Written evidence submitted by a 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.]


Until recently my wife and I had been involved in elective home education with our children for about twenty years; unfortunately, our own educational careers were neither happy or effective, but our children’s outcomes have been a vast improvement on our own.  [personal information].


Statistically, children who are home educated out-perform their peers, are socially more confident and the majority go onto further education or full employment.


My reason for sharing the above is that there seems to be a school of thought that children in elective home education are somehow missing out, when in fact our story is somewhat typical of others. Children who are raised this way are social and connected, take part in all kinds of activities and have opportunities that children in regular education may not have.


There is no doubt that many teachers and leaders within our state schools do their very best, but they do not have the monopoly on successful educating; in point of fact, our schools are facing immense challenges, both socially and academically with far too many children falling through the cracks and missing their potential.


Another concern I would like to raise is the freedom of parents to choose their children’s education and being able to teach according to their religious perspective. I understand the dangers of radicalisation, but outlawing home education won’t change the mind of a zealot who wants to bring down our society; they will simply hide and become more devious. Are we going to punish families and take away our freedoms because of a misguided minority? The question is especially loaded as limiting our freedoms will not reduce the dangers we face; instead it will fracture our culture of free choice and free speech which needs to be both preserved and protected.


I notice that there is also growing pressure to take children from under the authority of their parents and give that authority entirely to the state, including removing elective home schooling as a right; I cannot express strongly enough how wrong and destructive this idea is. I am aware that there are a minority of people who fail as elective home educators for different reasons, but to punish the caring and effective majority is not only unjust, but also ineffective. Those children in homes that behave in such a way may be helped by attending the local school but removing that right from everyone makes no sense as when a family is at that level of need social services should already be involved.


I can say that for us as a family home educating has been both happy and effective; along with tens of thousands of others we would highly recommend it to those who are prepared to put in the effort, it is not for everyone, but in a free society it must remain an option for everyone.


In conclusion, I think there is something much bigger at play here, and that is our freedom as British people. It is the purpose of government to organise and protect; a great price has been paid for us to have what we have today, and to start removing freedoms because of a radical minority or so that different ideologies can be enforced is a slippery slope to tyranny. Freedom is expensive and difficult to attain, but so easy to lose; let’s be sure to take action to defend our freedoms, including the right to home educate, and not throw them away.


November 2020