Written evidence submitted by Sally Quintanilla

I am writing in response to the Education Committee’s call for evidence relating to the safeguarding of home-educated children and the introduction of an inspection regime for home education along with a possible mandatory register for those who choose to home educate.

This is an issue of principle for me. English law rightly states that parents are responsible for a child’s education with education being compulsory, whereas school is not.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 says: ‘The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education … either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.’

Home education falls under the definition ‘otherwise.’  Whilst many do not choose it, parents still have the right to make the choice to home educate for themselves.

I home-educated my children for several years and I have to say that if my children were young now, I would more than likely continue through to 16 years of age with home education. I believe that I, as a parent, am responsible for my children’s education, not the state.

Parents know their children best and home educating gives parents the opportunity to tailor to the individual child’s interest, their ability and their best mode of learning. It encourages the child to self-study and in my experience this has well equipped children to move onto higher education.

Inspection is inappropriate for home education as each home school can be different from another depending on the needs of the children. This diversity of approaches is a definite strength of home education but would make inspection impractical. This would be an intrusion into the home and a sign of increased state interference in family life.

Our children followed an excellent home school curriculum which put them well ahead of similar aged schooled children. Three of our four children went through university, one is now a lawyer, another a social worker, another an accountant and the fourth has his own business. So no-one missed out on anything by being home-educated. On the contrary, it played a large part in four young adults now contributing to society.

I question the right of the state to intervene with a register or even with inspection as there is no mandate for it. Local councils already have sufficient powers to address inadequate home education and the power to intervene when they have good reason to believe there could be a problem with a child. Any parent who did not have their child’s best interest at heart would doubtfully sign any potential register. In fact research in 2015 found that home-educated children in England were two to three times less likely to be subject to a Child Protection Plan than children in school, despite being twice as likely to be referred to social services (Loc.cit)!!

As a home educator I felt that I was viewed with suspicion when it is my right to teach my own children and I know this is a sentiment shared by many other home educating parents. To infer that the state cares more for the welfare and education of my children than I do is absurd.  I wholly reject this consultation.


Sally Quintanilla

October 2020