Application Forms and Guidance
The Irish Constitution acknowledges the role of a parent/guardian as the primary educator of the child and has enshrined in law the rights of a parent/guardian to home educate their child. Parents/Guardians who choose to educate their child in places other than recognised schools take on an important role. They undertake to provide a certain minimum education for their child – a task that requires considerable forethought and effective implementation, as well as a major commitment in time and energy. The vast majority of parents/guardians who choose to educate their children in this way, demonstrate great commitment to the process and find it a satisfying and successful experience.
It must be remembered that, while parents/guardians that home educate may employ a variety of resources (including, in some cases, tutors, specialist teachers, correspondence courses, on-line educational programs, etc.) in providing home-based education, the overall responsibility for the education provided for the child remains with the parents/guardians. It should also be noted that the law places an onus on the parent/guardian, as a provider and primary educator, to assist an Authorised Person in carrying out an assessment of the education being provided.
There is no requirement for parents/guardians or others responsible for the education of a child in the home or alternative setting outside of a recognised school to have any special qualifications. However, it is reasonable to expect that they would demonstrate a commitment and capacity to providing an education suited to the needs of the child/ren concerned. If you choose to home-educate your child, you do not need a formal teaching qualification.
There are many reasons why parents/guardians choose to home educate children including but not limited to personal circumstances/family life, philosophical or religious reasons. You do not need to follow the national curriculum, but you must ensure that your child receives a certain minimum education. You can choose a suitable approach based on your child's learning needs and appropriate to their age, aptitude and ability.
Role of the Child and Family Agency
Tusla -The Child and Family Agency supports the right of parents/guardians to educate their child at home. The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) have a legal requirement under Section 14 of the Education and Welfare Act 2000 to maintain a register of children who are receiving an education at home. All parents/guardians who want to educate their child at home must submit an application for Section 14 Registration under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. Registration is not automatic, it is a legal obligation and the onus is on parents/guardians to make an application on behalf of their child.
In 2020, the Minister for Children introduced a new application process for parents/guardians who wish to educate their children outside of a recognised school. A copy of the legislation can be found here
The Alternative Education Assessment and Registration Service (AEARS) is responsible for the regulation of provision for education in places other than recognised schools. Its function is to make an assessment of the educational provision for children under guidance from the Minister, in order to determine if a child can be placed on the statutory register of children in receipt of an education outside of a recognised school.
Who should apply for home education/registration on the Section 14 Register?
You may apply for home education/section 14 registration if you are the parent(s), guardian(s) or foster parent(s) of a child and you are currently, or you intend to educate your child/ren at home or at a non-recognised/independent school.
You must apply for registration if your child is not attending a recognised (DES) school and if your child is resident in the State and;
- your child has reached the age of 6 and is not older than 16; or
- your child is aged 16, has not completed 3 years of post-primary education and has not yet reached the age of 18.
If your child is between 16 and 18 years of age and is being home educated or attending an independent school, you may apply for registration.
All children on the section 14 Register are entitled to the same status as a child receiving their education in a recognised school. They are entitled to certain state benefits such as child benefit, and health benefits in line with children attending a Department of Education recognised school. Further information can be found from relevant government departments e.g., https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-health/ and https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-social-protection/.
Children, whose names are on the Section 14 Register, are automatically removed from the register when they reach the age of 18 years.
Do I need to submit a copy of my child’s birth certificate?
The completed application form must be submitted with a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate. Please do not send in the original copy of your child’s birth certificate. The return of the birth certificate may take several weeks. If a birth certificate is not available, a certified copy of the child’s passport will also be accepted.
A certified document is a photocopy of an original document that has been viewed, validated and marked as original sighted by one of the following:
- A practising Solicitor or Commissioner of Oaths
- A member of An Garda Síochána
- A Notary Public
- Peace Commissioner
Before you submit an application
Please ensure that you carefully read the guidelines for completing an application for Home Education/Section 14 Registration. Only fully completed applications with a certified document and the required signed consent can be deemed as valid.
Where do I submit my application/s?
Please ensure that a separate application form is completed for each individual child and is submitted with an accompanying certified birth certificate or passport.
Completed application forms for Home Education should be returned directly to the Alternative Education Assessment and Registration Service via email or post:
Email - email@example.com
Alternative Education Assessment & Registration Service
Child and Family Agency
Floor 7, Brunel Building
Heuston South Quarter
Dublin 8, D08X01F.
What happens after I submit an application?
Once you have received acknowledgement of receipt of a VALID application from the AEARS service, home education can commence.
Before a child’s name can be placed on the register, the education being provided must be assessed under Section 14 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, in line with the Guidelines on the Assessment of Education in Places other than a Recognised School 2003 issued by the Minister of Education and Skills. The assessment of the education provision is to determine if the child/ren are in receipt of a certain minimum education.
The Constitution of Ireland states that ‘the State shall, however, as guardian of the common good, require in view of actual conditions that the children receive a certain minimum education moral, intellectual and social’.
If following this assessment, it is decided that the child is in receipt of a certain minimum education their name will be placed on the Section 14 Register. It is at this stage of the process where your child/ren’s name/s will be removed from the register of a recognised school if they previously attended prior to engaging in home education.
The registration, and assessment of the education provision is subject to periodic review by the Child and Family Agency.
Advice Line Home Education
If you have any queries around home education or the application process, please contact the Alternative Education Assessment and Registration Service, details below:
01 771 8635