School at home: legislation and children involved

What is the Homeschooling Act?

In France, education is compulsory for all children, French and foreign, between 3 and 16 years old. Parents can choose to send their children to school; or provide this instruction yourself, provided that this instruction only concerns the children of one and the same family.

The new legislation confirming respect for the principles of the Republic (Law No. 2021-1109 of August 24, 2021) will tighten access to this way of learning from the beginning of the 2022 school year, knowing that the official objective remains to a child to acquire specific knowledge and skills. Raising a child in the family will become derogatory, and controls designed to measure children’s learning will be strengthened.

To note : families whose child was home-schooled in 2021 will enjoy a moratorium until 2023-2024, provided they validate the review by the Academic Inspectorate.

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How is home schooling followed?

The checks, which are already effective, are carried out:

  • at municipal level, at the initiative of the mayor, from the 1st year, thereafter every 2 years, until the child is 16 years old;
  • and at the initiative of the academic directors of the National Education Services (Dasen).

In case of opposition to a pedagogical check, the Dasen can report this to the Public Prosecution Service.

What is the purpose of checks?

Individually, the checks to which the students are subject are intended to ensure that they acquire the knowledge (common basis) and the necessary skills. They are led by the academy inspector, possibly assisted by a school psychologist. If the acquired skills are insufficient, a second check is imposed. If the result of the second check is still unsatisfactory, Dasen can demand that the child be enrolled in a school within fourteen days. In case of refusal, violators are punished with a prison sentence of 6 months and a fine of 7,500 euros.

To note : students who have passed the tests automatically receive permission for the school years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.

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Who can homeschool?

Before the start of the school year in September 2022, families must report to the mayor of their municipality and to Dasen to inform him. This statement must be renewed every year. If this instruction is not sent to the mayor and Dasen, the offending families risk a fine of 1,500 euros.

The (written) statement must contain the following information:

  • Surname, first name, date of birth and address of the child.
  • Surnames, first names and addresses of the child’s parents.
  • Address where instruction is given if different from home address.

What are the reasons for homeschooling?

Based on this statement from the parents, Dasen issues an authorization if one of the following 4 reasons is met:

  • The child’s state of health or disability does not allow the child to receive education in a conventional institution.
  • Practicing intensive sports or artistic activities.
  • A homelessness of the family taking the child away from a public school.
  • The existence of a specific situation of the child that motivates the specific educational project, provided that the persons responsible for his upbringing justify their ability to ensure education in the family. No specific diploma is required to guarantee education. The chosen approach and teaching methods must be presented to the inspector in charge of the inspection.

In practice, the request for permission must include a written presentation of the educational project, as well as the documents justifying the ability to teach in the family. It is awarded for a period not exceeding the school year, unless it is based on the child’s health or disability.

Parents convicted by a criminal court or persons registered in the national judicial file of perpetrators of sexual or violent offenses cannot be held responsible for the family investigation.

Good to know : the absence of a response from the Scientific Director within two months of the request for authorization counts as a decision of acceptance.

Can I get financial support?

People with at least 2 dependent children under the age of 20 who are raised as part of home education are eligible for child benefit. These benefits are paid each month and are adjusted according to means, the number of dependent children and their age.

On the other hand, homeschooling does not entitle you to the Back-to-School Allowance (ARS). If some children cannot be registered at a school, they will be registered free of charge at the National Center for Distance Education (Cned) after consultation with Dasen.

Homeschooling is eligible for college and high school scholarships.

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