Written evidence submitted by Holly Lepley


Home Education Inquiry Call for Evidence Response


My name is Holly Lepley. I have three children aged, 6, 4 and 2. I have always taken a huge interest in education. My mother was a Primary Teacher; I have a PGCE in Primary Education from UWIC in Cardiff and have taught at schools in Skelleftå, Sweden. I read every book I come across on education, pedagogy and child development.


This is our story so far. My eldest son attended our local Primary School in Reception and Year 1 up until the initial nationwide lockdown. On paper and to his teachers he was doing really well. He is quite academic and picked up reading, writing and arithmetic pretty quickly. His report said he was a ‘model pupil.’ At home I had my doubts about his experience. He started to express negative feelings towards school. He began to count down the days to the weekend. He said he hated learning. Then he stopped going to the toilet at school at all. He used to come running out of the school gates in agony because he had been holding it in all day. It turned out he had asked to go the toilet once in class and been told no because it was ‘tidy up time.’ This put him off asking again. I started to question whether school was the right fit for him and then lockdown came.


With the pressure of school off and no one telling him what to learn, when to learn and how to learn I could see my son come back to himself again. He was so smiley! He bounced out of bed in the mornings excited about the day ahead. He played with his siblings. He started reading for pleasure again (something he’d stopped doing as he was put off by the reading material forced on him by school). In short, he got his spark back. So we had to rethink everything. In the end, after much research we decided that we would continue to home educate for the foreseeable future. The benefits to my son, and my other children are numerable. My children are able to go to the toilet when they need to go. They are able to eat when they are hungry and drink when they are thirsty. My children are able to move their bodies as much or as little as they need to throughout the day. They can learn what they want to learn, how they want to learn it, when they want to learn it with support from two loving parents. It is a wonder to watch the learning and development unfold. The benefits to autonomous education are bountiful (I assume you will get many responses with the research and statistics to back this up). For our family, home education is simply the healthiest, happiest path to take.


In regards to Covid-19, home-educating families should be given clear guidance allowing them to meet in groups when children are able to meet in school. Home educators have consistently been left out of any guidelines, wondering who they can meet and where. For instance, it seems illogical that a class of 30 children are allowed to meet in a classroom but I am not allowed to have a couple of friends round to play with my children. Home educators should be included in all Covid-19 guidance as a group with specific needs.


Education is a public good that benefits all children. We all want the best for our children and for them to be happy. What this looks like varies for each family and for many home education is a wonderful choice.


November 2020