Written evidence submitted by Carson

Government Consultation: Home Education


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


Home education exists because parents want the freedom and privacy to educate their children ‘otherwise’. Privacy within the family is a significant factor for many home-educating parents; not because they have anything to hide, but because they understand their children better than anybody else, and so are best-placed to make decisions about their child’s education.  Local authorities already have the means to act if they have a sincere concern about safeguarding, so I do not believe anything needs to change.

Granted, there has been one case of neglect that happened to a home-educated child. But thousands of others are not neglected and are thriving. So, we must not be hasty in trying to fix something that isn’t broken. Besides, can local authorities be reasonably expected to resource such a significant undertaking when they are already stretched to capacity? Surely the local authorities can use their resources more wisely within spheres that they already have influence? There are many neglected children who go to government schools each day, for example. Sadly, many of these are missed.


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


No, it is not required. Parents have chosen to home-educate because they don’t want their children in state schools (the reasons for this are wide and varied, but that’s the central issue). So, introducing a register would give the government needless power over parents and their decisions about their child’s education. Again, this would be an added burden to over-stretched local authorities, and we must consider that there is no evidence that a register is necessary. Personally, I am concerned that this would be the first step to more regulation, which would remove the freedoms and privacy of home-educators.


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


Children can work at their own level and pace, which means they can work slowly/quickly when it’s appropriate. They also gain more one-to-one attention than they would at school. AND their parents are more interested in their children’s education than teachers are because it’s their children. While teachers do care, they don’t teach their own children, so it’s not the same.

I like the fact that my child can be educated in the core subjects but also have the freedom to explore further any elements that are of interest, as well as other topics not covered in the core syllabus. All in all, education can be tailored for aptitude and interest, and all within a safe place.

‘Potential’ disadvantages could be that the children feel isolated, but this should not be a huge concern for parents because children can feel isolated at school – being surrounded by people doesn’t erase this feeling. And it’s worse when peers are purposefully isolating you. Additionally, with home education increasing, there is a large community of home-educating families to get involved with, so there is no need for anyone to be alone. This then becomes a positive point because parents can support each other, and their children can socialise and make friends.


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;


As previously mentioned, home-educating families/groups are on the increase, so gaining moral and educational support from other like-minded individuals/families is not difficult.

I am not aware of the quality and accessibility of support for those with SEN, etc. Obviously, they need support, and if it isn’t already in place, it should be.

Financially, I believe parents understand that the trade-off for having the freedom and privacy to home-educate their children is that they themselves pay for it. I don’t think anyone would be averse to receiving financial assistance but not at the expense of losing the right to educate privately.


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’;


Actually, home education is a choice and a considered choice at that. It has nothing to do with unregistered schools, being excluded or ‘off-rolling’. It’s apparent that home educating families are being thrown into the same mix, which is incorrect and misleading.

It is also apparent that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home-educated children is not a cause of concern. However, home education has been incorrectly associated with child abuse. The facts show that abuse is more likely to happen within school settings, including bullying and sexual harassment. In contrast, children at home with parents who love and care for them are safer and are able to thrive academically without the stresses of school life.


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


Inspections will cause unnecessary pressure and stress for parents and their children. Not to mention the fact that it would be an intrusion into family life and the home.

All children are unique and learn differently at different rates. Many parents home-educate because their children would not thrive in a ‘traditional’ school setting. The diversity that home-education offers is its strength, and it would make it impossible to inspect against one set standard. 

If education at home is genuinely inadequate, councils already have the power to address it. 


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.


Home educated children have been able to carry on as normal, in many respects, because they weren’t in the position of having to adjust from learning in a school to learning at home. They also weren’t reliant on school teachers/leaders to prepare lessons under pressure. The only way they were affected was by the closure of home-educating groups in the first lockdown.


November 2020