Written evidence submitted by Mrs Kylie Chin


Call For Evidence: Home Education


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

The local authority has no such duty with regards to Elective Home Education. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 clearly states it is the duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age”.

Home education is not a safeguarding concern.

If a local authority were to have a safeguarding concern about a child, they already have the proper channels to follow using Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

The local authority has all the necessary powers, but they must be trained on how to use these appropriately, otherwise they fail in their duties.


Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required

This is not required and would be a complete waste of public funds.

Children who have previously attended school will already be known to the local authority as schools have to pass on this information when a child is deregistered. The vast majority of children who are home educated have attended school, so will already be known.

A statutory register of home educated children would criminalise these children purely for the style in which they receive their education. It implies that the State needs to check up on these children in the same way the Sex Offenders Register works.

Also, the DfE have recently been found by the ICO to have failed to meet several articles of GDPR and so has broken data protection laws. This shows how unsafe the data of children is within the hands of the DfE and local authorities.


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

Children are able to have an education that is specifically tailored to their learning styles and interests. They can learn whilst out in the world and within their community, and do not have to be confined within a classroom. They can enjoy educational trips that would be restricted within school, for instance, prior to COVID-19 I was able to take my daughter to the Natural History Museum and Science Museum in London, as well as Kew Gardens. There are no trips like this available with the local primary schools, so she would never experience these wonderful places during her education if in school.

The main disadvantage is that home educated families are currently being targeted by politicians and officials who do not understand how elective home education works. Home education is often singled out as a factor in whatever situation is currently worrying the general public (such as terrorism, or more currently, county lines) when there is no evidence linking elective home education with these issues. Home education seems to be the easy target and home educated children are aware of the hostile environment that has been created by people who are ignorant to all the advantages of this form of education. Home educated children are being discriminated against, and this has been clear with the debacle around GCSE and A level grades over summer.


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 support for home educators and their children outside of the home educating community.


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’

Unregistered schools, formal exclusions and ‘off-rolling’ are all matters not related to elective home education. These should not be discussed with home education because these are matters for parents who want to send their children to school. Elective home educators are in no way related to these problems. These matters need to stop being raised together with home education as they are school issues for local authorities and Ofsted to be looking at.

The current regulatory framework is sufficient when it comes to electively home education children, as it is very clear from Section 437 of the Education Act 1996 that “If it appears to a local authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education”.


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

Local authorities have no duty to monitor home education and this was mentioned in the 2010-15 Education Committee report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012. Home education does not need to be further regulated or inspected. As already outlined, the local authority already have sufficient powers around home education within the Education Act 1996.

Schools require inspections because parents who discharge their educational duty to the schools need to know that the schools are performing as they should be. Also, the local authority and government need to know that the money going to schools is being spent effectively. Elective home educators take on full responsibility (including financial) for their children’s education so do not need inspecting.

Also, there are no grounds for local authorities to enter family homes where there is no evidence of a crime. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act respects the right for private and family life, and inspections would likely infringe upon this.


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

There have been no obvious improvements.

There is still a postcode lottery when it comes to local authorities. I live in Suffolk where the local authority officials have a good relationship with home educators and do not overstep. They happily accept reports as evidence of education. However, across the border in Essex, this is not the case. The elective home education officers start off initial contact with a threat about court if they find that a suitable education is not being provided. This type of initial contact immediately quashes any chance of home educators forming a good relationship with local authorities. Also, Essex County Council try to insist that parents supply them with dated copies of children’s work, timetables and accept visits. This is overstepping and evidence of local authorities acting outside of legislation and guidance. I think it shows that Suffolk County Council have better trained officers, whereas Essex County Council need some training around the law, and on how to build relationships with the home education community. This highlights how local authorities differ and the complete lack of training and understanding of some local authorities.


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

It has meant that libraries, museums and art galleries have shut, which make excellent educational trips. However, there is now even more educational information online from esteemed institutions across the world. Virtual tours can be done of most of the well known museums and galleries, and many of these have provided educational packs to go with their exhibitions and artefacts.

Activities at leisure centres and village halls have been stopped, such as climbing, ballet, drama and swimming, which are all important activities within the home educating community.

Social opportunities for home educated children have also been curtailed as much of the COVID-19 guidelines have focused on restricting people getting together socially. However, home educated children are resilient and adaptable. My child has certainly coped very well with the changes, and much better than her schooled peers.


January 2021