A (very) rough guide to setting up a group

Christmas Event at the North Down Co-Op

1. the most important thing is to have at least 3 or 4 families who are relatively keen and committed to meeting regularly - once it's going you'll probably attract others but you need a base of people to run it.

2. I'd start by meeting informally a couple of times - either at someone's house or a soft play/park wherever.  You can get to know each other a little and talk about what you've got in mind.  A group that meets regularly somewhere public is great in itself.  Decide how often you want to meet (twice a month is an option which has worked well in the past) and for how long (probably around 2-3 hours).  WIll you be eating together, or each bringing your own picnic, or avoiding lunchtime altogether?

3.  If you want to have a space to yourself so you can have crafts and so on then the next stage is to find a hall/community centre/other venue, which is convenient to travel to.  Make sure it is cheap enough that the start-up families will be happy to pay the rate without needing extra members.  Ideally you should be happy to cover it between 2 or 3 families if necessary.

4. Decide who will handle booking the hall, who will handle any money etc.  Don't let anyone take on too much or they will start feeling put-upon!

5. Decide how you want to structure your time - anything is OK, from a coffee and a run around, to themed meetings (like the North Down and North Coast meets), right up to shared lessons or tutors(!)

6. Consider setting up a facebook group, or ask HEdNI for a section of the website forums to chat about what you're going to do, and keep in touch.  The central HEdNI group loves to be kept in touch but group-specific stuff is often best discussed amongst the group.

Contact with the Boards

Princess Puppet
Rainbow Owl
Futuristic Shapes made in Cinema 4D
The relevant Northern Irish Guidance in Elective Home Education came into force in September 2020, it is broadly welcomed by HEdNI who were involved in the drafting. While it is not perfect, with good training and proper implementation we believe it will be positive in standardising the EAs approach and empowering parents to meet their duties as educators. However parents should always keep themselves well informed, treat any interventions with due caution and never hesitate to seek proper legal advice.

Information on the legal duties of parents and the Education Authority can be found here.  You are not obliged to invite them into your home, meet with them or fill in their forms.  You should respond to all communications from the EA, address any concerns and keep accurate records of all interractions and correspondance with them, as well as minutes of any meetings of telephone calls.  

Child Benefit for home-educated children over the age of 16 years

Some home-educating parents have been told by the Child Benefit enquiry line that they cannot receive Child Benefit for a child who is over the age of 16 unless that child is in full-time education in a recognised institution (i.e. school or college), and that their Child Benefit will be stopped. This information is incorrect.

If your child was home-educated before the age of 16, and if the home-education is still considered full-time, you are entitled to continue to receive Child Benefit.

The Full Time Education Section (FTES) deals with all enquiries about home-educated children over the age of 16, and the Enquiry Line must send such enquiries to FTES. This is stated quite clearly in the guidance notes used by the Child Benefit enquiry line, but it seems that some of those staffing that line do not follow this.

If you are contacting the CB office about a home-educated child over the age of 16, you should ask that they pass your enquiry to the FTES (you cannot telephone this section directly yourself) and that they call you back. If writing or emailing, you should make sure your letter or email says “for the attention of FTES”.

As your child approaches the age of 16, you will receive a Child Benefit form asking about future plans, and you should also ensure that you send this back “for the attention of FTES”.

Deregistration From School

Pirate Play
Subtracting Big Numbers
Christmas Lantern
Titanic Costumes
Exploring the Museum
A pirate with a pinapple

If you are a Head Teacher who has been asked by a parent to delete the name of a child from the school register:

See DENI Circular 2010/07 and 2017/15 The relevant parts of the Circular are Section 8 and Code 3, and also Section 14 or "Removal of pupils’ names from the register" (vi). Refer also to section 4.2  of the Guidance.

If you are a parent who wishes to deregister your child:

If you choose to deregister your child in order to home-educate him or her, you must inform the Head Teacher of the school at which your child is a pupil. You do not need to inform the Education Authorityy. You do not need to seek permission to deregister. You do not need to get approval of your plans for home-education.  .

We strongly recommend that you read this website thoroughly, and get in contact with other home-educating parents

Supplies and resources

Supplies and resources

This page lists some of our favourite places to find “teaching supplies” other than the ever faithful Amazon and Ebay(!)– but remember that resources don’t have to be book-shaped!

As well as videos and computers etc, how about people?

And the world in general?

There’s a wealth of knowledge all around you, even if you don’t realise it – resources are everywhere! 

Schools Surplus is a website which sells off the surplus stock from several educational supply companies. If you don’t find anything that interests you, keep checking back, as their deals are sometimes amazing. I’ve saved over 90% on some items here.

Schofield and Sims sell workbooks and more. Excellent value.

CGP Books write and sell revision guides and study books based on the National Curriculum. They cover Key Stage 1 up to GCSE, and include books on maths, English, science, history, geography, French and other modern languages. They have recently chosen to end their policy of allowing home-educators to buy at “schools” prices.

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