Written evidence submitted by Rev. Stephen Hayhow

Home Education Committee – Evidence

My wife and I have home educated our large family of now grown children, from primary level to 6th Form and university entrance levels. Our eldest children have received degrees from Russell Group universities, and are in full-time employment.

I will respond to the questions each in turn.

  1. The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education.


In my experience of home education over last 20 years, and knowing the approach and diligence of many other home-educators, I do not believe that this requires further intervention. Many homed educators are educating their own children outside of the state and private systems precisely because they view the state education system as a failed project. It would be ironic to place them under the supervision of those responsible for providing an already very inadequate education.


  1. Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required.


I do not believe that registration will benefit home educators, nor inspection by educationalists who do not appreciate the non-schooling approach chosen by parents.


  1. The benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face.


My own children have greatly benefited from the higher levels of self-government and organisation that home education requires of the child or young person. This has been evident when they have entered 6th Form and University where self—directed learning is essential None of my children have struggled with the transition.

My knowledge of the home education network is that the vast majority of families enable their children to become self-directed, responsible young people who possess unusual levels of initiative, team-spirit and drive.


  1. The quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education.


NA in my case.

Many fear that state support leads to state control and standardisation which is one of the drivers for home educators removing their children from state education to begin with.


  1. Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’.


My experience is of parents who are self-sacrificing and diligent, who accept a lower standard of living in many cases, so that one parent can dedicate their time to their children in this way. Home educators are at large in the community, in clubs and sports, often with a much wider network of friends and associations than those afforded by the limitations of the classroom. Religious home educators are attached to churches etc, where there is another level of informal accountability and a commitment to integrity.


  1. The role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education.

Reflecting on our own experience, I cannot see how inspections would have helped us improve the education we provided for our children.  We had a large network of like-minded and committed friends, who were able to share their experience and wisdom.


Rev. S J Hayhow

October 2020