Written evidence submitted by M King

        My name is M King, I have been home educating for three and a half years and attended the last consultation on Home Education, in London, at the Department of Education. I also work as an E-learning developer, IT professional and teacher.

Currently, the local authorities do not have a duty to ensure the quality of home education, only the suitability and possibly the efficiency of the home education which may include preparing a child for their local economy and not necessary for the global economy.

Many home educators are delivering a high quality of home education which may well be broader than the national curriculum and which is attuned and adjusted to the home educated child’s learning aptitudes. The local authorities would need to employ teachers to assess the quality of educational provision. The decision to remove a child from a school in order to home educate would not have been taken lightly by many parents, who by undertaking the option to home educate, take on all the financial and legal duties to provide their child(ren) with an education.

The local authorities should have an additional duty to prove that their SEN local offer is available to children who receive a home education without a push to return them to a state school. A dyslexic child who requires a quiet space to work (better suited to learning at home/flexible learning with a parent or tutor one-on-one) and a tactile learning approach could be offered suitable software and other learning aids such as overlays or similar by the local authority’s budget which would be allocated by the team in charge of the local offer. The learning aids could be made available online to purchase for delivery with either a discount code or similar.

Any parent who has sent a child to a state school then formally deregistered is already on a register of personal details and data collected by the local council. It clearly states in many county council home education policies updated in 2019, that their council is not in favour of home education and do not encourage it as an educational option.

These councils (as well as nearly all councils from June 2020)are insisting on work samples and meetings as a form of formal assessment and welfare check service, which parents have not consented to and are made to feel very uncomfortable by the pressure to conform and comply with the local authorities requests, when a report or letter would do if they intend to continue to home educate.

It appears that councils such as Barking and Dagenham, Lincolnshire and Bexley have updated their policies in 2019, but many other councils have not updated their policies since 2015 or have no publicly accessible policy.

Some of these councils are sharing best practice but monitoring visits should not form part of the policy, but they do insist on them, in the above councils’ home education policy. Some parents might find a first meeting outside the home with a home-education officer helpful to voice concerns and to ask what resources/services are available to home-educators, but other home educators may find this an intrusion, especially if they have already sent an initial plan or timetable, and have already given the local authorities an adequate response, as evidence, that the family will carry out the delivery of a suitable educational provision. It does make sense for councils to request information in the form of an educational plan or educational philosophy for parents who have just deregistered. This guidance is a form of support to help home educators organise their educational provision.

Many seasoned home educators who speak with or write to their local councils/local authorities every year are now being pressured  (within a timescale set by councils/local authorities) into writing formal letters in the form of a report which in reality takes time away from educating their children.

A child’s work belongs to a child (unless a parent gives consent to give the work to the council) and an attempt to take away their voice on the matter appears to be a safeguarding issue in itself. Labelling a department as an inclusion service with someone allocated a post as home education officer, appears to be misleading to many home educators. It is a misrepresentation of the role at present. The majority of home educators have not asked for a contract for services, nor have many asked for SEN professionals to be involved with their children. The idea of an inclusion service for people who are satisfactorily home-educating is currently causing tension between home educators, the home-educating community, and the local authorities.

Previous home education officers were usually qualified teachers involved in the post part-time, there has now been a move away from assigning teachers to the  ‘home-education officer’ role and more of a push towards signposting back to schools.

At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Childrens and Families’ departments are being stretched and are unable to provide carers in homes where parents require respite from their children with additional needs (that attend schools) which is resulting in mental health issues for the parent(s). The lack of action in the case of safeguarding those children from emotional abuse and other types of abuse, is where the delivery of safeguarding for children is really failing for some areas, so how can they successfully manage assessing the quality of education provided by home educators. In addition, how can such a department without a long-term relationship with a family, assess where a generally anxious child should best be placed to receive an education that suits their special needs. A formal deregistration from a school in order to home-educate is not a safeguarding issue in itself and does not require monitoring in the first few months unless other issues are ongoing and known to the local authorities. Parents should be sent guidance by the home education officer about online learning resources, local groups, and other offers from the local authorities. .

A formal register would have a cost and data protection implication for the councils/government who would hold the data. A licence to home educate is not required and neither should a tax be required to fund the register. Would a national register allocate fairer resources such as learning aids and laptops to children being home educated that have special educational needs and disabilities?



Home educated children become independent learners quickly using home educating methods such as charlotte mason and behaviourist learning theories. Motivation is high when a leaner starts to discover the job of monitoring their own progress, not only within workbooks but also using online testing sites such as IXL for maths, grammar, and comprehension, but also Duolingo for languages. Parents work as facilitator and usually use a variety of mix media to teach concepts as well as unschooling approaches. In my experience someone with a right hemispheric dominance might have an aptitude to learn additional languages that use pictographs, would prefer maths, science, and coding, whereas at a school the student would not have that choice. Home education gives children the ability to learn at their own pace as well as discover a broad number of learning experiences and careers.

The current disadvantages are that support groups for home educated children, even if a social meetup once a week for physical exercise or play, have not been clearly defined in the national lockdown regulations meaning that many of these children are being socially isolated from their peers. It can be equally difficult to find premises, except parks, to hold home-education support groups. If private sports clubs and tennis clubs are also unavailable, the children lose their routine and part of their full-time education, especially if the facilities shut down for a month or more.

There is extraordinarily little straight forward support from local authorities for children with special needs, such as hearing loss, SEN such as autism or dyslexia, disabilities, trauma related issues and mental health issues. There are colleges accepting home educated children when 13 plus to access functional skills courses in English and Mathematics.

Private exam centres should remain open for access by home educated students in order to take examinations, that are not offered remotely such as G.C.S.Es and A-levels should candidates need the certificates to access university or work. Local authorities have set up group meetings to meet with parents whose children have been subject to off-rolling by academies and there are plenty of signposting and careers services available

Home education provided by individual parents is not the same as an unregistered school and hence should not involve inspection. If local authorities wish to inspect work whereby a home-educated child is flexi-schooled, that should take place within the school where the role of inspection would be to assess the teaching.

There is still a postcode lottery in terms of support. There are some discounts for home-educators and a library loan scheme for three months as well as downloadable audio books. It appears that best practice is being shared amongst some councils, especially as some councils were hiring contractors, where neither the local authority nor contractor, had developed a home-education policy. Local offer is still not being distributed fairly or without pressure for the children to re-enter a school. Music hub provision for free instrument tuition is really unavailable for some postcodes. Most free instrumental tuition takes place in a school and the schools would be unwilling to take on flexi-school students purely for musical provision. Some online choir and carol concerts are being organised for home educated children to get involved with. Home educated students are currently unable to easily access examination centres within schools and have to pay higher exam fees in private centres. Shouldn’t the exam fees for G.C.S.E’s be free of charge for home educated children? Are there not grants available or would the teenagers be expected to crowd fund to pay for their examinations in some cases?


Home education support groups for under 13s need to be defined in the ‘national lockdown regulations’ or ‘tier numbered regulations’ as such. Many support groups have shut down due to a fear of being fined even where they form an important part of some children’s full-time education and should fall under youth support or educational activities. It is important for children’s mental health that those support groups should be exempt from lockdown restrictions and should be allowed to continue.

November 2020