Written evidence submitted by Mrs Amy Neylon


Evidence for UK government Home Education Inquiry

This document is my family’s evidence for the UK Home Education Inquiry. We are a home educating family by choice, for philosophical reasons. This was after a huge amount of research, planning and discussion in order to enable us to make what we feel is the best decision for the education of our children. Our four-year-old daughter attended nursery in a school setting from September 2019-March 2020, but didn’t start formal school in September this year. We are very happy with our decision, and we believe that there are many benefits to her education that she may not have had access to if she attended a school. We hope to do the same once our one-year old son becomes school age. Myself and my wife are both former teachers, both with over 10 years’ experience of working in schools with primary school aged children.

My understanding is that local authorities already have the power to request a report about the education of children that are of school age. This feels reasonable and suitable to the education style that we have chosen. Statistics and sources from the paper, “Home Education and the Safeguarding Myth” by Wendy Charles-Warner (2015) demonstrate that home educated children are actually at lower risk of abuse than both pre-school children and those that attend school. Therefore, I believe that any duties of local authorities need to ensure that they do not infringe upon the rights and freedoms of parents to educate their own children.

As part of supporting families to provide a suitable and enriching education experience for their children, I can see why a register may be of benefit, However, as above, I would want any such register to be in support, rather than to hinder, the freedoms parents have to educate their own children, unless there was concrete evidence to doubt this was taking place.

Our personal experience so far is that while home education may not be for everyone, the benefits to the children and families that do home educate are many. These include the opportunity for children to learn at their own pace, without the feeling of being compared or in competition with other children around them. Learning can be tailored to the child’s interests and abilities, often through real-life hands-on activities and experiences and play. There are also opportunities to learn through direct interaction with the local community, through the local library, shops, community events, experts in specific fields of interest, as well as interaction with a wide range of people, including the elderly, very young children and working adults on a regular basis. The wide availability of the Internet means that no information is off-limits to children with an enquiring mind or parents who have an eagerness to support their children. There are a vast array of websites, videos, tutors and online classes about almost any topic and usually at various levels so that it is easy to find the level most suitable for the child. Other resources, such as books, art materials, craft projects, museums, natural spaces, in-person classes, social activities and time with friends and expert helpers are also available and can be arranged easily at fairly low cost (although other activities can be more expensive if parents can afford it). There is also a lot of support for parents out there, including books, podcasts and Facebook groups. All this means, in my opinion, that there are really very few disadvantages, and a world of possible benefits that a family can experience and draw from when choosing to educate their child at home.

There is currently no financial support for parents wanting to home educate their children. I feel that this, sadly, makes a possibly effective education method to some children (particularly those who don’t thrive or have trouble in a school environment) unavailable to the poorest people in our society, even if families wanted to. While I am unsure about a potential solution to this, it would be good to see support to help parents from poorer backgrounds to provide this form of education for their children if they wanted to.

I don’t know much about the current regulatory framework so I cannot comment here.

If it is considered that inspection is a necessary part of home educating, it needs to be by someone who has knowledge and experience of home educating and home educated children and families. This means that someone with no experience of education, or someone who is used to only to teaching and learning in schools. Home education is unique, meaning it should not be judged in the same way as conventional schools. Many people choose home education.

I don’t know anything about this report, and so cannot give an opinion here.

Since starting home education in September 2020, we have missed out on many of the social groups and educational activities outside the home that we had heard were available pre-Covid. We have also been unable to use public transport, which was vital for us previously due to only owning one car, which is used for work purposes. We have also been unable to go for educational visits to museums, the local chocolate shop, trampolining (because it was shut down due to Covid) and there has been a lack of visits organised through the local Facebook group, which was very active before Covid restrictions. While I know some of these things have been allowed in some way, a lack of clarity on what was and wasn’t allowed for home educated children made us unsure what we could and couldn’t do.


Thank you for taking the time to read our response to the call for evidence for this inquiry. I look forward to reading the results.


Mrs Amy Neylon and Mrs Natalie Neylon



Charles-Warner, W. (2015) “Home Education and the Safeguarding Myth: Analysing the Facts Behind the Rhetoric.” http://www.home-education.org.uk/articles/article-safeguarding-myth.pdf

November 2020