Written evidence submitted by A Russell

I am a home educating parent of two children. Neither have been to school. The children are thriving and learning through home education. I want to help to promote a better understanding of what elective home education looks like.

The duties of local authorities with regaurds to home education including safegaurding and asuring the quality of home education.

The local authority does not need any further role in safegaurding. That role is undertaken by social services and they have adequate power to do so. Home education has been statistically proven to not be a risk factor in relation to child abuse.

In terms of assuring the quality of the educational provision, it is legally the parents responsibilty to provide a suitable education, not the LA. This means that it is also the responsibilty of the parents to decide what is suitable. If what they choose falls into the category of abuse/neglect, then social services have the power to intervene. LAs could provide support to social services in making these judjements, but in order to do so they should have a broader understanding of the different peadagogical philosophies and approaches and should not descriminate between them. Alternatively a designated person in each social services area could assume that responibilty and take on additional training in order to be able to do so.


Whether a statory register of home educated children is required

If a register is in place there must be a clear reason for the purpose of having it. If inspection is not required, which I believe it is not, then it serves no purpose.

A register should be kept of children who are off rolled, excluded or found to be attending unregistered schools. The parents of these children are not electively home educating and may require further support, including online school or alternative school placement.


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

Electively home educated children benefit from the freedom their parents have to educate them in whatever peadagogical approach they deem fit. Who knows and loves their child more than a parent and is therefore in a strong position to provide them with a nurturing rich and engaging learning environment? A list of benefits might include:

More qulitity time with their family

A broader curriculum that can be focussed on their interests, for example more time sspent on the arts or on subjects not covered so much in schools such as geology or astonomy.

More time spent outdoors

More time to play and socialise with other children

More time to rest when needed

More time being active

Individualised support and provision that is flexible and adaptive

More time spent socializing with peers of different ages and abilities

More experience with real life, eg shopping, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, planning mechanics and other core life skills.

Access to more hands on real life learning that is difficult to accommodate with a large class of children and ticht timetable

Freedom to learn at their own pace, whether that be more slowly or quickly that others their age

Freedom from the pressure of multiple examinations and tests, thus supporting better mental health

Availability of a parent and close family/ friends/community to offerpastoral support and guidance, thus reducing things like bullying and mental health issues

More access to cultural venues such as museums, galleries etc as these don’t need to be done at the weekend orwith a large group

A wealth of local knowledge and skills within the HE community which are often shared for free and children look up to and respect other adults and children and teachers.

Freedom for parents to choose what behaviour management strategies to use,picking something that is effective for their own child rather than something that is used for a whole class but can be harmful for some individuals (public shaming with names on boards etc)

Being able to learn in a timeframe that suits the child, for example most learning would not need to take place mon-fri 9am-3pm and can equate to lots more learning time as there is no need for ‘administrative tasks’ like registers, lining up, whole class disciplin etc that there would be in schools.


The only disadvantage they face is in relation to accessible free public exams (see below) and also public opinion.  If LEAs had a better understanding of HE and were more supportive of I,t that messge might spread more generally. Although often people change their minds about HE once they actually meet home educated children and have their misconceptions of what HE involves adjusted.


The quality and accessibilty of support (including finanial support) available to home educators and their children, inc those with Special needs, disabilities and mental health issues or caring responsibilites, and those transitioning to further and higher education.

Home educated children should have access to free local public examinations should they opt to take them. LEAs should ensure that a proportion of schools offer space to external candidates and these need to be paid for by the LEA. This would support equal acess to further education.

Children whos parents are concerned about their development or mental health should have a clear pathway to seek professionsl support, including diagnosis. A school report should not be requested or needed.


Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievment of home educated children is safegaurded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school or have been subject to offrollling.

It seem fundemental to ensure the regulatory framework understand and clearly differentiates between elective home education, and the other catagories listed above.

Children attending unregisted schools are not being home educated. Unregistered schools should be investigated under separate powers.

Children formally excluded or off rolled did not choose to home educate and therefore responsibility should lie with the schools and LEA to provide alternative provision. Again this needs to be separate from elective home education, parents should have the option to self define which category they fall into.


The role that inspection should play in the future of home education:

Social services have adequate powers to safegaurd children from harm. Where concerns are raised by members of the public or by health officials etc, social services can investigate.  A better understanding of peadagogical approaches should be undertaken by the LEA and they would then be able to recognise the different type of education children were receiving.

The role of the LEA should be to offer signposting if required by the parent (that might include a list of FB groups or local community support as well as profession support if requested).


What improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 education committee published their report on ‘support for home education in 2012

None. There was call for equal local access to examinations, consistancy across LEAs in their approach to HE and further investigations into off rolling by schools, none of which I am aware of happening.


The impact COVID19 has had on home educated children and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts:

COVID 19 has brought many challenges for all children, including those who are home educated (potenial for anxiety, isolation and reduced oportunities as well as parental stresses including finanicial and emotional).

Home educated children need to have equal access to group learning activities, and this has been more difficult to achieve as the government guidance hasn’t been very clear. In particulr many home educators take a peadagogical approach that places strong emphaisis on child led learning thorugh social play (there is plenty of evidenc eto support that this can be a very powerful method of learning). The rule that people cannnot meet for social reasons in groups of more than 6 makes it more challenging for home educated children to continue with their learning through play activities. This is compounded by a  lack of understanding about what some forms of home educated learning might look like. It would be helpful if the government made specific exeption clauses for home educated childrens play based learning opportunities.

This would also apply to general socialization fo home educated children. Where schooled children have lunch breaks to play together within the school grounds, home educated children are used to haing multiple opportunities to play together, often in groups larger than 6, owing to the fact that they would be in family groups. This has been much harded to facilitate within              the rule of 6 law.

Finally the public impression of home education has be misrepresented due to covid 19 measures. Elective home education has been confused with online schooling and the pulic opinion that home educated children don’t socialise and follow a ‘school at home approach’ has been strengthened which is vastly different form whatelective home education actually looks like.

October 2020