Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Alternative Education Registration and Assessment Service

Advice Line

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
Or
01 771 8854

home.education@tusla.ie

Under Section 14 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Tusla is responsible for maintaining a register of all children who are home educated /schooled or who attend a non-recognised / independent school. This is a school that is not overseen by the Department of Education and Skills.   

If you are a parent/guardian who wishes to home educate your child or send them to a non-recognised/independent school, you will find information here.

The information provided will help you make your decision about educating your child at home or outside a recognised school. The information includes the application form you will need to apply and guidance on how to complete and submit your application. You will also find information on who to contact if you would like further information or advice about applying for home education/home schooling. You will also find information about the assessment process.

Home Education and Attending Independent Schools

The Irish Constitution acknowledges the role of a parent / guardian as the primary educator of the child and has enshrined in law that a parent / guardian may home educate a child or may choose to send their child to a non-recognised school (that is an Independent School not overseen or funded by the Department of Education and Skills).

Parents 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 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 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. It should also be noted that the law places an onus on the parent 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 or others responsible for the education of a child in a home or other 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 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.

In line with parents who educate children at home, parents who choose to send their children to an independent school must apply to have their child registered in the Section 14 Register, for children receiving an education in a place other than a recognised school. An Authorised Person will carry out an assessment of the education being provided at the identified Independent School.

Role of the Child and Family Agency

Tusla - Child and Family Agency supports the right of parents to educate at home and would like to work with parents, carers and the education community to develop effective and supportive partnerships. 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 education at home or in a non-recognised/independent school. All parents or guardians who want to educate their children at home or in a non-recognised school must register their child with Tusla. Registration is not automatic. It is a legal obligation and the onus is on parents or guardians to make an application on behalf of their child.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has from August 26th 2020 introduced a new application form defined in legislation to govern the application process for parents 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) function in Tusla is responsible for the regulation of provision for education in places other than recognised schools. Its function is to make assessment of the educational provision for children against ministerial guidance, in order to determine if a child can be placed on the statutory register of children educated outside of a recognised school.

 

Who can apply for home education/registration on the Section 14 Register for children receiving an education in a place other than a recognised school?

You can 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 for if your child is not attending a recognised (DES) school and if your child is resident in the State and;

  1. your child has reached the age of 6 and is not older than 16; or
  2. your child is aged 16, has not completed 3 years of post-primary education & 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.

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
What happens after I submit an application?

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 a recognised school prior to engaging in home education/home schooling.

The registration, and assessment of the home education provision is subject to a periodic review by the Child and Family Agency.

The Alternative Education Assessment and Registration Service has developed guidance for parents/guardians who wish to apply to home educate or send their child to an independent school. Information on how to apply are contained in the following documents;

Submission of applications for children attending a non-recognised/independent school will be facilitated by the relevant school on behalf of the parent(s)/guardian(s).

Completed application forms for home education should be returned to:

Email - home.education@tusla.ie

Registration Section
Alternative Education Assessment & Registration Service
Child and Family Agency
Floor 2, Brunel Building
Heuston South Quarter
Dublin 8

Advice Line

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
Or
01 771 8854

home.education@tusla.ie

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