HED0636

Written evidence submitted by Vicki Jordan

 

Home education call for evidence.

 

I am a home-educating parent. My eldest child was deregistered from school at age 6, was home educated for just over 10 years, and is now attending college studying a level 3 BTEC diploma. My youngest child has never been to school.

 

Benefits:

Home education has allowed both of my children to follow their own path, in a way that school could never achieve. We have followed their interests and passions, and had the freedom to do so, without being restrained by the national curriculum.

 

We adopt an autonomous approach to home education - not quite unschooling but certainly child-led, and without much externally imposed structure or demands.

 

As I said above, my eldest child - now nearly 17 - has successfully made the transition from home education to full-time college education. He was home educated from the age of 6, and studied for a handful of GCSE & equivalent qualifications from home.

 

Impact of Covid-19:

The cancellation of exams in the summer adversely affected us. My son had entirely self-studied for his GCSEs and so there was no way for us to access any predicted grades for him. We had no option but to defer to the autumn sitting. As well as us losing out financially because of this, it has made it harder for my son as he is now having to revise at the same time as attending college full time. I really think that more consideration could have been given to private candidates in this summer sitting.

 

The other impact has been that we have not been able to continue with many of our home ed activities, especially those informal activities with another family or two. The guidance and legislation regarding home education and C19 has been confusing and open to interpretation. Clearer guidance, specifically related to home ed, would have been (and still would be) hugely helpful. Instead we were pretty much overlooked, and just lumped in with out-of-school settings.

 

Register:

I strongly believe that there is no need for an EHE register, and I am strongly opposed to myself or my children being put on one. Registers are for those who have committed a crime, not for people who are merely making a lifestyle choice. It is offensive to suggest that we somehow need checking up on, or to be listed somewhere, simply because of the way we choose to educate our children.

 

In any event, the vast majority of home educated children are already known to the LEA, by virtue of them having, at some point, been at school. The only children that could feasibly be added to a statutory register would be those who have never been in the school system, which in my experience is a pretty tiny proportion. Therefore I don’t think a register would achieve anything.

 

Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient:

Yes, in short. There is no reason to believe, or evidence to suggest, that children who are home educated are any more of a safeguarding risk than those attending school. Where there are concerns about a child, social services can intervene, regardless of whether that child is educated in school or at home. Again, EHE is simply a lifestyle choice.

 

I would also like to mention that illegal schools, excluded pupils and off-rolled pupils are often spoken of in the same breath as home education. These are *not* elective home education, and should not be considered as such. Illegal schools are just that - illegal. They should not be conflated with EHE. Excluded and off-rolled pupils - that is an issue for schools to deal with, not home educators. Again, it should not be conflated with EHE.

 

Inspections:

I firmly believe that the role of the LEA should be a passive one. If a home educator wants help or advice, then the LEA should strive to provide this. However if a home educator is happy to get on with their educational responsibilities without interference then they should be allowed to do so, without interference.

 

I personally do not want anyone in my house telling me how to educate my children. Nor do I want to be inspected to check if I am abusing my children. Again, it is incredibly offensive. I have been home educating for long enough to know what I am doing, and I believe I should be allowed to get on with the job of raising my kids.

 

Conclusion:

All children have the right to an education; their parent(s) have the responsibility to provide this. By home educating we are simply choosing what we believe is the most appropriate way to meet this responsibility, and to provide the most appropriate education for our children.

We do not want or need interference from the government, especially when it strays close to licensing. We know our children best, and have the most at stake in their futures. We more than anyone else want them to do well, and achieve what they want to achieve. To suggest that we need to be on a register, or meet certain criteria, or submit to inspections, is offensive.

 

Elective home education is not perfect. There are pros and cons, just like there are with school. And it is definitely a lifestyle choice - for me, our home education is completely and inextricably linked with our family life - it is who we are.

 

January 2021