HED0304

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.]

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

We are writing concerning the consultation you intend to hold on home education; with the intention of introducing a compulsory register of home-educated children and termly inspections.

We have been home-educating for [a number of] years. We now home-educate [a number of] children aged [age] years.

We have known a positive relationship with our local authority regarding home-education, till now. We willingly informed our local council of our decision to home-educate. Aware of the powers and duties of our local authority, we have welcomed them into our home on a number of occasions where our children have been delighted to show them their work and progress in home-education. We have known their appropriate balance between family privacy and child protection. They have given us a lot of help and support. However, these visits have taken time out of our schooling schedule and it has been a help to know that we can politely refuse these visits if they become an unhelpful distraction to our family life. Providing our local authority with more responsibility in safeguarding through a compulsory register, or otherwise, could create unnecessary tension between parents and their local authorities. It is clear that our staff in this sector are over-stretched in their workload and added pressure would be no good for them nor for us. It would be a waste of local authorities’ already limited resources. It could cause them to overly interfere in the lives of law-abiding families, distracting them from children most at risk.

Parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children. We have chosen to educate our children at home because we believe this is what is best for them. It provides an atmosphere where upon we can enjoy learning together as a family. Our children can learn at their own pace ad education can be tailored to their personal needs and interests. As Christians, we are able to ‘train up a child in the way they should go’, as God directs us to do. Parents mustn’t lose this privilege of deciding on their children’s education and being thoroughly involved in it. The state has never had this responsibility.

Currently, there is no evidence that a mandatory register or inspection is necessary or would be effective. Why should parents need to register with the state to teach their own children? It is likely that parents of concern to local authorities would choose not to register. Mandatory inspections could be an intrusion to the home and parents should not be expected to invite authorities into their home but rather should have the option of welcoming them in for help and support; without any obligation to. Councils already have sufficient powers to address inadequate home education.

There is no evidence of a problem with the current regulatory framework and we firmly believe it should stay as it is with parents continuing to hold responsibility for their children’s education and not having to ask the state’s permission to home-educate, if they choose to.

Thank you for your time,

[members of the public]

 

December 2020