Written evidence submitted by K Lakey

To whom it may concern:

I submit the following evidence:


I am a qualified teacher who graduated with a first-class honours BEd. I have over 10 years’ experience in the classroom, both as a teacher and a manager. I then have a further, additional 10 years’ experience as a private tutor, running my own successful tutoring company.  I am a school governor who sits on the standards committee. I am lead governor for the upcoming SIAMS inspection. I have two children whom I home educate full time.

We took the decision to home educate when my oldest child stopped making progress at school. At the end of year 1 she was less than a year behind. By the middle of year 2, when lockdown happened, she was 2 years behind.

My youngest child started school about 2 weeks after her 4th birthday. During lockdown I worked through the EYFS goals with her. In a number of areas, she went beyond expected in her attainment and I was able to cover work in the exceeding category. When I received her school report (for the academic year up to March) she was assessed as being emerging in all areas, and in some only entering emerging. I was shocked. I am an experienced teacher (although not in EY) but even so the progress she made at home, in a term and a half, was remarkable. Additionally, the school independently stated, after watching videos I’d made for Tapestry, that she had made excellent progress.

Previously, we intended to electively home educate our oldest child, but since our second child was also under achieving, we chose EHE for both.


Prevailing prejudice:

Whilst I agree that all children should be educated, I do not agree that all children should be educated in school. I think the assumption that something nefarious or inadequate is occurring simply because a parent, who is the person ultimately responsible for their child, has chosen to be the person responsible for delivering their education, is a symptom of lack of research and therefore prejudice rather than actual fact.

If we are to start ‘inspecting’ and ‘monitoring’ home education settings then we better have very good, evidence-based reasons for doing so. This must include excellent evidence for imposing the structure, format, philosophy and methods upon parents which would be necessary in order to carry out any inspection. I would expect that adequate longitudinal studies have been conducted and these studies have concluded, based upon evidence, that children were disadvantaged and have underperformed, when compared with children of similar abilities/needs, as a result of home education.

I would further expect that children who are deemed at risk, significantly, are home educated. That is not on a school roll, rather than registered to attend school and not turning up. If the children at risk are not significantly home-ed children, then where on earth has the presumption that home-ed should be an immediate red flag and indicate a safe-guarding concern arisen? This presumption is all too apparent, the wording for this job advert, closing date October 2020, for an EHE officer by Blackpool Council is a case in point (emphasis mine):

‘You must have the ability to assess the reasons for each referral and the potential safeguarding circumstances. The strategic aim will be to reduce the number of EHE referrals in your area.

Now, as the law stands it is the right of every parent to EHE and not the business of local government to be strategically reducing this. They should be strategically reducing other things like potholes in the road, or children actually missing in education.

Also, a referral is simply a parent de-registering their child from school. If a child has previously attended school and the school has not registered any safeguarding concerns, then why assume the need to assess potential safeguarding concerns? Surely any concerns should have been acted upon already. Simply choosing EHE cannot and should not, of itself, be reason to suspect. Worryingly this is not an isolated example.

If you are unable to clearly demonstrate from proper peer reviewed and published research that home educated children routinely underperform (like for like) and that home educated children are demonstrably more abused and harmed, then, quite frankly, you have no business placing the names of the children of citizens of this country on a register and ‘monitoring’ them. After all, where does it stop? Are we going to place the children of vegetarians on a register and monitor their eating to make sure they have enough iron? Will inspectors drop by people’s homes to make sure children aren’t having too much screen time?

A register of school educated children is necessary. Parents are handing their children over to schools and education staff are receiving taxpayer’s money. They must be held accountable.

A compulsory register of EHE children is not. Unless of course you buy into the notion that home ed children are somehow disadvantaged. But buying into a notion is not enough to warrant this intrusion, nor is feeling uncomfortable because you don’t understand someone else’s choice.

I have been involved in education long enough to know that school is not the best learning environment for everyone, and I say that as a successful teacher and tutor. Schools, like any other system are flawed and at time fail. They also have natural limitations set by the abilities of all involved and resources available. If that was not the case, then changes would not be introduced with such frequency into our school education system.


Please note that what happened during lockdown was not home education. It was parents, at relatively short notice and in a very stressful situation having to take over the education of their children with no time to plan, think, reflect or resource. Many parents were having to balance jobs, when delivering someone else’s planning, whilst trying to buy toilet rolls and bread. Some were also sick, some had relatives who were sick. People were scared. The experience of lockdown should not be used to criticise EHE.


I am not anti-school, but my children are thriving during home education in a way they simply weren’t at school. My oldest child is now able to do things which were repeatedly appearing on her pupil profile for over a year. I think the most significant thing is she now regards herself as a person who can and does learn. My youngest child continues to make progress.

I understand that the fact they aren’t physically present in front of a government employee for 6 hours a day may be frustrating for those who truly believe that unless they are physically present in front of a government employee they are disadvantaged. Nevertheless, the evidence I have collected, as I home educate my children is evidence that that presumption is wrong.

The fact that no one other professional, who has encountered my children, has seen the need to report them to social services as a safeguarding concern is evidence that that presumption is wrong (although there are home ed families who are reported simply for being home ed and social services find there is no case to answer).

The fact that I encountered many children over the last twenty years who weren’t adequately clothed, fed, had enough sleep, given attention, supported in their learning etc, whilst actually attending school, despite the school expressing concern, is evidence that that presumption is wrong.

The fact that many hard-working professional teachers in school settings, despite heroic efforts, still see children in their care who have dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, ADHD, Asperger’s, physical disabilities etc not making the expected progress is evidence that that presumption is wrong. In fact, there are children who do not have these additional challenges who do not make expected progress whilst at school.

I have witnessed tangible evidence, which would stand up to scrutiny, that both my children are achieving more academically whilst being home educated. They are not disadvantaged socially as we have regular opportunities for peer contact (as do the majority of home educated children- why is it so difficult to accept that school educated children can be socialised though contact with other school children and likewise home educated children can be socialised through contact with other home educated children).

Professionals who have power must be accountable. Any changes they propose, which effects the existing rights of parents must be rigorously examined and any evidence publicly scrutinised. Otherwise they are unjustified and that, in a democracy, is unacceptable.

October 2020








Lakey evidence 2020