HS FAQs

How do I sign up?
How do I get started?

The quickest way to get started is to ring us on 01242 604985. We will talk you through the process and set up a short student induction. You can also download a referral form here and send it in to info@apricotlearningonline.co.uk. We can’t wait to start this adventure with you.

Most frequently asked questions
What is homeschooling?

Home-schooling is the process of educating students at home rather than in a traditional setting, like a school or university. Parents take full responsibility for educating their child(ren).

What is flexi-schooling?

Flexi-schooling is when students opt to be taught at home part-time, meaning they spend some time in school and some time learning at home. This option can be seen as the best of both worlds for both educational and social wellbeing.

What is full-time education?

The UK law states that all children should be in “full-time education” but it is unclear how many hours that should be. The average school day is usually 9am to 3pm with a 1-hour lunch break.

Do I need permission to home educate?

Not in England or Wales, according to the Department for Education. Whether your child currently attends a private or state school, you simply need to write to your child’s head teacher to let them know you are withdrawing your child’s name from the register and they will let the local authority know.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you need permission from your local authority, although this can’t be unreasonably withheld.

Who do I need to tell and how do I legally withdraw my child from school?

If your child is already at school, you must write to the head teacher to ask for their name to be removed from the register. The head must accept your decision if you’re taking your child out of school completely. But they can refuse if you want to send your child to school some of the time and home educate the rest of the time (known as flexi-schooling).

If your child isn’t at school, but you have been offered a school place, you must formally remove your child’s name from the register at the school that they’re due to start attending. This is usually done through the local authority.

If your child hasn’t started school and you haven’t applied for a place at school, you don’t need to do anything.

In each case there is no obligation for you to contact the local education authority although they might contact you to ask what provision you have made for your child’s education once they realise that they’re no longer registered at a school.

You can choose to home educate your child at any stage.

What if my child has special education needs?

If your child attends a special school you will need permission from the local council before their name can be removed from the register: this can’t be unreasonably denied, but is intended as an extra check to make sure you’re able to cope with your child’s needs and can provide them with a suitable education.

If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan you must inform the local authority if you’re going to home educate.
If your child attends a special unit at a normal school, you don’t need permission to de-register them.

At what age do children have to be formally educated – even if it as home

Between the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16. After 16, education is optional.

What if I am divorced?

Either parent can home educate a child without the other parent’s consent as long as their name is on the child’s birth certificate. This can be challenged in court, though.

How many hours should I be teaching my child?

Your child must be educated full-time – the law doesn’t specify how many hours but children normally receive formal teaching at school for between 22 and 25 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. You don’t have to stick to a school-style timetable or follow school terms.

What does the law say about what I have to teach?

You don’t have to follow the National Curriculum, but the Education Act says that children have the right to an ‘efficient’ and ‘suitable’ full-time education, defined as, ‘an education that equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member.’ It’s up to you to decide how to provide that education: it could be through following the National Curriculum closely, using it as a guide, or letting your child’s interests dictate their learning.

Do I need to provide evidence of what my child is learning at home and their progress?

If you withdraw your child from school, it’s likely your local authority will want to discuss your plans for providing a home education, and although this isn’t a legal requirement, home education support groups advise that you comply with their request. This could be through a home visit or a meeting outside the home, a letter setting out your educational philosophy, or written evidence such as a report, samples of work, or verification from an independent teacher. You are allowed a reasonable time to prepare this.

Do I have to be approved by anyone before I start home educating?

No. Any parent has the right to home educate, whether they are a qualified teacher or have any experience.

Do I have to be inspected or monitored?

Not by law unless it appears you aren’t providing a suitable education or the local council is concerned about the welfare of your child. If you’re in Scotland, the local government can suggest annual contact, but this isn’t compulsory.

In practice, most local authorities tend to make contact with home educators once a year to see how things are going, but you’re not obliged to meet with them either at your home or elsewhere. Many parents update their educational philosophy annually and send this to the home education contact at their local authority to keep them up to date.

Can I get help with financial costs?

No – unless you live in Scotland, in which case you can still claim Education Maintenance Allowance once your child turns 16. Otherwise, you must be prepared to assume full financial responsibility – including paying for public exams should your child sit them.

Depending on where you live you might be eligible for practical support, such as extra borrowing rights at your local library, free entry or discounts to your nearby leisure centre, or access to local school resources.

Information for parents
What keystages/ages do you teach?

We teach KS2, KS3, KS4, and KS5 (6th form). Basically ages 8 and up. You don’t have to stick to a year group based on your child’s chronological age, though. We will teach to the current stage of your child’s learning journey.

What subjects do you teach?
We teach all core subjects and a myriad of others. Check out the full offer of subjects here.
What curriculum do you follow? Are groups by sets/level? How are children assessed?

We follow the English National Curriculum for all keystages and offer full GCSE and A Level qualification courses. We also offer Functional Skills and some BTEC courses. Groups are usually comprised of year group/keystage, but this can be flexible. Differentiation within our small groups is paramountto ensure everyone gets tailored learning opportunities.

Baseline assessments take place discretely during the first 2 weeks of lessons. This allows our teachers to get the information they need to prepare lessons and resources at an appropriate level and pace. Short termly assessments and mock exam questions (KS4-KS5) are utilised to gauge expected progress.

How many students per group?
We teach a maximum of 12 students per group.
Are you DfE registered or quality assured?

Currently, no online education provision can be registered with the DfE. However, Apricot was invited to consultation meetings with the DfE in their effort to create an inspection framework for online education providers. Unfortunately, the pandemic has halted that process for the moment. On the bright side, we have been quality assured by numerous LAs and councils as part of their vetting process for their provider frameworks and are members of The Tutors’ Association.

What are parents and students saying about Apricot?
Great question! Enjoy these…. Parent comments can be found here. Student comments can be found here.
What I need to know after registering
What equipment do I need? What resources do you provide?

You will need a computer, headset, and the internet. No printer is required, as we provide all learning resources to you online.

How do I see and understand my child's progress?

Our reports are really in-depth and you can read about them and download a sample report on this page. Importantly, you should know that we report on 21st c. life skills and learning behaviours, as well as academic progress.

Do you set homework? How much? How is it submitted?
Yes, we do set weekly homework through the learning platform. Students can upload their work securely by simply responding to the assignments that are set. Simples!
What about exams or the lack thereof?

Exam years: If your child is on role at a school, then you should ensure that the school registers them to sit exams onsite. If your child is not on role at a school, then you should register them privately through your LA or Council. Non-exam years: We are not an exam centre and until final advice is forthcoming from the government, every school has their own requirements for teacher grading and evidence. Some examples are: letters from teachers, proof of QTS status (Qualified Teacher Status), course numbers, random evidence of student work and grades, some form of assessment (defined by the individual schools). Rest assured that whatever the requirements, Apricot has always been able to satisfy schools with what they need. We will continue to do so.

How do I contact Apricot if I have a problem?
We are always at the end of the phone or an email. Ring us on 01242 604985 to get started or for curriculum questions, technical support, etc. Our email is info@apricotlearningonline.co.uk. Once you start, you’ll be able to contact your child’s teacher directly through their individual school email address.