Written evidence submitted by Mrs K Monteiro


I home educate my children because I believe that it is in their best interests that I do so. I am a Cambridge University graduate in Natural Sciences, and a qualified teacher with six years of teaching experience. I also happen to fundamentally disagree with aspects of the educational philosophy of the current educational establishment. I make it my aim, not only to teach core skills (we use the National Curriculum for English and Maths), but also to educate my children to be functional human beings: kind, considerate, well informed and well spoken with life skills beyond that which they would learn in school.

While I work hard to ensure that my children get the very best educational experience and hope that they will come out of their childhood with better life skills and breadth and depth of knowledge beyond that of their school-going counterparts, I recognise that there is a concern that some home educators may be trying to escape the system for wrong reasons. With that in mind, I propose that families who are known to social services, already with a named family worker or social worker, who then choose to home educate, should be followed up with a quality control visit; perhaps a yearly academic check to make sure that children fall into the broad spectrum of age-related expectations, as well as the regular social service visits to check on the well-being of the children which would already be in place due to the prior intervention of social services.

Beyond that caveat for vulnerable families who choose to home educate, I can see no reason why the government would need any other inspection for home educators (and any in-home inspections or surveillance of home educators would be a breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998). The fundamental family right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children (UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 Article 26 (3)) should not be compromised because of the tiny minority of people who abuse their rights.

The vast majority of people who decide to home educate do not do so lightly. Much soul searching, forward planning, thought and research go into making the decision; I am judging from my experience of the fifty or so home educating families with which I have come into contact in our area. As a result, finances are carefully planned and worked out; the government would not need to fund home educators. The only area in which I could see useful intervention would be for exams. Exams can be prohibitively expensive, especially A-levels and GCSEs, since private testing centres generally inflate prices astronomically. A cap on how much can be charged per exam by testing centres would probably be the single most popular decision any incumbent government could make for home educators.

In order to answer the question about whether or not children are being taught with enough academic rigour, there is a very simple solution: a straightforward test. At the end of Key Stage 2 there is already a set of tests which measure children’s performance on basic skills. It would not be difficult to make this test available to home educators. Schools have a huge variation of results in these tests, and it would therefore be expected that home educators would have the same spread, with the additional difference that many home educators are using alternative curricula (many of them American, as the United States have a vastly larger population of home educators with a correspondingly larger resource base). Being able to pass a basic reading, writing and maths test would show that home educators are meeting the minimum standards. It is important that minimum standards are all that is required – after all, it would be disingenuous to say that all children coming through the government systems can read, write and do basic computational work by the end of Year 6! In fact, in the United States, home educated children out-perform their school going counterparts by the time they take their SATS and ACTS (at the point of leaving school), so there is good reason to suppose that British home educated children will do the same. Home educating parents are more, not less, concerned with their children’s outcomes; the decision to home educate is, in the vast majority of cases, the result of this concern.


October 2020