Written evidence submitted by Dr Peter Kahn


Submission in response to a Call for evidence on Home Education


Dr Peter Kahn

30th September 2020


My contribution comes in the capacity of a home-educating parent of 19 years standing, but also as an experienced lecturer in education within a Russell Group university.


The committee has invited written submissions that address a range of points around home education, but the call itself does not directly consider the need for evidence that has arisen from educational research. If the committee is interested in establishing an appropriate base of evidence for any recommendations that it might seek to make, then it should consider how it might access such an evidence base. I would suggest, for instance, that without undertaking a review of the existing educational research base, that any recommendations would be premature.

As a means to encourage such a review of the evidence base I would like to draw the attention of the committee to a number of recent research studies. This selection is intended to be illustrative, and it is acknowledged that my positionality as a home educator will have affected this selection. It should be noted, however, that the relative failure of the Badman report (Badman, 2009) stemmed in significant part from the one-sided nature of the evidence base that it relied upon. Rothermel (2010) has demonstrated that the report relied upon a limited set of interested parties. This should serve as a warning to the current consultation that this situation could easily be repeated, in that the committee is relying on a similar process to the one that underpinned the Badman report (e.g. contributions from interested parties), with clear scope for political interests to drive the conclusions rather than the needs of society as a whole, home-educated children and others.

I would like to drive home my recommendation for further dedicated educational research prior to any significant developments by highlighting some findings of studies from the existing research base:






Badman, G. (2009). Report to the Secretary of State on the review of elective home education in England (Vol. 610). The Stationery Office.

Blok, H., & Karsten, S. (2011). Inspection of home education in European countries. European Journal of Education, 46(1), 138–152.

Monk, D. (2009). Regulating home education: Negotiating standards, anomalies and rights. Child & Fam. LQ, 21, 155.

Rothermel, P. J. (2010). Home Education: Practising without Prejudice?. Every Child Journal, 1(5), 48–53.

September 2020