Written evidence submitted by Kruger De Kock


Education Committee

Call for evidence

Home Education


I want to thank the committee for the opportunity to respond to their call for evidence in regards to home education.


We have been homeschooling our children for the last 4 years following 6 years in an independent school. We are part of the Classical Conversations UK network.


In responding to the particular issues raised I take section 7 of the Education Act 1996 as my starting point: The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education... either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.


I also note that the following document “Support for Home Education, Fifth Report of Session 2012–13, Volume I, December 2012” quotes the government's guidelines in explaining what an “efficient” education is.


An efficientand suitableeducation is not defined in the Education Act 1996 but efficienthas been broadly described in case law as an education that achieves that which it sets out to achieve, and a suitableeducation is one that primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the childs options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so. (DCSF Guidelines 2007, p. 4, citing Mr Justice Woolf in the case of R v Secretary of State for Education and Science, ex parte Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass School Trust 12 April 1985)


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


Local authorities have a duty towards safeguarding and already have powers to intervene if they have a reason to believe there are children at risk.


In terms of assessing the quality of home education the local authority will have to decide by what standard they will measure it. Whatever standard they choose will in my view interfere with the complicated and diverse needs of the children and families involved since it is the parent’s responsibility to provide an efficient and suitable education.


The current arrangement in Southwark works really well. The Southwark Council Children's and Adults' Services have been great supporters of our approach to our children’s education. Their approach strikes a careful balance between family privacy and child protection and is exemplary.

Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required

I don’t think a statutory register is required primarily because it’s unclear what the purpose of it would be. Local authorities already have powers to deal with safeguarding issues within their constituency so it would be unnecessary for that. I can’t think of any other legal reason for such a register.


Except if the purpose is to monitor the children’s academic progress, but this would be an unlawful intrusion into family life and an over reach of the Education Act 1996.


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


The benefits are well documented but for our family it includes the following:


Our children are disciplined and therefore work diligently through both the subjects they like and those they don’t. When done they have enough time and energy to pursue the topics or subjects they are interested in, putting them in good stead for adult life.


We have also been able to adjust our speed of learning and content to each child’s ability meaning a truly tailored approached to human flourishing.


The school environment can offer many of these things, but sadly it can also open the door to bullying and safeguarding issues that’s simply not an issue at the home.


Some of the disadvantages to homeschooling are related to this since they might not learn how to deal with something like bullying. Having joined some local sport clubs have helped.


Parents on the whole want the best for their children and would make the homeschooling decision accordingly. At the heart of schooling in the home lies the relationship between parents and children. Trying to regulate this relationship seems an overreach.


More, trying to regulate and inspect these families will be nearly impossible, particularly with such vague definitions of “effective” and “suitable”. Each family is different, and every child is different. What may be effectiveand suitable for one family might not be for another. This diversity would make it impossible for a council worker, especially if it’s a retired school teacher or similar to clearly see what is being aimed for and accomplished by each family.


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


I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the current regulatory framework and I’m not aware of any evidence to the contrary. All I can say is that home education should be dealt with apart from unregistered or illegal schools, exclusion, and off-rolling. Changing the current regulatory framework in order to deal with the above will lead to unclear policy that will end up being ineffective.


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


We have had incredible support from Southwark Council and it has always been available to us if needed. A member of their team gets in touch annually to ask how we’re doing. This person normally asks things in relation to previous conversations, sends along helpful resources and on the whole seeks to support what we’re doing instead of imposing another standard.


We have never been treated with suspicion or made to feel inadequate - quite the opposite. The council sees themselves, quite rightly, as a resource to help us fulfil our remit to educate our children efficiently and suitably.


We would welcome any financial assistance in regards to exam fees in future, especially since we are already paying tax into the schools department that we’re not using.


November 2020