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.]

Education Committee Call for Evidence
5th November 2020
Submitted by [member of the public], HE parent


The Committee invites written submissions addressing any or all of the following points:

        The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education;

Local authorities should have no more “duties” with regards to home education than they do to education in bottom-wiping skills: none whatsoever. What extraordinary hubris to think that the lumbering ignorant giant that is government could possibly micro-manage the myriad needs of millions of individual children.

        whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required;

Required for what? Government has a tendency to think that if only enough information could be collected then wise bureaucrats might be able to plan the lives of strangers. What a preposterously arrogant conceit!

        the benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;

It may come as shock to learn that children are all different and not a homogenous mass. From the government’s point of view children are just numbers, faceless blank slates to be prodded and pushed into predefined shapes. To their parents, each child is a special and precious individual. The benefits and disadvantages of choosing any type of education will vary from child to child and it should not be the government’s concern why particular parents choose to home educate particular children.

        the quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education;

I neither want nor need any string-bearing “support” from the government. It is well known that grant money is only “worth” a small fraction of its face value if you factor in the hours wasted doing things required by the grant that you know to be counter-productive, time spent filling in forms to get the grant, let alone submitting reports to justify continuing to get the grant. As the Trojans learnt the hard way; "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes". Having said that, I might consider a tax allowance for taxpayers who save the country money by choosing to home educate.

        whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’;

Evidence shows that Elective Home Education (EHE) children are LESS at risk of mental or physical abuse than children at government schools. How many EHE teenagers commit suicide because they are being bullied? Evidence shows that EHE children achieve MORE academically than children at government schools. Yet you persist in posing questions like the above that pre-suppose - despite the contrary evidence - that EHE children are somehow in need of ‘safeguarding’. Government employees frequently talk of ‘following the science’ - surely that principle should apply here, as elsewhere.

        the role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education;

None. This is a deeply chilling suggestion that treats all home educating families as guilty unless they satisfy some half-trained and wholly patronising - even if well-intentioned - ‘inspector’, who has to invade what should be a sacred and personal family haven. An Englishman’s home is his castle and it should be free from government inspection absent a specific warrant granted for cause.

        what improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 Education Committee published their report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012; and

See my answer above. Government employees have been consistently hostile to EHE families and “support” is clearly a pretext for ignorant meddling.

        the impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts.’

COVID-19 itself has had very little impact on EHE children; the government’s heavy handed response however, has caused enormous damage. Closing parks and museums, barring households from mingling and banning extra-curricular activities have prevented children from learning, playing and exercising. Shutting down much of the economy has caused vast financial strains. The best measures to ‘mitigate any negative impacts’ would be to allow parents to make their own judgements about balancing the risks and benefits of various activities.

November 2020