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.]

We started HE due to my son suffering from high anxiety around school. He was HE for his [school year], our reasons being that the school in our village was not suited to his learning style and we were in the process of moving house. We enjoyed HE and it suited him but the plan was for him to begin school in [school year]. We assessed the local school and was happy with it but once he started he was full of anxiety. At school he appeared happy but the time around being there he struggled. It was having a huge impact on his mental health as well as the rest of the family. We worked with the school and we were able to reduce his timetable but the difference in his outlook was made even more obvious so we decided to pull him out completely. Thankfully I am in the privileged position to Home Educate my children and now have two school aged children at home as well as two under five.

We have had minimal contact with the LA. In our first HE year we had a visit from the council at the end of [month]. They did apologise for it taking so long.

This academic year I have received one email asking for more information. I replied with a detailed account but have had no response. I am aware some families do not want the council involved. I would welcome more involvement. I am proud of what is achieved with my children’s education and want to make sure the LA is aware that they are being well provided for in all aspects.

I do not feel I need support as I acquire that myself through online communities and meeting with other HE families but I do want to make sure the LA is aware of all we do. I believe there needs to be a better balance between giving parents the freedom to HE their children and being available to offer support, guidance and acknowledgement.

Our HE experience so far has been wonderful. It is very difficult but on the hard days I still know this is the right decision for our family. My children are thriving and I am no longer having to worry about the issues surrounding school. I am not anti-school. My husband is a teacher and I was also a teacher before having children. We will assess the feelings of everyone in our household every few months to check in that this is still the right decision for us all.

The benefits to home education are many. For our family, it allowed for a slower, more relaxed pace of life. It removed pressure and allows my children to follow their interests and passions without time limits. My son and daughter make clear goals about what they want to learn about and we delve into this as a family. It is a journey we are all in together. It draws us closer as a family unit. My children (with COVID restrictions this year) are able to interact with many children and adults of different age groups. We see a variety of people with different experiences that help build on their social skills and learning. We are able to make visits to places that link to their learning spontaneously.

To summarise we have had the experience of school and HE. We chose to HE due to high anxiety in my son.

We feel it is the best decision for our family.

We have had some but minimal contact from the LA. We would welcome more in a supportive capacity but not overbearing.

We are checking that HE suits our family regularly.

There are many benefits to HE.

November 2020