Written evidence submitted by Mrs Wallwork


1. The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education;

The way this is regulated now, is sufficient. If local authorities have evidence that there is an issue concerning child protection, they already have enough powers to become involved.
If the duties of local authorities would be extended, it would cause an imbalance where family privacy versus child protection is concerned. Embedded in the law is that the ultimate responsibility to educate children lies with the parents in the first place -not the state- so local or other authorities only have to become involved when there are real concerns.

2. Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required

No, I believe that a statutory register of home-educated children is not required. Again, parents are ultimately responsible for their children's education, regardless of the fact that presently most parents delegate this responsibility to teachers in schools. It still doesn't make the state the main responsible. So why should parents need to register with the state to teach their own children, and increase interference in family life? That doesn't make sense to me. I don't see the purpose of it, neither any proof that is useful or needed, but just a waste of valuable resources.

3. The benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face

I will speak from personal experience. I am a parent with 6 years experience working in an Independent School, teaching 5-7 year old children. The curriculum we work with has also been used by Home Educators for the last 50 years and is extremely suitable for HE purposes, as it is self-instructional, mastery-based and pupils work through the material at their own pace. There is also an organisation connected to it that offers help to Home Educators and that does moderation of tests when pupils are at GCSE level.
During lockdown, even completely inexperienced parents were able to keep their children on track using this curriculum. Most children were able to progress even more than they did at school, due to the fact they had one-to-one assistance, and even if parents had to work from home whilst Home Educating!
I will start home educating my daughter from January 2020. I home educated her during lockdown as well, and we both enjoyed the experience very much. She made excellent progress in all academic subjects. I was able to tailor parts of her education to match her specific gifts and interests, and to look for more in depth information on certain topics.

As for potential disadvantages, the only one I can see, socialisation, is one that is easily tackled. We are connected to a great network of other (home educating) parents and together we are organising educational as well as social group activities, tailor made to our children's needs and interests.
Outside of that we meet families that have their children in schools as well.
Some of the parents involved were home educated themselves and they are very socially capable, responsible and productive members of society. They have completed University studies after being home educated. I personally know many people like that, which caused me to have a very positive opinion about home education.

4. The quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education

I don't have any experience in this area, but I believe the initiative should be with the parents. They can apply for support if they need it.

5. Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’

Cases where children have been excluded from school, been subject to 'off-rolling', attend unregistered schools should not be classified together with Home Education that is done because the parents consciously choose to Home Educate, for various reasons that are beneficial to the child.
The above issues should be dealt with for what they are, not linked with elective home educating.

6. The role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education

The ultimate responsibility for children's education lies with parents. Many parents decide to delegate this responsibility to schools and teachers. Inspections take place for the parent's sake, so they are informed about whether what they delegated to teachers, is done well.
If I as the parent decide to home educate, and I am responsible for my child's education, there is no need for an inspection by the state, as I (as the ultimate person responsible) already take full responsibility. We can't turn that around.
Besides this, inspections in themselves, or rather, the preparation it takes, can be a source of stress and take up time, energy and effort that should go into educating itself. Let me explain.
Having taught at a school as well as home educating, I am able to compare both.

As teachers, we should be able to fully focus on teaching the children.  Instead, the bureaucratic demands (bureaucracy according to the dictionary: Excessively complicated administrative procedure) to fulfil inspection requirements force teachers to spend so much time, effort and energy to prove that we are teaching children appropriately, that we don't have enough time and energy left to actually do just that. Tragically, the world turned upside down.

At all cost, this should be prevented from happening in the home educating environment. Education takes place as we live life itself, it should never be burdened with excessively complicated administrative procedures. As a home educator, I do have means of assessment and monitoring of progress, which are built into the curriculum I use for home educating. Another reason I believe I do not need to be burdened with inspections.


October 2020