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.]


I have been home educating our [number of] children (aged between [age] and [age]) from the beginning. They did attend a local pre-school prior to this. I homeschool because, despite a good experience of school myself and obtaining good grades, I felt that I did not receive much of an education.  I was also home educated for one year while our family lived abroad, due to necessity.  It turned out to be a real highlight!  After university I worked in a sixth form college for a couple of years and was disappointed to see decisions being made based purely on meeting targets, which ironically didn’t work out in the best interests of particular students.  That was when I seriously considered homeschooling as a potential endeavour.  I also love learning and wanted to be more involved in my children’s education than I could if we sent them to school.


I think that for us, the main benefits have been:


The freedom to learn at their own pace -if one is struggling with a particular concept in maths she doesn’t need to move on until she gets it.  She’s not at risk of being left behind or becoming totally lost.  Likewise, when comprehension comes easy for another particular topic, they can move on quickly.


More free time to follow their interests (art, violin, coding, rugby, netball, video editing, reading…).  Also, the flexibility to visit places of interest to them at short notice - for example, tomorrow I am taking my younger two children to a nearby wetlands centre.  They have been learning about birds for science for a number of weeks and have been really enjoying it, so I booked this just two days ago while their interest is piqued.  Employees at places we visit have always been positive about having home educated children visiting and really helpful to speak with.  It’s lovely being able to explore and observe in an unrushed way!


Becoming independent learners. 


More time available to learn about world history which has helped them understand today’s issues and put things into perspective.  I think they see things more holistically because we haven’t always separated learning into different ‘subjects’.  It’s been more organic.


Added benefits have been developing long term friendships with other home educated children and their families.  Seeing the older and younger children interacting with and looking out for each other is wonderful.  We’re also involved in a homeed [group] which has enabled each of my children to take part in sessions run by different mums/dads/people from the community who love what they’re talking about.  They also have friends in the neighbourhood, at church, in local sports teams and other family friends, but, after planning to send them to school at year 9 to do GCSE’s, they really didn’t want to stop home educating, primarily because of all the relationships they’d built up over the years.


Having more time to develop life skills. 


Increased closeness within our family.


No teaching to the test during SAT years - we’ve been able to get on and enjoy learning while school friends have sadly been stressed.


Potential disadvantages:


Our eldest is sitting her first International GCSE exams over the next fortnight.  Sitting exams as a private candidate is very expensive.  Financial support for exams would be wonderful.


Certain things are harder to learn from home - woodwork, pottery, textiles, some science experiments, team sports.  There are classes available for these, but with multiple children, it gets pretty pricey.


Immunisations -  you have to be quite proactive with finding out what is available, when, and how to access it.


The role of inspection:


A  lady from our LEA knocked on our door a couple of times to follow up our kids when they lost track of them after preschool.  She was very friendly, had no concerns and has sent us helpful information once or twice (eg local college courses, Duke of Edinburgh award info).


I have really appreciated not being inspected.  I feel that, as parents, it is our responsibility to ensure our children are being educated, though I am grateful for the offer of school places if we need them.  I have friends and relatives who have left the teaching profession due to increased bureaucracy and it would feel like a burden to have to produce regular reports and have visits.


In my opinion, the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded.   I see no need for a register.  All the parents I have met who are home educating are doing so in the best interests of their child - some having withdrawn their child from school due to bullying,  special needs or just the general environment there.  I would expect that any parents who could cause concern would be unlikely to register anyway.  It seems like the money and effort would be better spent elsewhere in education.



In conclusion, I am happy with the current situation with regard to the current regulatory framework.  My children are happy and learning.  When I speak to friends with children in school and hear about the homework workload, decline in school trips, science experiments, PE, bullying incidents, being ‘taught’ information but not actually learning it, having to wear face masks and not being able to get individual help in maths…...it makes me glad we are doing this.  Financial support in the form of free exams would be wonderful, but not at the expense of an erosion of freedom.


December 2020