Written evidence submitted by [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.]

Home Education Call For Evidence


I am fairly new to home education and started this journey in [date]. My daughter had completed [school stage] and was two weeks into [school year] when I decided that it was best to remove her from the mainstream system.

Throughout [school stage], it became clear to me how tough our school system is on [age of children] and how many expectations are developmentally inappropriate:

As an ex-teacher, I know the downfalls of the system and that too much is expected of children. After a huge deterioration in my child’s behaviour and increased levels in her anger and anxiety, I knew I had to take her out of mainstream schooling as the expectations would only increase. Leaving the mainstream system was the best thing for her and she is now so happy, although it took a long time to get rid of that ‘school anxiety’.

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



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

There is no financial support for home educators. When children reach exam-age, they should be able to access exam centres without excessive administration charges and fees. This should be a fundamental right of every child in the country.

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

When we went into the first lockdown in March 2020, many friends said to me, “You must be used to this!” Of course, we weren’t. All activities were cancelled. My children were prevented from socialising with other children and adults. This had a huge, negative impact on them. Fortunately, we are very aware of the importance of good mental health and ensured that the children were out in nature everyday as well as playing on the drive, which gave them the opportunity to chat to the neighbours walking past and provide those much-needed daily human interactions and connections.

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

I understand that local authorities have a duty of care to ensure that home educated children are living in a safe environment. However, do they feel the same way about checking on children within mainstream schools? Whilst a very small minority may keep their children out of school for sinister reasons, it is not the reason for the vast majority of home educators and local authorities must ensure that they treat families of children within the mainstream system and families who home educate in the same way.

With regards to the quality of home education – this is subjective and is not for the local authority to decide. People who home educate think differently to the mainstream system and will have researched the different ways that children learn, choosing the best approach for their own families. It is not for the local authorities, who will not have conducted this research and know which approach is best for each family, to decide what is ‘quality’ education. The local authority may also base their opinions about ‘quality’ education on the mainstream system, which home educators have actively made the decision to remove their children from, or not place them in in the first place. We must move away from this thinking that children only learn when being spoken to by an adult whilst sitting at a desk.

Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required

I understand that, as a safeguarding issue, a register may be required so that local authorities know which children are in school and which are home educated. But that is all it should be: a register.

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

Inspection should not play a role in home education. Unless there is a genuine safeguarding concern i.e. a child is living in an unsafe environment, it is not simply that parents aren’t following ‘social norms’, then inspection has no place here. As already stated, home educators think differently to the mainstream system and everybody home educates differently to suit the needs of their family. They cannot, therefore, be inspected by people who will be measuring them against mainstream standards,

November 2020