I write as a retired teacher and concerned individual.

1. I believe that a mandatory register of home-educated children undermines the right of parents to choose how to bring up their children. Parents are the primary educators of their children and they have an unfettered right enshrined in UK and international law to do without state interference. Why should parents need the state’s permission to educate their own children? Compulsory registration would represent an unwarranted attempt to interfere in family life.

2. Furthermore, the introduction of registration combined with inspections would amount to invasive state intrusion and control. Regimes of inspection would open the door for enforced compliance with state-approved and ideologically-driven agendas to be foisted upon parents, agendas which they may find totally unacceptable and with which they may profoundly disagree. Parents have the right to bring up their children according to their own beliefs and values.

3. Many parents choose to home-educate their children rather than hand over this responsibility to the state. Home education can be tailored to the child’s best interests and needs. It allows flexibility. It provides adaptability to speed up processes for gifted children and for extra time to be given in an area where a child may be struggling. It encourages self-directed study. Home-educated children have in multiple studies consistently been found to perform better than children educated at state schools. Some children may have had adverse experiences in school so the parents made the decision to educate their children in a safer environment.

4. Education is compulsory not school. Local authorities already possess adequate safeguards to intervene, should they have reason to believe that suitable education is not happening. There is no evidence that children have been at risk in the current arrangements.

5. In summary, children belong to their parents and not to the state. Home education is the parents’ prerogative. They do not need to ask the state’s permission to home-educate. Parents may delegate certain areas of their children’s educational upbringing to schools and teachers, who then serve the parents. It is not the other way round. Those who home-educate do so because they believe, being those who love their children more than anyone else, that it is in their children’s best interests. Home-school registration and inspection would interfere with the rights of parents, giving the state undue oversight and control, and transfer to the state ultimate responsibility for the education of their children.