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.]


My daughter has been home educated since she was [age]. She was [personal information]. After I took her out of school and started home educating her, she became confident and sociable. She flourished under home education and did not want to return to school. She has undertaken 6 GCSEs and obtained [personal information]. She was supposed to take her remaining 2 GCSEs this Summer but unfortunately, she was unable to do so because of Covid 19. At the moment, she is sitting for the remaining 2 GCSEs.


Even though the exam was cancelled in May since she was home educated, she was able to start her A Level subjects without wasting her time when in fact a lot of school children did not have proper education during that period and are now playing catching up.


The problem we encountered which we would like to have assistance from the government:


  1. Home educated students found that they were not able to obtain a grade for exams during the Summer when the school children were able to. This is due to the fact that the schools were expected to rank external candidates with their own school children and were unable to do so. Some centres agreed to grade the external candidate with a mock exam but the charge was in the region of £500 per subject. As all the exam fees are paid by parents privately, the cost of home educated students taking exams are sometimes a deterrent for the student sitting the exams. As the government has saved money as a result of a student being home educated, the government should at least ensure that the home educated student will not have to pay for the exam privately as with any school educated student.


  1. Because of the chaos in the Summer exams, a lot of schools or exam centres have closed their door to external candidates. A lot of home educators are finding that out now. The government can help by making exam centres available to external candidates locally. Some home educated students have to travel very far and even need to stay overnight in order to sit for exams. They are really unfairly discriminated against.


  1. Some GCSE subjects which are available to school children are not available to home educators because the centres are not accommodating such exams. For example, Art, PE and Music. A lot of home educated children are very talented in these areas.


  1. Extracurricular activities eg. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is not accessible by the home educators although a number of home educated students would like to take part in that.


I do not believe the argument for safeguarding home educated children has any reasonable grounds. Children are brought up by parents and under their care, as the government will not go into every household to ensure that every child is taken care of and only in circumstances where there is suspicion of a risk to a child will the government have a right to interfere. It should be the same with home educators. It should not be a requirement that they need to be registered with the authorities. If any suspicion arises concerning the safety and well being of a child, the social services have the right to interfere anyway; there is no need for registration of home educators. Home educators should not be unfairly discriminated against for the fact that they are home educators. The onus of proof should remain on the person making the allegations of abuse and should not be on the parents to show that no such abuse has taken place. This is the democracy that this country is established on, that a person is not guilty until proven. Any registration and inspection will be saying that a home educator is guilty until proven innocent. This is contrary to the democracy of this country which we uphold.


This is the freedom this country has and this freedom should not be curbed by the unreasonable bias of people on home educators. Personally, our home education journey has been a wonderful experience and my daughter thanked me recently for home educating her; it has also strengthened the bonds of our family. My daughter has a lot of friends from different walks of life and she talks to people of different walks of life and different ages, both young and old. Her horizon has greatly broadened by learning through life. Even from a young age she has been interested in social affairs and issues and from the age of [age], she has been volunteering in different areas. She is not afraid to talk to and care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged of society including the homeless. She has a zeal for life and knows what she wants to become when she is older.


Each child is different and the way he or she learns is also different. By giving the child a tailor made education, the child will flourish and will become confident, instead of developing anxiety because of their need to comply in schools. This leads to the majority of school children being depressed and anxious. This is what has been happening to my friends’ children who attended schools. Home educating parents sacrifice a lot both financially and time wise in order to nurture their children in their education. They know that they have to pay for everything whereas the parents of the school children can rely on the government to fund for everything. Notwithstanding this, the parents know the child personally and know what is the best for him or her and irrespectively of having to sacrifice, they have opted for the option to give the child the best education he or she can have so that the child can become a responsible citizen of the society as he or she grows up and will contribute towards society. By limiting the way a home educator can educate the child. The child will not flourish under the freedom to learn at his or her own pace, his or her own way and the child’s talent will be stifled by trying to fit the child into the box of a school child in the home environment.


In view of the above, registration of a home educated student or any regulations will be highly disadvantageous to home educated students and it is against Human Right Acts 1998 where the parents have a right to educate the child. I therefore strongly object to the imposition of such regulations.



December 2020