What the Education Law means for parents who home school their children
The Education Law in Jersey allows for the education of children other than at school (EOTAS).
Most children in Jersey attend school but the 1999 Education (Jersey) Law (revised 2007), Article 13 states that if you wish to educate your child other than at school “the instruction to be received by the child is at least equal to the instruction that a child of the same age would receive in a provided school”. This means that you must show that your child will:
- have access to a broad and balanced curriculum that meets their individual needs
- progress academically
- develop emotionally and socially
You do not have to offer the same as a school.
Children’s needs that cannot be met in a mainstream school
If you are concerned that a school is not able to meet your child's needs, especially if they have special needs, then speak first with your school and then the Education Department.
There are a range of specialist provisions and schools where the Education Department may place your child to meet their needs.
Find out about Special Education Needs provision in Jersey.
The Jersey Curriculum and how it applies to you
The Jersey Curriculum does not directly apply to children educated at home. However if your child starts school at some point in the future, the process will be much be easier if you take the requirements of the Jersey Curriculum into account.
The curriculum in schools must:
- be broad and balanced
- promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at school and of society
- prepare pupils for opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life
The following subjects are taught in schools:
- Design Technology
- Information and Communication Technology
- Physical Education
- Personal, Social and Health Education
- Religious Education
Time spent learning
The length of time is not specified but full-time education in school means that children spend between 25-27 hours on work each week, plus homework according to their age. Children attending school attend for 38 weeks per year.
What makes a good curriculum
It should introduce the pupils to a wide range of knowledge, understanding and skills. It should include practical, creative and physical activities, as well as planned opportunities for social development.
Each part should be allotted enough time to make its special contribution but not such that it squeezes out other essential parts of learning.
Subjects should be taught so as to bring out their application to the pupil’s own experience and to adult life and to give due emphasis to practical aspects.
What is taught and how it is taught needs to be matched to a child’s ability and aptitude. It should also be sufficiently challenging so that a child can show that some progress is being made.
Schools employ a range of teaching and learning methods. These might include a variety of independent and group learning styles such as:
- active learning
- collaborative and cooperative work in groups
- problem solving and decision making skills
- teamwork skills
Children learn in many different ways. In primary school the curriculum is not always taught as separate subjects but may be delivered through integrated and whole-curriculum activities.
At all ages a strong emphasis is placed on collaborative and group work to develop skills and attributes for children to take through their lives.
In secondary school it is more likely that subjects will be taught separately. You may decide what to teach and the best methods, provided you can describe the ways in which the education is appropriate and effective.
Children learn in many ways, at different rates and from a range of people. Education does not always have to follow a set pattern of lessons or even a structured timetable. However, it is good to identify your weekly, termly and annual plans and the ways in which you intend to achieve them.
Success is more likely if you consider the following:
- the learning process should be as active, practical and participative as possible
- learning should be systematically planned with your child’s needs paramount
- take full advantage of all the resources available around you
- reading for pleasure and information should be a high priority in your programme
- provide a programme of educational visits and make use of audiovisual resources
- provide opportunities which help with physical development, and ones which allow social interaction to take place in different contexts
- make learning more enjoyable by varying the style, and processes it involves
- give opportunities for independent study and research and provide a quiet area for sustained study/work
- regular testing is available to children in schools and colleges. In our view children educated at home should not miss out on these opportunities to assess their progress. Therefore, children will undertake Jersey Screening assessments which may be in addition to those carried out on monitoring visits
- exams such as GCSEs are important for your child and you will need to discuss available options. Many GCSEs are modular, involving ongoing teacher assessment, and may not be available to children educated at home. It is important to be aware of your options and the implications before you start home schooling your child. Make sure you also consider progression beyond the age of 16.
- careers guidance is available for young people who are educated at home.
Financial impact of educating your child at home
Funding is not available from the Education Department for home schooling, so you need to think about the financial impact on your family and how you will manage to provide resources and opportunities.
Points to consider:
- your decision to home educate needs very careful consideration. It is a major step which will need your commitment in terms of time and energy
- the financial implications, e.g. visits, books, resources
- plan your educational programme and discuss it with your child before making a decision
- reflect on the social side of growing up; the need to provide opportunities for your child to be involved in social activities, contact with other children, joint activities with other children and groups and the stimulus of seeing other children’s work. The benefits from such activities may provide a source of motivation for your child to succeed and will equip them with the social and learning skills to succeed in life
- keep your options open. Your child’s needs will change at different ages and stages. We will always be willing to work with you to find a suitable place for your child in a Jersey school
- it is not in your child’s best interests if you decide to home educate because of a disagreement with a teacher or a school. Discuss the problem, or refer to the Education Department for help in getting it resolved
- home education is not a solution to the problem of getting a reluctant child to school. The Education Welfare Service are very happy to help support your child if this is an issue
If you decide to educate at home, the Education Department will maintain a good working partnership with you whilst ensuring that an appropriate education is being provided.
Parents who do decide to home educate often find it a happy and constructive experience but not in every case. It is an enormous challenge to undertake. If at any time you would like your child to enter or re-enter the school system, the Education Department can help with your school admission.
Health services for home schooled children
There are a number of vaccinations and health checks that are delivered in school to school age children. It is very important your child has these recommended:
- vaccinations - protect them against potentially serious diseases; and
- health checks - so any health problems are identified and treated as early as possible
The vaccinations and health checks offered in school are shown in the tables below:
|Year Group||Vaccination/Health Check|
|Reception (age 4 to 5 years) ||Height and weight measurements|
|Vision check (Tel: 01534 442076)|
Reception, Year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
(age 4 to 11 years)
|Annual flu nasal vaccine in October / November to protect against flu|
(age 10 to 11 years)
|Height and weight measurements|
|Reception though to Year 6|
(age 4 to 11 years)
|Dental screening (Tel: 01534 445300)|
|Year Group||Vaccinations||Injections Required|
Year 8 (girls only)
(age 12 to 13 years)
Human papillomavirous (HPV) vaccination to protect against cervical cancer
|Two injections required, 6 months apart|
(age 13 to 14 years)
Teenage booster vaccine to boost protection against diptheria, tetanus and polio
|MenACWY vaccine to protect against Meningococcal disease groups A, C, W and Y||One injection|
How to access the vaccination and health check services for children educated at home
If you would like your child to receive these vaccinations and health checks or you believe your child has missed out on these, contact the Child Health team on +44 (0) 1534 443741 or email them. Alternatively, you may choose to contact the individual health teams yourself using the telephone numbers in the table above.
If you have any health and/or development concerns regarding your child that you would like to discuss with a school nurse, you can contact the school nursing team on +44 (0) 1534 443622.
Email Child Health Team
You must get approval first
By law, a child of statutory school age must receive an education. You must get approval in writing from the Education Department before you home school your child. If your child is at school they must continue to attend until you have approval from the Education Department:
- approval may be subject to certain conditions
- your child’s academic progress will be assessed from time to time, usually annually
- further discussions around the appropriateness of home education will be necessary
- you must provide evidence in writing and discuss this with the Education Department
- if your child’s education is not effective approval may be withdrawn at any time
The Education Department has a duty to ensure that your child receives an education that is:
- full time
- age, ability and aptitude appropriate
- relevant to any special educational need
- held in a nurturing and stable environment with plenty of opportunity for social interaction
Parents/carers have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives an education. The Education Minister is responsible for approving these arrangements.
Home schooling is known as Education Other than at School (EOTAS). EOTAS requires a major commitment on behalf of the parents or carers / those whom the parents or carers employ to educate their child.
Most children are educated at school because schools are successful in helping children to develop academically whilst also supporting their personal and social development.
Making the decision to home educate your child is a very important one. It requires a lot of research, commitment and time.
How to apply
You must complete the online form. You will then be invited to meet with the Education Department to discuss your plans.
All applications are reviewed by the Education Department using the Education Other Than At School Policy.
If your application is approved:
- we will contact you to arrange a home visit to discuss your programme and meet and assess your child
- approval will normally be granted for a maximum of one academic year
- an officer from the Education Department will visit you annually to check on the safeguarding of your child and that their progress is in line with their ability and age
- you must complete a new application every year which must include proposed plans for your child's educational programme for the next academic year
Number of children that are home schooled in Jersey
In July 2017 there were 13,033 child of school age in Jersey. 12,991 were at school, 42 were home schooled.
Home schooling FOI request June 2016