HED0111

Written evidence submitted by Mr Julian Hurst

Home Education Consultation

 

I am a Father of three boys. Two have Asperger’s’ syndrome. The eldest is at Oxford University studying Engineering Science. The middle son is studying A levels and the youngest is at secondary school. They have all been educated in the state education system. We have lived for a while in Africa and have friends who have their children in state education, private schools and are home schooled. My wife and I are both chartered Civil Engineers and I now work as a Pastor visiting and speaking at local schools. My wife is chair of governors of a local primary school.

We believe that Parents are responsible for the education of their children. They know their children best and have the primary responsibility to keep them safe, and provide for their needs, including a good education. At different points in our lives we have considered various educational options for our children. We believe that what is best for the child, and the family as a whole, should guide such decisions. This depends on the ability of the child and parents and how good or otherwise the other options available are.

We have considered home schooling our children in the past where local authority schools have been performing badly. We believe that all parents should have the right to consider all options and be able to choose what is best for their child. Over recent years we have noticed a move away from parental responsibility towards blaming the state for everything. This then leads to demands from the state / pressure groups to have more powers to control everything. The proposal to register all families who home educate, or private schools, is yet another example of the shift from parental responsibility to state responsibility for the welfare of children. Sadly, the state has a very poor track record of caring for children removed from their families, as recent care home scandals have revealed. Families should be supported by the state to care for their children and the rights of parents should only be overridden when necessary to protect a child from abuse. The law as is stands allows for this.

Many of those who push for greater state control of children’s education wrongly associate home schooling with child abuse. In fact, in my experience children in the state sector are much more likely to suffer abuse than those who are educated by their parents. In our experience, home educated children are safer, happier and tend to be higher achievers than those in the state system due to the higher teacher / pupil ratio.

Please respect the rights of parents to decide how best to educate their children, and resist pressure for greater state interference. In totalitarian states like China we see massive interference by the state in the lives of its citizens. This is due to a desire to indoctrinate people and control people’s thinking. I fear that pressure groups behind these proposals for greater state interference in family life also want to push their agendas and ideologies. Please let parents be parents and protect their children from such pressure groups and potentially very harmful ideologies by choosing how their children are educated, without the threat of state intervention.

Julian Hurst

October 2020