Written evidence submitted by a member of the public


[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]


Response to home education committee

The first point that needs to be made is bunching everyone under one umbrella of home educated is neither helpful or useful and counter-intuitive.

The second point is surely it would have made more sense for the committee to call for evidence post the results of the consultation from earlier this year which I believe are due to be released in December 2020. 

The third point is why is there a wide disparity between how Las behave towards home educators and how they misuse, misinform, act ultra vires or when it is appropriate do not use the powers they already have at their disposal.

The fourth point is why because of a family’s lawful decision in relation to their child/ren education does the state want to treat these families acting in their family’s best interests as having less rights than many categories of criminals.

The fifth point home education has numerous positives, it does not prevent children reaching their full potential or moving on to higher education or careers of their choice. It does however allow for a stronger focus on overall wellbeing and a child’s individual strengths rather than a child self-esteem being affected if their skillset does not fit with the local schools model.

Point 1

If the overall education system was looked at and the LA’s used their established powers better to work in partnership with individuals, families, school and alternative education providers. Together with the relevant LA staff being properly trained and therefore actually understanding the difference between the following groups of children. Together with LA staff understanding their current legal role regarding securing education provision and additional s17 (child in need) provision for these groups of children and their families then you would be left with the actual electively home educated children.

There are several parents across the country where LA’s are reluctant to or have refused to assess for EHCP and the school the child was on roll at cannot meet the child’s needs but the LA’s are telling the parents “ We do not offer EOTAS, so you are electively home educating” even when the parents then ask for an EHCP to be put in place and for assistance for their child to get back to school the parent is told x school can’t manage your child’s needs and we do not provide support for home education.

EOTAS is an appropriate form of education in several circumstances and LA’s should explore all options available to them to provide the appropriate education for a child where the parent is not making a clear unpressured decision to electively home educate their child. If a parent is telling the LA that a child is not electively home educated the LA should listen and explore this not tell the parent what their relationship is with LA and education department.

Children who have been off rolled. La’s, schools and Ofsted all seem to turn a blind eye to children being off-rolled. Parents are led to believe they are being assisted with “if you write that you are electively home educating then your son / daughter will not have a school exclusion on their record.” These are verbal conversations that happen and by the time the parent realises this is bad practice they are challenged to prove it A difficult thing to do with a verbal conversation.

Children who have been excluded and the LA has failed to provide full time education. Home educators are often subjected to ridiculous demands in relation to LA’s expected provision for home educated children. However, children under equivalent responsibility of LA often are lucky if they are provided 5 hours of education provision a week and frequently the topic provision is restricted and therefore is not necessarily the appropriate provision for those children.

Children who cannot attend school due to health, illness and the La and health services have failed to work in partnership to optimise the child’s health alongside ensuring they receive a suitable and efficient education. Parents are by some LA’s through EWO advised children must attend fulltime or more than their child’s health can cope with they are told medical notes will not be accepted, and therefore feel in order to act in their child’s best interests they have no choice but to deregister.

Flexi- schooled children, these children are not electively home educated they are flexi schooled. They have managed to convince a headteacher to agree to flexischooling. In some cases where this would be the best option for the child when headteachers have queried with LA about allowing a parent to flexischool they have been told it is unlawful and on that grounds the headteacher turns down flexi school request. These requests being turned down also leads to an unnecessary inflation of EHE numbers.

Children with additional needs under SEND criteria where the LA has made the process to even get an agreement to assess, let alone actually receive a suitable EHCP to enable the extra essential provision for their child to thrive in school so onerous, where the emphasis appears to be on funding gatekeeping rather than the best interest and welfare of those particular children within that LA. This leaves parents with no choice but to home educate. Not because that is their true choice but because the school cannot meet needs without EHCP provision. The LA are gatekeeping and preventing appropriate provision availability.


Point 2

There was a large consultation in relation to elective home education and registration earlier this year. Together with the other consultations in the same area around home education over the last few years are the results of these even going to be considered. Where they a consultation, or a consultation in name only?


Point 3

If you simply collated the job descriptions over the last year from LA’s recruiting for their EHE posts it would be clear how far outside their current lawful remit they are already behaving and intending to behave.

The next point is that schools, and La use a lot of misinformation particularly by phone as these conversations are later denied or represented differently at a later stage.

A quick scour of LA’s websites and EHE shows very few are even outwardly displaying a completely lawful position in relation to EHE. Some state 14 day or 10 day cooling off periods which is directly against legislative position, but also could be misused by parents wanting a term time holiday rather than actually choosing to Electively home educate. Some require a formal timetable. A large amount insist that meetings must occur. Several state you “request” to home educate and LA must approve it. A law court accepts a written statement, but several Las insist on independent evidence to corroborate the report in effect calling the parent a liar.

I am yet to meet an electively home educating parent who has genuinely had help or support from an LA in relation to EHE.

My story in brief I am fully aware of my legal rights in relation to Electively home educating my child. I had decided to home educate from the start my child at 4 wanted to go to school and expressed a preference for a school ( we are in a rich area for choice of primary schools) therefore I applied for a place only for the school of my child’s choice, and then enrolled my child in the school of their choice.

Reception went brilliantly but after reception it just started to deteriorate, a traditional school environment was not suited to my child’s personality and learning and welfare needs. He developed [personal information] about school, and was actively fighting having to attend school, and was losing his spark. My child asked if they could learn at home. We enabled a further half term of attendance at school whilst we discussed what Home educating would look like for my child, and prepared my child’s close friends parents that my child would not be returning to school, and that they were going to be home educated. We had in this half-term made contact with lots of other localish electively home educating families some where children had never attended school and a disproportionate amount of families with male children who were withdrawn to be electively home educated in year 2.

My partner was against elective home education so a deal was struck with our child that providing his Maths and English skills were in line with or above his peers and they maintained this then my partner would support and facilitate our child being electively home educated.

Most of the concerns bandied about, about elective home education are unsubstantiated myths. The biggest myth of all being socialisation, there are so many opportunities with other EHE children but also with all the other weekend and afterschool clubs which they can also attend.

Local authorities and the wider society would be more likely to understand this if they did not start from a position of judgement.

My child is truly happy being electively home educated; however, it is other adults I have issues with. Some examples participating in the library summer reading programme which every child can do irrelevant of in or out of school. The librarian / library assistant discussing his book review with seeing elective home educated on the log asked him “ are you not lonely without friends, wouldn’t you rather be in school where you could have lots of friends?” luckily because my child has experience of both and has a wide network of friends he was able to put the person back in to their correct role of awarding the stickers for the summer reading scheme, and now that same person “having been educated by a child that their preconceptions are incorrect” asks questions that are curiosity based rather than judgement based. Again the dentist whom knows my child well as whilst at school my child was accident prone and therefore a regular customer, on my child’s routine check-up after no longer being at school asked my child about school, and how they were pleased that no more teeth had come out unnaturally. My child then explained does not go to school anymore. The dentist said “ It’s always best to go to school, so that you can learn and have lots of friends” I actually felt sorry for the dentist whom then got a detailed child style explanation as to why school did not work for my child (including not being allowed to go to the toilet, being told by teacher not to tell their mum x or y, being split up tables from friends, being told off for pulling faces when he was just thinking, not getting enough time outside, that they couldn’t do running games in their playtime)  and then everything he now did in relation to education and learning.

The LA EHE individual after withdrawal from school telephoned me- no preamble contact, the initial 3 sentences said to me where unlawful tosh about what must happen now. I then laughed and stopped them and then explained I am fully aware of my legal rights as I had intended to Electively home educate but my child had wanted to go to school. The LA person then changed their tune completely and simply asked is it ok if I send you out our forms and introduction information by email. Is…. The correct email for you, I said they can send to that email as I barely use it and it is not an email I would normally give out. I confirmed dependent on information in form I may or may not fill out or I may just acknowledge receipt of the email, and that I would prefer future communication in writing.

Now if I had not already known my legal rights I would have been unwittingly tricked into doing things that may not be best for my child such as recreate school at home which is an education style that does not suit my active, outdoor loving, experiential learning child’s style. Then my child rather than thrive in Elective home education if my child had school recreated at home then the education would not be suitable or efficient to my child’s needs.

Since then the LA have been fine, they did try an overstretch at the beginning of covid lockdown. Requesting evidence, I responded I had x date diarised for sending them an annual update as they received the last report x date and therefore they will receive a report in relation to my child within a year of that date.

Apart from this they have been fine; but you cannot build back the trust of that first encounter especially if the first encounter is not incompetence but intentionally to mislead, and I am aware of numerous Elective home educators up and down the country whom also the first letter, phone call, email, form from the LA misrepresents the legal position and what they can, will or won’t assist with. Then when you make it clear you know your rights; they completely change tone and expectations. Let us be realistic- Would a reasonable person let a stranger who has already proven themselves untrustworthy access to your private space (home) and access to your most important people (children?)  of course, they would not!!!!!

As LA’s already misuse their powers they should first act lawfully not be given further unnecessary oversight. If a register or monitoring is implemented which there is not a proportionate reasoning for these things to be put in place, but if it is then their needs to be an independent EHE specialist complaints option to adjudicate when LA’s are acting unreasonably.


What is the purpose of a register? It wont stop abuse, look at barred list in relation to DBS they end up on list after something untoward occurs not before or just in case. Again, sex offenders register this is post doing something wrong.

What proportionate reasoning can be given for putting families acting lawfully towards there children by electively home educating them warrants the intrusion of being put on a register like a criminal.

The individuals intent on doing harm will do harm irrespective of whether a register exists or not, a name on a list does not keep someone safe, and those intent on doing harm would not register their child in the first place. In the same way an abusive parent might beat a child but ensure the marks are on the main body so that teachers in school would not see them. Other than posturing what is the actual purpose of a register.

Together with data protection who would oversee managing the data as LA have regularly shown they are not GPDR compliant.


Home education enables a 1 to 1 focus on those areas that a child might be struggling with. It allows the natural correlation between education and the wider world. It enables a child to find and excel in their natural strength whether that is English, agriculture, whittling, aerial stunts, guitar or science. It removes some of the barriers to learning such as busy classrooms, artificial lights, attending to bodily needs when required rather than on someone else’s timetable.  A wide variety of resources used in school are also available to home educated parents i.e... Twinkl, school run, purple mash, Seneca, white rose maths. As a home educator the curriculum that suits your child best can be selected this may be a specific curriculum or parts from around the world so you might use beast academy (American), and tutorwiz from Australia there are world schooling networks enabling international pen pals and friendships to develop. The educational workshops at museums, ecology centres etc that are available to schools are all available to Electively home educated children.

The bigger scandal is the EHE children who had been booked in for gcses and got no grade because they where not even an afterthought when the exams where cancelled this year. Many EHE children go onto university, or jobs or set up their own businesses. A big barrier still remains in getting access to exam centres, and the cost of the nationally accepted exams when sat as private candidates, help in this area would be welcome.



1)      All Local authorities to have a clear Lawful Elective home education policy accessible online.

2)      LA EHE staff to understand their lawful position, to be trained in a wide variety of educational options and to work in partnership with local elective home educators not bully and use power plays.

3)      If the LA genuinely offers advice and support this again should be available publicly.

4)      LA staff to recognise the breadth of the term education and not judge provision on a school model.

5)      I am fundamentally against a register but lots of Las already seem to be using them, and not giving parents an option to be removed from them. If registration becomes a requirement then this should be attached to a student discount card like NUS one that enables discounts at a variety of appropriate stores (such as stationers, art and crafts etc). Together with funding for 5 GCSE exams (or equivalents). There must also be an independent complaints body that specialises in EHE.

6)      EHCP assessment process to be easier to achieve.

7)      Actually, implement some of the recommendations from previous review.

October 2020