Non-School Nottingham

Nottingham-related groups and resources for what’s often called “home education”.

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We’re lucky in Nottingham to have a thriving “home ed” community, including hundreds of children and young people of all ages.

Families organise things & support each other. Some people go into school “part way through”; some try school and switch to home ed. Nottingham College* offers GCSE and other courses to young people not in school.

The myth: people often seem to imagine one or two lonely children in a tiny classroom in a house! with their Mum as the teacher!

The reality: Real children from the non-school world are often out and about – swimming, skating, walking in woodland, at the library, visiting museums, round at a friend’s house, and almost anywhere else you might imagine. Home-based education would usually be more accurate: or, as people also say, “the world is our classroom”.

Cartoon. A family is having breakfast. A teenager, holding a mobile phone, announces "Aisha says let's meet at the library and practise sign language.". An adult - the parent - replies "Well, it's science club at 2pm, then Guides, but you _could_ fit it in before those..."

You don’t have to wait till your child is “school age” to start going to non-school meetups. There are meetups which include babies and toddlers.

Many groups and events also welcome children who are still in school, to visit, so that the family can “dip into the flavour” of home ed before taking the leap. Some groups continue to run during school holidays.

You don’t have to be academically brainy to be a home ed parent. Some home ed parents did well in “formal education” themselves; some hated school. It’s much more about the common sense of knowing your child, knowing what sparks their curiosity and what they love to do, supporting them, and setting up opportunities for them.

At times when you think “Hmm, how can I handle this?” or “I’m not sure what’s best”, there’s lots of support from other home ed parents online, or via chatting at meetups.

I’m thinking of taking my child out of school, or not putting my child into school. Where do I start?

See a snapshot of current activities in the Nottingham area.

Find out about the East Midlands Home Education email list, some local Facebook groups, and Non School Nottingham on Twitter.

Note: Don’t mix up this kind of “home education” with the kind where a child is ill or excluded, and the school or the council “sends work home” or organises a tutor. Confusingly, that sometimes gets referred to as “home education” as well.

This site is about the kind of home education where the parents organise the child’s activities, often getting together with other local parents. In formal wording, you might see this kind referred to as “Elective home education”. “Elective” means “chosen”.

Aside from those words, other phrases you might hear include child-led learning, unschooling, autonomous education, personalised education and home schooling (though that last one’s more of a US term).

* Nottingham College is the merger of Central College and New College Nottingham. They joined together in the summer of 2017. Most or all of the GCSE courses for home edders are now at the Stoney Street site in the city centre.