Written evidence submitted by Mrs Farmer



Mrs Ann Farmer


I am very concerned that pressure will be put on parents who decide to home-school their children, an increasingly popular option, and their right to do so, as enshrined in Article 2, Protocol 1 of the ECHR, incorporated into UK law in the 1998 Human Rights Act, which states that no person shall be denied the right to education, and that the State must respect the right of parents to ensure their children receive education and teaching in line with their own religious and philosophical convictions. The primary responsibility for the child’s education belongs to the parents and must not be usurped or suffer interference by the State, to which parents delegate the responsibility to educate the child as they think fit and in line with their own beliefs, and in what they see is the best interests of the child.


Furthermore, according to Section 7 of the 1996Education Act 1996: ‘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.’  The law enshrines the right of parents to home school their children, and there is no obligation to inform local authorities of the decision to home school.   

Concerns have been expressed about the standards of education offered in home schooling, but it would seem that some children thrive and learn much better in the home setting than in the school setting. Children may also have health problems or special needs, making home schooling preferable.


Statutory authorities already possess adequate powers of child protection, and in cases of abuse and mistreatment, or where the education is deficient, the State is already empowered to intervene.


Furthermore, imposing Ofsted inspections in the home is redolent of totalitarian societies in which the government imposes its values and philosophies in the privacy of the home. Such inspections would be threatening and burdensome, as well as expensive to local authorities.


In conclusion, no evidence has been produced to show that home schooled children are at risk, and if any children are at risk, laws and powers already exist to address the problem.


OVERVIEW It would be a retrograde and worrying step to introduce local authority intrusion into the home where there is no evidence that it is needed, and a basic affront to the human rights of parents, which would be detrimental to the health, welfare and education of children.  

[Oct 30 2020]


October 2020