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Learning at home, home education and flexi schooling

These are the official terms for different types of education in the home. We use these rather than 'home schooling' or 'teaching at home'.

Learning at home

Learning at home is the learning which happens in:

  • the home
  • outdoors
  • the community

Everyday activities that families already do can be learning at home. They can overlap with parts of organised or active learning activities, such as:

  • play
  • leisure activities
  • fun events
  • sports
  • trips
  • cultural or volunteering experiences

It can also happen through school-related activities, homework, reading and sharing books.

You can find learning at home guidance and support for parents on Parent Club.

Learning at home is part of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006. The Review of Learning at Home has more information for all educators working with parents, carers and families.

School closures

During emergency school closures, teachers may give children materials to take home. This lets children continue to learn while staying safe at home.

If you ever have concerns about sending your child to school, talk to the school first. If you are still concerned afterwards, talk to your local council.

Home education

You have a right to home educate your child rather than sending them to school.

Home education is where a parent or carer chooses to become the main educator of their children. They take the legal responsibility for deciding what their children will learn and how. In most cases, this is without direct support from schools or a local council.

Choosing to home educate

If your child already goes to a council school, you must ask for the local council's consent to withdraw them from the school. The council will expect you to explain how you plan to give your child a suitable education.

In some cases, consent to withdraw from the school role is not required. Cases include if your child has never gone to a council school or if your child goes to an independent school. However, the local council is likely to contact you to find out if your child is getting a suitable education.

Find a full list of when you can home educate without consent from the local council on gov.scot.

Support for children and young people with additional support needs

The local council does not have a legal responsibility to provide additional support when you educate your child at home.

You can still ask your local council to find out both:

  • if your child has additional support needs
  • what level of support they might need

You can also ask the local council to do this for you if you are a:

  • child aged between 12 and 15
  • young person aged 16 or over

The local council does not have to carry out the request or provide any additional support.

Some councils may do so at their discretion.

You can find out more about home education and additional support needs on Enquire.

Flexi schooling

Some parents may wish to arrange for their child to attend school on a part-time basis. To do this, you may need the local council's consent.

The local council should consider each request on its own merit. Each local council and school gets to decide if they can support the request or not.

Home education guidance

Scottish Ministers encourage local councils and parents to work together to develop:

  • trust
  • mutual respect
  • a positive relationship that functions in the best educational interests of the child

You can read about the legislative position on home education on gov.scot. It sets out, in relation to home-educated children, the roles and responsibilities of both:

  • local councils
  • parents

Education Scotland also has further home education guidance. This includes links and information on independent support networks, such as:

If you have any questions about home education, you can contact us on homeeducation@gov.scot.

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