Friday 13 May 2022

About Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in Children and Adolescents Part 2 - Home Schooling & Home Tuition



Education - Home Schooling & Home Tuition

Unsuitable educational demands are a key cause of relapse in children/adolescents. 

Children are made more sick and achieve nothing. Home education is available for those too ill to attend school but not generally suitable for the severe/very severe child or adolescent, who make a better recovery if education is postponed until stabilisation of the illness. 

A modified timetable might be possible for some children who are able to attend school for a couple of hours or for a shorter time to continue participation in selected school activities and to take exams sequentially over longer periods. 

School withdrawal may be best for those not able for school and education can take place at home. There is, however, no evidence that young people educated this way fare worse than in conventional school classes, while many sufferers achieve better results in the absence of school stress and repeated exposure to infection.

We know of some people in our ME Community who are or have been Home Schooled or who receive/have received Home Tuition, who have described the ups and downs. We know that it is not always easy and can be very difficult for some, especially those in the Severe/Very Severe category, but it can be the type of education that works for people with ME who are too unwell to attend school at times or in severe cases too unwell to ever attend school.

Parents in Ireland have a constitutional right to educate their children at home, and you do not need to have a formal teaching qualification. You don't need to follow the national curriculum (though some parents choose to do so), though you must ensure that your child receives a ‘certain minimum education, moral, intellectual and social’ (Article 42.3.2 4.3.2.)

See Article 42 of the Constitution for all here and here


Children with ME need contact with a teacher as much as any other child, but many are not able to attend school for long periods. The answer is to bring the teacher to them if they are able for it. It is important not to push a child through illness for the sake of ensuring education, a child may only be able for short periods of education or none at all.

There are two types of Home Education – Home Tuition and Home Schooling.

Not all tutors understand the illness and frequently, lessons have to be cancelled when the child is not up to studying. Not all children are well enough to have someone tutor them.

Home Tuition

The purpose of the Home Tuition Scheme is to provide a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme also provides a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement.

Home Tuition is a type of home education that can be set up when your child is registered with a school but because of illness or other reasons they are unable to attend school.

Home Tuition comes under the Department of Education, and they pay the Tutors who come out to the child at home.
Children are entitled to a certain number of hours tuition per week. Some children may be able to do only portions of that time due to being too unwell and suffering from PENE (also referred to as PEM), and in some cases a child may not be able to attempt any tuition because of illness severity.
See more here


How to Apply

Please read Circular 0044/2020 Home Tuition Grant Scheme 2022/2023 – Special Education Component, for information on this Scheme and details of eligibility criteria here


Application Forms -

HTMED1: Application for home tuition for pupils with a significant medical condition 2022/2023 here

Contact Details:

Address: Special Education Section, Department of Education & Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, County Westmeath. N37 X659


Phone: (090) 648 4187


Parents and Learners Unit – Home Tuition Section

Address: Parents and Learners Unit – Home Tuition Section, Department of Education and Skills , Cornamaddy, Atlone , County Westmeath , N37 X659


Phone number: 090 648 4099

To find tutors:


The parent/legal guardian who has made application for home tuition must complete a Payment Claim Form. This form must be completed and signed by both the parent/legal guardian and the tutor. See more details re the payment claim form here


According to a parent we spoke to, the Home Tuition application process is time consuming and a GP needs to sign part of the application form. From a parent's point of view the parent we spoke to found the Home Tuition Section very good to deal with.


Image by Tymes Trust (UK)


Home Schooling

Home Schooling is when a child is educated at home rather than school and the child has never been registered or is no longer registered with a school – it is a constitutional right of parents enshrined in law under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000.

If you wish to try home schooling in Ireland the first thing to do is register with Education Welfare Services, part of TUSLA online here or phone: 01 771 8638

More here which includes information on registration, assessment, interview, appeals, state exams etc from Citizens Information


This needs to be done when the child turns six*, or you remove them from school, whichever applies. The board then organises a meeting/phone call to go through the formalities of registering your child as home schooled.

*In 2000, the Irish Government brought in a system of registration for home educated children aged six to sixteen, with teenagers usually staying on the register until they reach eighteen.




Home Education Network (HEN)

More information is available from Home Education Network Ireland (HEN), a peer-to-peer support group for those home educating or thinking of the option. It operates a phone line and hosts meet-ups. "Home education is a positive option for many families who find that school does not meet their children's needs,” says Cora McCauley, HEN PRO. “It is perfectly legal and is protected under the Constitution. Children must be registered with Tusla.

See link to HEN here: -


HEN Facebook page here


Support on Facebook

The Homeschoolers Ireland Facebook group is reportedly a good one. This private group is for parents who are Home Educating in Ireland Only. See here


Another private FB group for parents and caregivers to share home schooling tips and techniques is available here


The Home Schoolers Ireland page is a public page which aims to provide parents with information regarding Home Education in Ireland. That page is available via this link

There is plenty help, support and advice available to anyone home schooling – or just considering it.



Educational Resources,

Family Learning Hub here



Personal Stories re Home Schooling

An inspiring piece from a 14-year-old with ME re Home Schooling & Education via Physios for ME via this link


Another blog piece from Physios for ME featuring a young person with ME. Sian is 15 years old and shares some excellent advice here



Further information on Registration with Tulsa for Home Schooling

This needs to be done when the child turns six, or you remove them from school, whichever applies. The board then organises a meeting/phone call to go through the formalities of registering your child as home schooled.

The Education Welfare Services board ensures that you have given thought to all aspects of your child’s education – moral, physical, religious, social and intellectual – and also that you physically have an area for your child to learn (well-lit, well-ventilated, warm and comfortable), and a space where artwork can be displayed.

Information on what is expected from you will also be imparted during the meeting as well as other useful information – such as, if your child ever enters mainstream school in Ireland, they will not be entitled to an exemption from Irish. In addition, both parents (even if you are separated or divorced) may be asked to confirm that they are happy for the child to be home-schooled. None of this process involves interviewing or testing your child.

TUSLA will then make a decision on your suitability to home school and you will be informed of that decision in writing. If your child has a school place, it will be held for them until this decision is confirmed, although they will not be on the registration list and thus will not be marked as absent for not attending.

*There was a backlog in people applying during the covid pandemic, with some prospective home schoolers reporting a 12 to 18 month wait between the initial contact and the meeting/phone call. This may no longer be the case, however, once you make initial contact and applied stating your intentions, you are covered to start home schooling. So, you do not need to wait for final approval to begin.

Tymes Trust (UK)  (

has some excellent areas on their website with regards to issues children and parents have with home schooling and having their children out of school for long periods because of illness with ME, including problems with schools making judgements on long term sickness abscence, Child Protection Issues and other useful documents for children/adolescents which could be adapted for use. See link to publications here

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the post or the information, products, services, etc contained in the post for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.The suitability of any solution is totally dependent on the individual. It is strongly recommended to seek professional advice and assistance. 

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