Written evidence submitted by Mr Stephen Goddard


Protocol 1, Article 2: Right to education

In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.     21 December 2018



According to Art 2, Protocol 1 of the ECHR, as incorporated into UK law in the Human Rights Act 1998 primary responsibility for a child’s education lies with the parents and must not be interfered with by the State, this being in the best interests of the child.


Attempting to impose the requirement that parents must register home-educated children gives the State a previously unprecedented level of oversight and control.  

Provided that there is ‘efficient, full-time education’, under law attendance at a school or otherwise registered educational establishment is not required, nor is there any obligation to inform local authorities of the decision to home school.  The right of parents to decide what they wish their child to be taught and how, without State interference, is therefore acknowledged under law. 
If the ultimate responsibility for children was transferred from parents to the State, in time it is likely that power would be used to dictate what children may and may not be taught, and when.
At the moment, provided they provide efficient, full-time education, parents have an absolute right to do this, free of invasive State intrusion or control.   Making home education subject to registration and inspection, however, with the implication that teaching must follow a prescribed curriculum ‘in order to maintain standards’, would defeat that, forcing families to conform to a State-decided programme.

Making what home-educated families choose to teach subject to inspection by Ofsted, as has been proposed, suggests not so much concern for child welfare, as the extension and enforcement of an ideologically driven agenda aimed at ensuring compliance with ideas and values that many find unacceptable.

At present, home education can be personalised to meet a child’s best interests and needs, supported by the many excellent programmes and teaching aids specifically designed for this purpose.  It allows flexibility to keep pace with the child’s development, allowing extra time in areas where a child perhaps struggles, or to provide more advanced teaching where they excel.  It encourages independence, self-discipline, self-study and research.  A programme of inspection requiring compliance with State imposed targets would interfere with this process.


My daughter is a qualified teacher, having taught in a senior school and a special needs school. Currently she is a full-time mother at home with three children (two of school age) and has been home-schooling them. This has worked very well with enthusiastic learning in there own environment.


There has been plenty of opportunity to have contact with peers (subject, of course, to the COVID-19 requirements) so they have not lost out in any way.

It would be more advantageous for local authorities to commit to providing more practical and financial help , e.g. funding the purchase of chosen resources and, if required, paying examination fees than requiring registration.

At this time, I understand that there is no evidence that the current lack of inspection has put children at risk.  

If there were to be any changes they should only be formed in agreement with associations representing home-schooled parents.


November 2020