New Hampshire State Regulations
Updated November 17, 2015 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation: optional
- Schools accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges or an accrediting body approved by the nonpublic school advisory committee are designated as approved for attendance and program for five years. New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rule Education (N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed.) 401.02 (c) and 405.01.
- Registration: mandatory
- Every sole proprietor doing business in this state under any name other than the sole proprietor’s own name, and every partnership, trust or association doing business in this state shall register the trade name of such business, trust or association in the mAnn.er provided in 349:5 and 349:6. New Hampshire Revised Statute Annotated (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann.) §349:1.
- Licensing: no requirements
- Approval: mandatory
- Attendance at an approved private school fulfills the compulsory attendance requirements. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193:1.
- The approval of private schools as a substitute for public school attendance is a reasonable exercise of the state’s power whereby it can be known by reasonable means that the required teaching is given. State v. Hoyt, 146 A. 170 (1929).
- The Board of Education is charged with adopting administrative rules relative to reasonable criteria for approving non-public schools for the purpose of compulsory attendance requirements as authorized by N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §186:11, XXIX.
- A nonpublic school must have some combination of grades k through 12 and either (1) be approved for status of attendance and program as laid out in N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed. 404 or (2) be approved for status of attendance as set forth in N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed. 403. N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed. 401.02.
- Teacher certification is not required for teachers at private schools.
Length of School Year and Days
- A nonpublic school must maintain a school year consisting of 450 hours for kindergarten students, 945 hours for students in grades one through six, and 990 hours for students in grades seven through 12. Each school must build in an additional 30 hours for time lost due to inclement weather or other circumstances. The commissioner pursuant to RSA 189:2 may reduce the required minimum hours of instruction due to extraordinary circumstances that would place an unreasonable burden on the school or students. N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed 401.03.
- The full-time attendance requirement may be met by attendance at more than one school provided the total time spent in the schools is equivalent to full-time attendance and further that the attendance at more than one school may include attendance at a nonpublic school provided that the school district and the state board of education have given prior approval to the detailed dual-enrollment agreement, which is to be effectuated for this purpose. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193:1-a.
- Private schools must provide courses in the history, government and constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire, including the organization and operation of New Hampshire municipal, county and state government and of the federal government. The instruction must begin no later than eighth grade and continue in high school as an identifiable component of a year’s course in the history and government of the United States and New Hampshire. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:11.
- The English language must be used exclusively in private schools for instruction and general administration. Bilingual education programs are permitted with the approval of the Board of Education and the local school district. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:19.
- Devotional exercises in private schools may be conducted in a language other than English. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:21.
- The governing board of a private school must supply a United States flag, not less than 5 feet in length, with a flagstaff and appliances for display outdoors. Failure to comply is a violation. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:17.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- The governing body of every school district, city, joint maintenance agreement, chartered public school, or approved public academy, shall, on or before August 1 in each year, submit to the department of education those statistical reports necessary to compute the average daily membership of pupils attending each school district, and the average daily membership of pupils resident in each school district. Information relating to the fall enrollment, drop-outs, staffing census, and average teacher salary, as of October 1 of each school year, shall be submitted to the department of education on or before October 15. Private schools shall submit average daily membership in attendance, fall enrollment, and teacher staff census. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:28
- All elementary and secondary educational institutions, upon request of a private school or a school district as authorized by a parent, student, or former student, must furnish a student record to any elementary or secondary educational institution. There shall be no charge for any record furnished pursuant to this section. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §194:31-a.
Health and Safety Requirements
- Nonpublic schools shall comply with applicable state, local and federal fire and health requirements and shall provide documentation from federal, state and/or local officials for such compliance. N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed. 403.01(c).
- “Each local fire chief shall annually inspect all school buildings within his or her jurisdiction while school is in session and submit a written report to the state fire marshal on the condition of all such school buildings. A copy of the report shall be furnished to the school district superintendent and school board members. The report shall detail any state fire code compliance issues in each school building. The report shall be submitted no later than December 15 each year.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §153:14 II (b).
- “Within 2 years of the effective date of this section (eff. July 1, 2007), every public and nonpublic school shall develop a site-specific school emergency response plan which is based on and conforms to the Incident Command System and the National Incident Management System. The plan shall provide that at least 2 of the currently required number of fire evacuation drills shall be emergency response drills. The plan shall address hazards including but not limited to acts of violence, threats, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, structural fire, wildfire, internal and external hazardous materials releases, medical emergencies, and any other hazard deemed necessary by school officials and local emergency authorities. The first emergency response drill shall be conducted within one year of the completion of the plan.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:64.
- No child shall be admitted or enrolled in any private school unless the child is immunized as required, partially immunized relative to the age of the child, or exempt from immunization. A child is exempt if a physician certifies that the immunization may be detrimental to the child’s health or a parent/guardian signs a notarized statement that the child has not been immunized because of religious beliefs. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§141-c:20-a, c.
- All children shall be examined prior to school entrance and periodically during the school years as often as deemed necessary by the local school authority. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§200:32, 200:38.
- Pupils attending approved private schools (k–12) are entitled to the same transportation privileges within any town or district as provided for pupils in public schools. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:9.
- The school board of any school district may provide textbooks and instructional materials for pupils in nonpublic schools. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:49.
- The secretary of state will provide one copy of the state’s annual legislative manual to every private secondary school library in the state without charge. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §20:5.
- The school board of any school district may provide educational testing services for pupils in nonpublic schools. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:49.
- Private schools may contact the Department of Education to participate in the statewide assessment under the Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-C:6.
- No state or federal funds may be paid to a nonpublic school for the education and training of children with disabilities that have not been approved by the State Board of Education. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §198:20-a.
- The New Hampshire legislature has authorized the school board of any school district to provide nonpublic schools the following special education services: 1) health and welfare services including speech correction and remedial and diagnostic services; 2) programs for the deaf, blind, emotionally disturbed, children with disabilities; and 3) programs for the improvement of the educational studies of pupils with disabilities. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:49.
Nursing and Health
- The school board of any school district may provide the following child benefit services for pupils in nonpublic schools: school physician, nurse, and health services; school guidance and psychologist services; health and welfare services including speech correction and remedial and diagnostic services; programs for the deaf, blind, emotionally disturbed, children with disabilities and audio-visual aids and programs for the improvement of the educational studies of pupils with disabilities; physical education; and, a hot lunch program. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:49.
- The school board of any school district may provide educational television services for pupils in nonpublic schools. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189:49.
- No state policy pertaining to professional development currently exists.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- An independent high school that contracts with a school district or districts to provide education services can be considered a “public academy” and maintained by the district. The public academy must (1) offer a curriculum including subjects determined by the contracting school districts and those listed in statute including “history, government, and constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire and of the organization and operation of New Hampshire municipal, county, and state government”; (2) follow standards of the state board of education; and (3) qualify a pupil to receive a diploma. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§194.22 and 194.23.
- Private and parochial and public schools that conduct courses in driver education approved by the State Department of Education are exempt from applicable license fees. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §263:44.
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: The New Hampshire Constitution provides, “religious societies shall at all times have the right of electing their own teachers, and of contracting with them for their support or maintenance, or both. But no person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any sect or denomination. And every person, denomination or sect shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect, denomination or persuasion to another shall ever be established.” New Hampshire Constitution Pt. 1, Art. 6. The New Hampshire Constitution also provides “No money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools or institutions of any religious sect or denomination.” New Hampshire Constitution Pt. 2, Art. 83. Textbooks, physician, nurse and health services, and hot lunches are nonideological; there is no danger that they will be used to foster religion; they are furnished at the request of the student, not the school; and, there will be no need for continuing surveillance which would lead to excessive entanglement. Therefore, the aid is constitutionally permissible. Opinion of the Justices, 115 N.H. § 553 (1975).
- Programs for financial assistance for attendance at private schools: No such programs currently exist.
Initial and Renewal Applications
- A parent planning on beginning a home education program must notify the commissioner of the department of education, resident district superintendent, or principal of a nonpublic school of such within five business days of beginning the program. Notification must include a list of the names, addresses, and birth dates of all children participating in the program. The commissioner of the department of education, resident district superintendent, or principal of a nonpublic school must inform the parent of his receipt of the notification within 14 days of the receipt. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-A:5.
- If a parent intends to terminate the home education program, he or she must submit a written notice of termination with the commissioner of education, and the resident district superintendent or nonpublic school principal within 15 days. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-A:5.
Curriculum and Instruction
- Home education satisfies New Hampshire’s compulsory attendance law. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193:1.
- The state board of education must adopt rules, pursuant to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §541-A, to administer home education programs. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-A3.
- “Instruction shall be deemed home education if it consists of instruction in science, mathematics, language, government, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, the history of the constitutions of New Hampshire and the United States, and an exposure to and appreciation of art and music. The department of education, resident district superintendent, or a nonpublic school shall work with parents upon request in meeting these requirements.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-A:4.
- The parent must maintain a portfolio of records consisting of “a log which designates by title the reading materials used, and also samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the child.” The parent must keep the portfolio on file for a minimum of two years from the date of the ending of the instruction. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-A:6.
Assessment and Diplomas
- A student in a home education program must receive an annual educational evaluation to demonstrate his/her educational progress is at a level commensurate with the student’s age and ability. This requirement can be met in one of the following options: 1) a certified teacher or a teacher currently teaching in a nonpublic school selected by the parent may evaluate the student and submit a written evaluation to the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal; 2) the student may take any national student achievement test, administered by a person who meets the qualifications established by the provider or publisher of the test, and submit the results to the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal; 3) the student may take a state student assessment test used by the resident district and submit the results to the commissioner of education, the resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal; or 4) the student may be evaluated using “any other valid measurement tool mutually agreed upon by the parent and the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-A:6.
Public School Access
- “Nonpublic or home educated pupils shall have access to curricular courses and cocurricular programs offered by the school district in which the pupil resides. The local school board may adopt a policy regulating participation in curricular courses and cocurricular programs, provided that such policy shall not be more restrictive for non-public or home educated pupils than the policy governing the school district’s resident pupils. In this section, ‘cocurricular’ shall include those activities which are designed to supplement and enrich regular academic programs of study, provide opportunities for social development, and encourage participation in clubs, athletics, performing groups, and service to school and community. For purposes of allowing access as described in this section, a ‘home educated pupil’ shall not include any pupil who has graduated from a high school level program of home education, or its equivalent, or has attained the age of 21.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193:1-c.
- A home education advisory council will carry out duties assigned by the commissioner of education. The council will work with home educators and representatives of private and public education to encourage understanding of home education. N.H. Code Admin. Rule Ed. 315.08(a).
Information and Legislation
- New Hampshire Department of Education: Nonpublic School Approval Office
- New Hampshire Department of Education: Opening a Nonpublic School
- New Hampshire Department of Education: Home Education
- New Hampshire Revised Statutes
- New Hampshire Office of Legislative Services: Administrative Rules
Contact Information – State and Federal Departments of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
Hugh J. Gallen State Office Park
101 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 271-3759
Toll-Free: (800) 339-9900
Fax: (603) 271-1953
U.S. Department of Education, New Hampshire
Updated November 17, 2015