- As a child or young person under the age of 18, you have the right to education, but you don’t have to go to school to get an education
- Your parents can decide to educate you at home, and there may be other reasons why you don’t go to school, and are educated somewhere else
- When any of these decisions are being made, the adults involved should take account of your views, and make decisions that are in your best interests
In Wales, every child should be in education between the ages of 5 and 16, but you don’t have to be educated at school. Some children are educated at home by their parents. Some children are educated in Pupil Referral Units because they find it difficult to learn in a ‘school’ environment. If you are ill on a long term basis, you might be educated in hospital, and if you have been in trouble with the police and are in youth custody, you should be educated there. As long as you are getting an education that develops your personality and your talents, your mental and physical abilities, teaches you about being part of society and encourages you to respect your own culture and other peoples’ cultures, that’s fine.
If you have been in trouble with the police and ended up in a Secure Children’s Home, a Secure Training Centre or a Youth Offenders Institution, you still have the right to an education. At least some of your day should be set aside for education so you can continue to learn.
If your parents, or the people with parental responsibility for you, decide that it will be better for you to be educated at home, they can choose to do this. It’s called ‘Elective Home Education’. Your parents can only choose to educate you at home if they can provide you with an efficient and suitable, full time education. Most parents who choose to home educate will be very focused on making sure you get the right education for you. Being educated at home can give some children and young people freedom to learn in ways that suit them better than school.
If your parents decide to home educate you, they must consider what is in your best interests, rather than their own.
Sometimes you might need support in a particular area, which your mainstream school can’t provide. You might spend some time at a special school or a Pupil Referral Unit, where teachers are better qualified to give you the help you need but spend other times at school.