there can be found here. This link ONLY applies if you are outside Northern Ireland. We include the link because we occasionally get enquiries, and of course many people move between N Ireland and ROI.