[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

Written evidence submitted by [member of the public]


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;


Home education does not have to follow the national curriculum. There is not a “one size fits all” but instead the whole point of home education is to allow families to tailor the education to ensure the suitability to the age and ability of their children. With this in mind it is very difficult for someone who does not know that child to assess the quality of home education as that parent will not be following the national curriculum or aiming for age related targets in set areas - it becomes a subjective area almost impossible for an outsider to assess.


Safeguarding - home educating families do not take on the task and responsibility of proving such an education lightly. It is hard work, and full time. As such they go out of their way to provide numerous opportunities to socialise, attend activities such as swimming, drama, gym classes, scouts and just generally going about their day to day lives. There are plenty of independent adults involved in most home educators' lives to be able to flag safeguarding concerns.


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

What purpose would a register serve? How would you know it’s complete and includes all children.


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



a)     Delay the start of formal schooling until children are ready and until then extend education through play like is done in many Scandinavian and European Countries.

b)     Ability to meet the child’s needs better than at school - Dealing with any anxieties slowly and with individual help to enable the child to thrive.

c)     Personalised education to the child or family (not a one size fits all which cannot possibly enable all children to thrive as everyone learns differently). Allows for more in depth study on topics and immersive learning at the child's pace far more in line with how adults learn best rather than flitting between subjects and topics.

d)     Ability to personalise the curriculum and not follow the national curriculum but, as above, to deep dive on topics (Just like private schools are able to do).

e)     Longer more relaxed happier childhoods with plenty of relaxed quality family time and deep enriching conversations with parents, extended family and other adults in the community.

f)       Allowing children to learn and mix in much more multi age groups in the community allowing them to learn how to help younger children and learn from older children.

g)     Ability for the child to learn to follow their own interests, and manage their own workload much younger so they are more prepared for adult life.


Potential disadvantages


a)     Access facilities to take formal qualifications. It can be very difficult to find exam centres to accept external candidates. It is also exceptionally costly even if you can find a centre who will take you, both in terms of exams, and accommodation as most students end up travelling quite some distance and staying to enable them to sit exams.



       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;


The biggest issue in my opinion is the access to exam centres (and funding) to give teenagers the right to take exams to ensure they have a level playing field on leaving education.


       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’;


In my opinion yes it is. My LA made contact within weeks of me withdrawing my daughter from school in [year] to ensure she wasn’t off rolled and it was a positive choice on my behalf. They offered support and signposted home education groups and resources at that time. They make contact every year to check all is well, understand the child’s progress, and to offer support should I require it, and ensure I know how to contact them at any time should I require it.


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


I believe the current level of inspection, described above, is sufficient.


       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


       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.’


The most significant issue COVID-19 has had on home educated children is the fact that in summer 2020 most of them were not able to take exams and as they were private candidates many of them didn’t get a grade as they hadn’t used a recognised Tutor. This continues to be an ongoing issue as they don’t know when they can sit them, and many centres (which are hard to come by for private candidates anyway) weren’t taking for November exams, and maybe even not for Summer 2021. Exam access has been an issue for home educators pre covid 19 but now it’s really penalising a whole generation.  A right to enter exams at their local school as a private candidate would be an amazing step forward to ensure home educated children are not penalised.


It has also affected them socially with the second lockdown as most of their groups couldn’t start back up in September as nobody knew what would happen, and those that did restart then stopped with the second lockdown. Whilst school children still see friends daily, home educated children are now denied that social aspect as they can’t even meet outside in groups of 6 anymore, compared with school children in bubbles of up to 200.


January 2021