Written evidence submitted by Gillian Hall


Up to now, the local authorities’ duties with regard to electively home educated children have been broadly similar to those of schooled children in that they have to act if a concern is raised about safeguarding. In addition may act if  the suitability of the education being provided in in question. Some LAs have taken things beyond this this and demanded more than required from HE-ing families despite no particular concerns being raised either about safeguarding or suitability of education.


This is absolutely not necessary. We are not sex offenders and do not present any danger to the public and do not need to be registered.

There are too many benefits to list but here are a few.

Social benefits: I’d say my children benefitted from a wider than usual circle of friends (not limited by school class, postcode or age group) and from the more relaxed nature of their education. Peer pressure doesn’t really exist so they have grown up at ease with their bodies.

Physical Benefits: They were able to spend a lot of time outdoors and take part in more sports than would usually be possible if they were in school.

Academic benefits: There were no assessments (until GCSE for my older children) and no one to be behind or ahead of. They learned to love reading despite being later than average to reading. I suspect this would not have been the case if we’d had to force them to read aloud each evening after school. My older children have gone on to achieve excellent A levels (they went to 6th form at 16) and all their teachers commented on how at ease they were with speaking to teachers (not regarding them as the enemy).

Potential disadvantages:

The financial one is obvious. We have done it on a shoestring (luckily there is no social pressure to keep up with the Joneses but we have always had a lower than average household income!) but there is the consequence of one adult having to limit their working hours to be at home with the child(ren) and the eventual cost of exams is quite huge. This has really gone up since my eldest took her exams (she is now 20 and at university) and I paid roughly £50 a subject. I’m now paying for my 15 year old and the cost is £165 per subject for a basic written exam.

Access to exam centres is the other. We are lucky to have a place taking private candidates close by. However many others travel long distances and pay much more than we have. If each LA could make one exam centre available to externals at a reasonable cost this would make a massive difference to families. It could be a high school, FE college or PRU.

I have heard that some LAs provide some support for some families but this hasn’t been on offer to me locally (and we haven’t really needed it) so I can’t comment on this section. I believe that it can be harder for HE’d children to access services such as CAMHS but I have also heard terrible stories from schooling families where the child has had to reach suicide point before any referral was made.

I think you need to be very clear that there is a difference between electively home educated children and those who have been excluded or off-rolled from school where no conscious choice to home educate has been made by the parent(s). Lumping these very difference groups in together and applying measures to all is not helpful.

Electively home educated children go on to achieve well academically and socially without any state interference. There is no need to regulate us. Had my children been assessed for academic prowess at the age of 6 or 10 or 13 they would have been deemed “behind” and I would have been failing at their education. All we were doing was taking things slow and concentrating on social and physical skills before academic skills. My older two have now achieved excellent A levels and secured top university places. I expect my younger two to do the same but it may be that they choose a difference route. I have every confidence that they will do well and be good members of society in the future but it is hard to measure this on paper and to regulate for this.

None as far as I am aware.

Back in March it was fine. The whole family was home and we were not rushing from one activity to another and we had long, leisurely lunches and walks. Then exam season came and two of my children taking a GCSE were unable to get a grade for the GCSEs they had been studying for (despite having paid for the exam and submitted staggering amounts of evidence which was very stressful…all those zoom invigilated mocks) so they are resitting now (more expense). It is lonely without many activities taking place (although pre the new lockdown we were able to go back to things like drama, dance, scouts, etc) but now with the new lockdown it seems home educated children have been forgotten again and I haven’t seen any specific guidance for whether or not they are allowed to meet up beyond the one other person from another household for exercise. We’re lucky in that my children have siblings at home but I fear for only children or those with older siblings who are away at work or college or university. This made school look attractive just for the contact with other children but our local secondary school has had most years closed and in isolation for a good chunk or the term so far so possibly not.


November 2020