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 Select Committee – Call for Evidence – October 2020


[member of the public] – Individual.


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

The duty of local authority (LA) with regards to “elective” home education (EHE) is clearly laid out in S 437 of the Education Act 1996. They have a duty to act ONLY if it comes to their notice that a child not registered at a school is NOT in receipt of a “suitable” (as defined in S7 Ed Act 1996) education.

The LA is not responsible for all children in their catchment without prior legitimate concern. Some parents have not delegated education to a school - and even in the case that they have, it remains the parents' responsibility to ensure receipt of a suitable education. Ironically the LAs don’t care about that and the parents are mostly unaware.

The LA has a duty ONLY if they become aware/ it is brought to their attention, that there is genuine and reasonable concern about a child's education. They cannot invent a duty to intrude unwarranted into the lives of all children.

Some detractors argue that S436a gives local authorities an extra safeguarding duty re EHE children which means they should be made aware of every EHE child in their catchment “just in case”.

The section says

“436ADuty to make arrangements to identify children not receiving education

(1)A [F2local authority] must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but—

(a)are not registered pupils at a school, and

(b)are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.”

Please read the section accurately. The duty is “in so far as it is possible to do so”  - and that was written with clear understanding of the law as it stands. It was not an invitation to create new laws to suit prejudices and false perceptions in order to abuse human rights and harass home educating families. If LAs are not able to identify a child using powers within current law, then they have NO DUTY to identify them.

S 47, The Children Act, also covers safeguarding BUT it is NOT directly an Education issue and should not be conflated with EHE.

The quality of EHE is of no primary business of the local authority. Their interest is only initiated if and when they are made aware of a legitimate cause for concern. It is the parent’s primary duty to cause their child to receive a “suitable” education and the content of that education is up to them so long as it meets the broad requirements of S7 Ed Act 1996.

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

Plain and simply. NO.

No other section of free society other than released sex offenders are expected to register to be able to go about their private lives. Some public bodies, such as HCPC, keep registers of suitably qualified persons offering services to the public so that the public or state can decide if they wish to employ them. People can choose not to join such registers but that may curtail their employment opportunities. They are not legally required to register. Doctors practising only privately are not required to register with the GMC, for example, but can still find entirely suitable employment.

A Register for EHE children would be a licensing system for their parent/carer giving illegitimate power to the LA over the free choice to home educate and negate S7 of the Ed Act 1996. Thus a breach of Human Rights and Ultra Vires.


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

These are not the business of the Select Committee or the LA Education Dept unless an LA is made aware that disadvantages for a particular child are causing them not to be in receipt of a suitable education.

Disadvantages outside of Education are also not the remit of the Education Dept and there is provision to remedy other disadvantages through other departments and that should be kept separate from education.

However, the benefits are manyfold and individual to each child. My own children had a wonderful education free from state interference. They are Masters graduates [personal information] and enjoying satisfying careers – without a single day in a school. But I also acknowledge that academic achievement is not always the benefit or aim and that a constructive life experience and an education free from pain is what matters and EHEers can sing those praises forever.

Most of the disadvantages are caused by LA hostility, lack of willingness/financial support to provide for EHE children to sit exams and lack of LA support for EHE children with SENs.  Unconditional support of course.

Also the time (ergo money) stolen from EHE parents by a constant barrage of government consultations and calls for evidence that are frankly just based on ignorance and prejudice is a disgraceful disadvantage. We need more EHE graduates in LAs! The Select Committee are being paid to conduct this enquiry. LA staff are paid as they complete their Call for Evidence Document, often not even having read the Education Act or the Children Act or the Registration Regulations – but still feeling confident that their prejudices and statistically unsound examples and safeguarding examples that are devoid of education issues, actually warrant a change in Legislation. If it wasn’t critical to our childrenswell being it would be laughable. Instead it is truly draining and should be seen as the harassment of a minority group that it is.

This is my night off – and I feel once again compelled  - approximately for the tenth time – to give evidence to HM Government in support of EHE freedoms and to expose LA ignorance and prejudice for what it is. It truly is time for this harassment to stop.

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;

EHE children should have the same access to public services as any school-going child. Their parents have paid the same taxes and should be able to access the same services. The government should make sure there is provision for them to take exams.

Those with Special Educational Needs should be able – but not compelled – to access the same SEN care that would be afforded to them if registered at any school.

Children with SEN seem to suffer disproportionately from the prejudices of LAs, but these children, perhaps more than most, need their parent who of course understands them best, to be able to negotiate fairly for their needs.

I urge you to give due respect to submissions from all parents of children with SEN as my family experience of this is only slight.

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’;

This sentence smacks awfully of prejudice against people gathering to share EHE, excluded children who need help not harrassment and off-rolled children. The culprit in the off-rolling situation is the Head of the school and it is pertinent that they are NEVER brought to task – same as those who do not de-register a child upon instruction to do so from a parent, are NEVER prosecuted – whilst LAs prefer to act like child-catchers and harangue the parents of children who struggled with the one size fits all state school system.

Un-registered schools where parents are not home educating are nothing to do with EHE and should not creep into a Select Committee enquiry about EHE.

I have covered the red herring of well-being above – it is already well provided for in the current regulatory framework.

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

None - the question in itself is misleading and ignorant. There is no current legitimate regulation of EHE and there is no place for it in the future -and or inspection of it.

S7 of the Ed Act 1996 is abundantly clear – please read and re-read it until it sinks in – a child’s education (EHE or schooled) IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARENT – the end

S437 gives powers where the parent is legitimately believed to be failing in their S7 duty.


Of course, those parents delegating their duty to a state school have a right, when purchasing that public service, to have that service regulated and inspected. Home Education is NOT a public service, it is private provision which the state has no right or duty to inspect.


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;


I have heard of none. I only hear of things getting increasingly suffocating as LAs try and push for ever more oversight but offer nothing tangible. Not that those two are related and EHEers are wise to the tricks offered of making a deal for Registration in exchange for access to resources. These two things are NEVER to be interchangeable.


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.’

EHE children are possibly better able to manage the demands placed upon them by COVID-19 than are their schooled counterparts . They are more used to managing their own lives and often functioning and manging their education alone and in smaller groups.


However, I have heard EHE families say that they lost out on exam access due to COVID-19 because they could not get a teacher assessment alternative. This is unacceptable. There must be many ways in which Govt could give all children access to online exams. Private companies readily manage it.


Any necessary changes however are certainly not requiring legislative changes, and are not exclusive to EHE and should not be part of this enquiry.

November 2020