Written evidence submitted by [member of the public]

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

As a parent and foster carer, I am choosing to home educate now because I feel the education system is failing to keep pace with advancements in the wider world. The reliance on pen and paper and old fashioned systems as well as subjects of learning makes the school system feel irrelevant in the current times.

In addition I am deeply concerned about the resources on offer through my child’s school. In hindsight, I sincerely wish I had not sent her [age] into an environment where [personal information].

[personal information]. I feel this situation, already bad, has become almost abusive since Covid and the additional measures to protect our children. [personal information] nobody gets any one to one time with a teacher.

With 30 children to a class, [personal information]. This situation repeated, will only lead to apathy towards learning, which is what happened in our daughter’s case.

There is no focus on art or music and this has always been limited, but now in the post-covid world, the sharing of resources is no longer allowed, creating an even bigger vacuum in the curriculum where the Arts could be. Schools have not invested in additional materials to allow this activity to continue, simply stopped it.

Focus on attendance is also a key issue – where our daughter previously was unwell, we would keep her home to ensure she was not infecting any other children and to allow time to recover, but the draconian approach to not authorising non attendance where medical evidence is not provided, suggests there is no longer any respect for the word of parents and schools are stepping into the parenting role. In my child’s school there is no relationship with teachers, again made worse by Covid and we are now unable to even enter the school gates, let alone have a quick word about what is bothering our child this week. The relationship between parents and the school in my opinion has become one of parents vs authority and the school will exercise their power over parents if allowed. This is evident with the attention given to uniform regulations, which are enforced with regular inspections and detentions for any non compliance.

PE or physical activity has slipped to one hour once a week and if you are lucky, the children will be allowed out to play, but not if raining – in my view health and safety restrictions like this, applied due to the numbers of children, are restricting valuable physical activity and if homeschooling, my child would have an hour of activity each day.


The rigidity of the school environment does not allow for any independent learning, any curiosity a child may have in a subject is abruptly cut off in favour of the next lesson and thus, children lose interest in curiosity as there is no space for it.


I also do not believe that the relationships between peers and between children and teachers in school are at all representative of those seen in the world of work, with children being taught the role of authority, but not personal responsibility. In other areas of the world children may start school later or be taught life skills and how to interact with others in their early years. I do not feel that school is preparing our children adequately for later life and careers advice is lacking, perhaps that is because it is difficult to link what we teach our children to the real world of work? 


In terms of curricuclum, I believe this to be outdated in terms of a lack of focus on IT and new technologies and new scientific areas of learning. It offers nothing in the way of critical thinking – children rarely have the opportunity to discuss a theory or question the facts presented to them, this again reflects the authoritarian relationship schools create for our young people.


Those who will decide in later life to specialise in an area of employment that requires indepth knowledge of trigonometry or statistics, will learn this through further education and vocational training. Insisting on a broad knowledge of mathematics in all areas (as one example) creates a jack of all trades and a master of none, in my opinion. This is highlighted by the fact that most adults have forgotten much of their school learning by the time they are adults. Much of the traditional curriculum does not serve a purpose for the majority of people in the long term.


The current curriculum also does not prepare children for employment, nor does it serve to ignite any interest in the subjects being taught, being both too varied and too light touch. It does not inspire our young people to be learners for life. The saying education is wasted on the young is often used – as adults, people may feel their time in school was wasted, that is primarily because they did not engage with the learning experience, nor find their personal interests (and their strengths) until they were able to control what and how they learn, when they finally escape the school based education system.


December 2020