If you’re considering taking your children out of mainstream education, understanding the cost of homeschooling in the UK is important. After all, there are many different costs associated with home education, and you need to be prepared as a family to meet these additional costs should you withdraw your kids from school.
While most children in the UK attend a school, research shows that there are approximately 81,200 kids registered as home educated in England alone, highlighting that it is becoming more popular to home school children in the country.
It’s important to note that this figure is likely to account for roughly half of the children homeschooled, as it’s not compulsory to inform the government if you’re homeschooling your children.
Some parents are warming to the idea of homeschooling their children, as it provides more freedom and gives parents more control over what their kids are taught in the classroom. So, if you’re seriously considering educating your children at home, below is a breakdown of the cost of homeschooling in the UK to give you a good idea about what to expect.
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
It’s difficult to say exactly how much home education UK costs, as there are many variable costs. In theory, homeschooling your child doesn’t cost anything, as there are plenty of free courses and curriculums that you can follow to make your life easier.
However, in reality, there are several costs that you need to think about when educating your child at home:
1. Exam costs
One cost that you can’t avoid when homeschooling your child is the cost of sitting exams. Education in the UK is split into “key stages”, and you are responsible for ensuring that your child progresses from one stage to the next, starting with Early Years Foundation and going through key stages 1 and 2.
Currently, the government has set the price of homeschooling GCSE exams at £43.91 per exam, while the average cost of an A-level exam is £105.12. When you consider that your children will take at least five and, more realistically, up to ten GCSEs, you can see that the cost of these exams can quickly add up.
However, you have a fair amount of time to prepare for your children’s exam costs, so you don’t necessarily need to worry about the cost of homeschooling right away. Still, it’s worth bearing it in mind, and you can put the necessary money away to ensure that you can meet the costs of the examinations when the time comes.
If you and your partner decide to homeschool your children, the chances are that you're going to take responsibility for most of their instruction yourself. You will need to carefully consider balancing your professional and other commitments when educating your kids, and you might discover that you need some help managing their workload.
One great option that many homeschooling parents take advantage of is that of tutors. You can find specialist tutors in your area who offer instruction and support in various disciplines, for example, maths, English, or languages.
Tutors often charge by the hour, but you can also book a block of lessons for your children in an attempt to access more competitive rates.
While every family is different, it’s helpful to budget between £100 and £2,000 per term for tutoring fees for your kids. If you don’t know where to start, consider hiring a tutor to help with subjects you’re not particularly strong with yourself.
This will help you manage your child’s education and ensure that you can focus on the subjects you are confident in.
One of the most important things for all homeschooling families is the curriculum you follow. To help you, there are a number of free and paid subscriptions that you can sign up for, which allow you to organise your child’s education correctly and avoid any penalties from the government for missing out on key subjects or topics.
While not all of these subscriptions are compulsory, you can make use of them to optimise your child’s education at home:
· Home Education Advisory Service Membership - £10 - £50: A charity for home-based educators, publishing updates and helpful resources for everyone.
· Access to online learning resources: As a home educator, you will need to find an online resource to download helpful educational resources, some of which are free and others are paid. WSC has some great free resources to help you get started.
· Access to educational supplies: One of the most significant costs associated with homeschooling in the UK is access to educational supplies like textbooks. Books can cost between £5 and £75, so you need to make some money available to cover these costs.
· Access to homeschooling networks: Facebook is the perfect platform to gain access to homeschooling networks that you can draw on for advice and support. Most of these networks are free to join and provide many helpful resources to ensure you feel supported when educating your kids at home.
· Online and in-person homeschooling memberships: Another thing you should consider as a homeschooling parent is access to membership sites specifically for homeschool educators. Many of these are free, but you can also find groups that charge a small monthly fee for unlimited access and support.
4. Food shop
Granted, you’re responsible for feeding your child at home and school, but it’s worth considering that the more time your kids spend at home, the more they are likely to eat! This is particularly important if your kids usually qualify for free school meals or subsidised food at school, as you will now need to cater for this additional cost.
It’s beneficial to maintain a structured routine around meal times when your kids are learning from home, as it can be disorienting if you don’t follow a set pattern that they are accustomed to from school.
5. Educational outings
School trips are a big part of the conventional school experience and should also be considered even if you are planning to teach your children at home. Supplementing your child’s home education with outings will help them to learn and is a great way to add something unique and inspiring to their home education routine.
Helpfully, you can go on many free outings, such as a trip to the National History Museum or adventures into the countryside to learn about nature. However, you should budget for things like transport, food, and drinks to ensure that you can meet your kids’ expenses during these outings.
It’s also helpful to your kids if you take them on trips that their school friends go on, and you shouldn’t exclude them from such experiences just because they are learning from home. Socialising is really important when you take your kids out of school, so take advantage of any planned school trips to benefit your children.
Conclusion: The Cost of Homeschooling in the UK
The bottom line is that it’s challenging to arrive at a single figure when planning the cost of homeschooling in the UK.
As explored throughout, there are various costs associated with homeschooling that you need to meet to ensure your child has an excellent experience when learning at home.
We hope this guide will help you put together a budget you can follow if you plan to transition to homeschooling. You can also use our excellent budgeting app to ensure you put enough money away each month to cater to the various costs associated with educating your kids at home.