Home Education in Europe

The Legality of Home Education

Home education is a valid alternative to school and experience shows that home educated children often approach life with a more open minded outlook.  They may not have detailed knowledge of some subjects covered by a country's national curriculum, however often have an enthusiasm for learning and discovery that lasts throughout their life and in-depth knowledge in specific subjects that they vastly enjoy.

Home education is often largely informal, particularly with younger children, with lessons being taught through games and conversation, however as children get older, more formal lessons are often begun, either with a parent or a private tutor.

Home education (or homeschooling) is legal in most countries in Europe, as summarised in the table below.

Country Status Comments
Austria Legal Children are required to pass a test administered four times a year.
Belgium Legal In Wallonia (the French speaking part of Belgium) obligatory tests have recently been introduced at ages 8, 10, 12, and 14.  In Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium) tests are optional.
Croatia Illegal A proposal is currently being reviewed to allow a Montessori like approach to home education.
Czech Republic Legal  
Denmark Legal  
Finland Legal Homeschooling is less common in Finland than in other countries where it's legal.
France Legal

Les Enfants d'Abord is the largest home education charity in France.   We also recommend visiting Parent Concept for information in English on homeschooling in France.

French homeschooling is legal and monitored on a yearly basis from age 6 and up.  Between 6 and 11, meetings are with parents to discuss educational methods, etc. 

From 12 onwards, children are tested in 4 subjects (French, a foreign language (of the parents' choice), Maths and Geography/History (this is counted as one subject in France).  Children are expected to show progress between annual tests.

You may have heard a rumour of a bill being considered to outlaw home education in France.  This only ever made it to a very early stage in France's legal process and in March 2014 it was rejected.

Germany Illegal The German government enforce the illegality of home education.  Despite this, it is estimated that approx. 800 children are homeschooled in Germany.
Greece Illegal  
Hungary Legal but restricted While homeschooling is legal in Hungary, parents must follow this school curriculum, it is therefore rarer than in most other countries.
Ireland Legal Children are required to register with the Republic of Ireland's National Education Welfare Board.
Italy Legal but restricted Homeschooling is legal, however children must register at a school where they take their final exams.  It is less commonly chosen in Italy.
Netherlands Generally Illegal Education is compulsory from a child's 5th birthday, school attendance may be refused if parents object to the 'direction' of the education of all schools within a reasonable distance from their home.
Norway Legal  
Poland Legal but restricted Individual school principals may allow homeschooling, however children must pass the same annual exams in the school curriculum.  Failure to pass an exam automatically terminates the home education permit.
Portugal Legal  
Russia Legal and supported Since 1994 homeschooling has tripled to approx. 1 million students in Russian.  Home educators have the right to access textbooks and teacher support at their local school and receive a payment in proportion to that of educating a child at a municipal school to fund their education.
Slovenia Legal  
Slovac Republic Legal but restricted The child's tutor is obliged to have a degree with a Major in Primary school education.
Spain Illegal  
Sweden Very restricted While not technically illegal in Sweden, it is very difficult to gain permission to homeschool.
Switzerland Legal  
Turkey Illegal  
Ukraine In Dispute The Home School Legal Defense Association claims that homeschooling is legal and expressly allowed for in Ukraine’s Education Law, but local authorities do not always agree
United Kingdom Legal There are over 50,000 children home educating in the UK.  Education Otherwise is the largest homeschooling charity in the UK.