Written evidence submitted by Mr & Mrs Dyson


Home education consultation: Our Response


If my wife and I bring a child into the world we intend to home educate and have friends who already do so. Their children are well adjusted and prospering intellectually and emotionally.


Regarding the duties of local authorities, and the advisability of a register for home educators, we reason from these premises:


a) Children do not belong to the State. The idea that they do is characteristic of communist, authoritarian nations in which the rights of the individual (in particular the right to family life) are subjugated to what is perceived, by the State, as the mass interest. The UK is not a communist country but a liberal democracy.


b) Parents have the right to hold a different worldview to that which characterizes the State at any given point in time. This is obviously necessary in a free country. The State cannot therefore legitimately interfere in family life on the basis that home educating Parents hold, and teach to their children, a different set of values and conclusions on moral and epistemological issues than that which the State generally maintains; issues such as:


- the origin and ultimate purpose of the universe, life in general and of human life in particular;


- human identity – what it means to be “human”;


- the viability, normality and logical basis of homosexuality and transgenderism;


- the relationships between science, interpretations of scientific data, rationality (its presuppositions and ultimate basis), and divine revelation;


In other words, the State in any genuinely free country must allow for diversity in religious and metaphysical beliefs amongst different families, and the right of families to maintain and express those beliefs, including nurturing their children in them.


c) Any interference in the right to family life and privacy must be necessary and proportionate. It can therefore be justified only on the basis of credible evidence that a child's home education is seriously defective in purely educational terms, e.g. the child is showing serious underdevelopment in ability to read, speak, calculate mathematically, reason and critique logically and understand and know (age appropriately) the meaning and results of observation and experimentation in the sciences, especially the natural sciences. NB: Questions of child abuse are a separate matter and the local authority has extensive powers already to act on evidence of it.


In view of a) - c) we maintain that the powers of local authorities in this matter are to be highly constrained, and that the implementation of a home educators register would set up the legal apparatus for surveillance of parents and this would be incompatible with life in a free country.


On the question of evidence: is there evidence that a home educators register is necessary? The facts are decidedly to the contrary. By use of the Freedom of Information Act the following facts have been established:


Home educated children were found to be disproportionately scrutinised, being approximately twice as likely to be referred to Social Services at 9.39 – 10.19%, as were children aged 0-4 years at 5.24% and children aged 5-16 who attend school at 4.93%. Despite that double referral rate, Child Protection Plans were in place for only 0.17 - 0.24% of home educated children compared to 0.69% of all 0-4 year olds and 0.49 of 5-16 year old schooled children. Referrals to Social Services were found to be 3.5 - 5 times less likely to lead to a Child Protection Plan with home educated children than with referrals of schooled children aged 5-16 at 9.5% and 5 - 7 times less likely to lead to a Child Protection Plan than referrals for children aged 0-4 years at 13.23%. Rates of home educated children subject to a Child Protection Plan at 0.17 - 0.24% of the population, were also found to be less than teaching staff guilty of abuse offences 0.18 – 0.46%. Home educated children are found to not be at increased safeguarding risk, rather they are shown to be at lower risk than other children. Analysis of the Serious Case Reviews cited by the NSPCC as having home education as a ‘key factor’, demonstrate that all of the children involved were known to professionals and that there were multiple missed opportunities to act on concerns expressed by professionals, in each case.




Finally, our own reasons for wishing to home educate any children we subsequently have revolve around the enormous cultural changes that our country has witnessed in recent decades. Our society (along with others) is increasingly saturated with sexualised and pornographic imagery, is under constant pressure to accept and celebrate what we regard as sexual deviance, is increasingly cynical and in fact hostile to our Judaeo-Christian heritage when in fact it is only this heritage (so we are convinced) which will enable us to escape the fragmentation and breakdown of our society. The UK no longer has a shared story. The most aggressive cultural force is that of those so-called ‘liberals’ who insist that we all be intolerant of intolerance – an obviously self-refuting philosophy. We could not, as a matter of conscience, allow our children to be subject to this moral and intellectual chaos, which has spread throughout our society including to the State education sector. Witness Ofsted’s Chief Inspector’s (Amanda Spielman) determination to see ‘muscular liberalism’ enforced in our schools – this is precisely the illiberal liberalism which we cannot accept for our children (or ourselves).

November 2020