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.]

To whom it may concern,

With regards to the Parliamentary Committee call for evidence on home education, I would like to address certain points.  We are a home educating family with 3 children being home educated, in addition, I have run home education groups, and help admin several home education (HE) groups online providing support to other local families.  I would like to submit evidence for the committee to discuss and consider, as the outcomes and discussions will directly impact my family and our children who are [ages].

  1. Duties of local authorities with regards to HE

A further expansion of duties is not necessary and call for the committee to allow HE families to continue as they have been, with their HE journey. If it’s not broken – don’t fix it.  I would urge any resources to ‘fixing problems’ be pooled to fixing the current educational schooling system – and not that of EHE. 


We were asked to provide our philosophy to the LEA – it is already set out in law that families by law have a duty to provide an age relevant/suitable full-time education for children.  The law and responsibility is very clear. When a family chooses to EHE, this is something that is taken seriously as this is an obligation set out by law to provide an education that is suitable, and would encourage the committee not intervene in EHE families in how they fulfil their duties – any attempt to limit the rights and obligations of parents is contrary to the law as it stands.



It is also important for the committee to understand that there is a difference between families who EHE, and those families who are forced into home schooling because of lock-down measures.  The two should not be mixed up into one single group – families who have been forced into schooling children at home, and have been provided with a school alternative at home should not be classed as EHE – as they have not elected to HE also, they absolutely do not educate their children with the same ethos, values and principles as those who have actually Elected to Home Educate – because they are FORCED into a situation where they have to have their children do their schooling (from their mainstream school) at home. Home Education for these parents is not ‘ELECTED’ and therefore any safeguarding measures for those children should be considered separately - and outside of the discussion of EHE.



  1. The benefits that children gain from HE are vast, and from our experience include the following:
    1. Allows for families to prepare their children for a world that is in need for a shift in the way we relate to our ecosystems and natural world. The current school system does not prepare children for this, and we can see this evidently in the world around us.  The UK declared an ecological an climate emergency, together with many other countries, and yet, the school system does not reflect this.  We are able as a HE family to help our children, not only better understand this, but also to prepare them for a future whereby they can live in harmony with the natural world around them. 
    2. HE enables children to flourish their natural gifts and talents – by focusing more time on those natural abilities and skills.  Schools cannot provide for such pupil centred approach to learning. HE can be centred and tailored around the uniqueness of the child – a truly child centred approach can educate a child that is far better adjusted than standard educational systems
    3. HE children are better socially adjusted because they socialise with children of many different ages.  HE offers children a significant opportunity to mix with children of different ages, whereas most schools have classes of one narrow age group; HE circles include everyone from babies to teenagers.  The younger children learn how to play from the older children, and older children learn to be caring and inclusive to the little ones
    4. HE children are free to take exams and qualifications at any age and are not restricted by a system that is set up to cater for all abilities within a limiting age bracket.
    5. HE children are better equipped to deal with ‘the real world’ and have a bigger involvement with the community they are in.
    6. HE allows parents/guardians to prioritise the childs’ emotional, mental, behavioural and physical health, and therefore become better adjusted adults who are not a strain to their community.


The strongest predictor of a satisfying adult life is emotional health and well-being in childhood. Exam grades have little relevance.(Clark et al, 2018). Research studies on mental ill-health have shown that school is a major contributor to the mental health problems of schoolchildren. (Gray, 2018; Lueck at al, 2015; Plemmons et al, 2018). In such circumstances, a parent concerned about a suitable education might wish their child not to be in school.

    1. HE brings meaningful learning to the child – rather than learning to remember things just because it is in a test.  It provides ‘real’ learning and true understanding of subjects.  Often subjects are processed in numerous ways (think, see, feel, taste, smell) that provides for a much deeper level of understanding
    2. HE allows families for many more real life experiences of any given subject – for example many day trips or museums can be visited to understand and learn around a subject – whereby these provisions are not allowed for in a school setting
    3. Preparing for vocation or entrepreneurship with HE can start much earlier with a HE child
    4. HE children get to have a personal interaction with their ‘teachers’ (parents/guardians) on a one to one level, which helps learning and understanding subjects.  Dedicated teachers with a great teacher-to student ratio has been shown to better the academic achievement of a child. Also, the degree of connection present between teacher and student and the amount of dedication a teacher has to a specific child.  HE excels in both of these areas.  Who can be more dedicated to helping a child learn successfully than that child’s parent?  Parents love their children and dedicate their lives to helping their children successfully grow to maturity. So, no one is more dedicated to a child than the parent.
    5. HE children can move at their own pace without having to move at the pace of a whole classroom.  Sometimes this may be faster, or slower – but none the less – the child learns better when they have the freedom to move at their own pace
    6. HE child gets to spend more time outdoors which is far healthier, and also has more flexibility in pursuing their own hobbies and interests which is better for mental health, as well as physical and emotional wellbeing


  1. The quality and accessibility of support of HE families needs to be improved – this is an area where the committee can assist the families who choose to HE.  Currently there is no financial support for HE families, even though HE families cost less for the government in way of schooling – educational materials, and school meals.  HE families often have to make sacrifices in their homes and families to ensure that they are able to afford learning materials, classes and groups for their children.  Some of this should be funded, and grants, bursary and/or funding should be provided for HE families to assist with learning materials meals, museums, places of interest and educational facilities fees.

I used to run a home education group, whereby the books, craft materials, learning materials and educational toys had to be funded by the local community.  It would seem fair to allow funding for local HE groups to be able to purchase materials needed, and take some of the financial strain away from HE families. 

  1. Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure wellbeing, academic achievement...

The current regulatory framework is sufficient in ensuring wellbeing and achievement – and this freedom allowed within the law should be kept.  I see no reason why the framework needs to change. The law is very clear, and freedom within the law, should be allowed for in order to keep all the above named benefits of HE.


With regards to safeguarding –the problem an efforts should be focused at schools rather that EHE. Allegations against parents of potential abuse or neglect have not been proved within EHE setting. There is more evidence against schools in this respect. For instance, traumatic bullying in school (experienced daily by many thousands of children) is almost three times more likely to lead to psychosis in adult life than those without that experience (Varese et al, 2012). Currently almost 100,000 schoolchildren are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to severe bullying (Lewis et al, 2019).


  1. The role that inspection should play

The role of inspection should be kept as is – there is no reason to change it, even with the current COVID situation.  Inspection would undermine the law that already states the obligations.  The law states that it is the obligation of the parents – and so, if inspection is imposed, this would in fact contradict the law as it stands. 


Education law is clear that naturally and historically, responsibility for education rests with a child’s parents. This is a point well made by the Education Committee’s 2012 report “Support for Home Education”; in section 10 it states:


“10. The role of the local authority is clear with regard to home education. They have two duties: to provide support for home educating families (at a level decided by local authorities themselves), and if families wish it; and to intervene with families if the local authority is given reason to believe that a child is not receiving a suitable education. It is not the role of the local authority routinely to monitor whether a suitable education is being provided, and local authorities should not act as if it is, or cause parents to believe that it is.”


Whilst departmental guidance has changed since 2012, legislation has not changed.

The legal basis for EHE remains the same currently as it did in 2012; and therefore there is no need for it to change now.  As Lord Bingham had stated in the case between Ali v Lord Grey School [2006] UKHL 14 the keenest interest for selection of the best education for a child is parental responsibility


  1. Finally, the impact of COVID-19 has been that families with HE children have not been allowed to meet.  Socialisation and community within the HE community is very important, and although the new lockdown has outlined that educational HE groups can continue – this should be extended to HE families meeting outdoors and in parks to allow the children to continue their normal social development.  If they were in school for instance, they would be allowed to socialise with their friends at school in the school setting – so there is no reason why children who do not attend a formal school should not be allowed to socialise in the same way.  Not all HE children attend an educational institute or group (forest school for instance) because they may not be able to afford it, and therefore depend on meeting other HE families at the park in order to get this socialisation for their children.  The current regulations and restrictions are in fact discriminatory for those families.


I look forward to hearing how to committee meeting goes.

Yours sincerely


November 2020