Written evidence submitted by Mrs Ailve Butler


Responding to the Education Committee call for evidence

I would like to contribute to the ongoing discussions on Home Education.

We home educate our four children and have done so for 5 years.  We made the decision to educate them at home as we wanted them to be able to develop at their own pace.

It has been a wonderful experience for us and for the children, and has opened many new horizons as regards education.

We do follow a curriculum which we found and like very much. Because we are in control, and know each of our children, we are able to adapt the curriculum to the ability of each child and the pace in which they learn.

We as parents of our children believe that it is our right, and responsibility to ensure our children, receive a good education. It is also our right to decide how they are educated: Either at school or at home.  If at school, then teachers are in fact educating our children on our behalf. 

Regarding mandatory registration of home educating families, we feel that authorities already have substantial powers when they think there is a problem and need to intervene. The current laws also respect family privacy which is important. Would the local authorities have the resources to manage more responsibilities with safeguarding?

  My concern is as they are already overstretched they would interfere more with good law-abiding families for fear of anything happening in which they may receive criticism. Also each family is unique. How would that be managed? Could local authorities manage the diversity of each family well and without trying to make everybody do everything the same as in school?

In theory I am not against registration as we are registered, but do really worry that we will be examined and told how to educate our children. Or told to follow the national curriculum.

It is vitally important that the rights of parents are upheld and that the way in which we educate our children is not dictated to us by the authorities.

I know so many families doing an amazing job educating their children. Not only academically, but in life skills too.

Home educated children often do a lot more outside then children at school, and also learn good practical skills such as gardening, cooking, woodwork, crafts, sports etc.

What would be very helpful for home educating families is financial help for exams etc.  We pay our taxes, and get no financial help at all to home educate.

Families are the building blocks of a good society and community. It is so important that families be supported to grow and flourish and that parents are allowed the rights due to them as the first educators of their children. And very importantly that the majority of parents want the best for their children!


October 2020