Written evidence submitted by [a member of the public]

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]



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


It is the parents duty and legal responsibility to ensure that any child receives an appropriate education. Our personal experience is that if a parent chooses to adhere to the national curriculum whilst home educating, the local authority usually is supportive and encouraging; however, when a child requires a different approach and an individual package of care and education, that suits their needs better, for them to reach their full potential, the local authority behaved in a sceptical, wary, questionable and disrespectful manner towards the parents. When residing in [place], following the national curriculum with our home education, we were praised for our resources and approach; however, upon moving to [place], and having by then, having to have slightly changed our approach, our home education methods were not viewed so positively.This was despite being better for my daughter and enabling her to achieve her potential.


In our view, and experience, as committed home educators, there appears to be a trend by local authorities to somehow link safeguarding concerns of children in particular, to home education. This is a very, very dangerous path to be going down! There exist many excellent home educators in this country, and yet we too have experienced being victims of abuse of power, by both the local authority and Childrens Services, in relation to safeguarding. A preconception  that home educated children are more at risk when it comes to safeguarding concerns is both inappropriate and wholly unfounded in fact. It was actually one of the very reasons we embarked upon home education, due to safeguarding concerns we had, with the state school that my daughter attended, and the multiple failures of both the local authority and Childrens Services to address these issues. Of course, there are always going to be bad apples and poor home educators, however, I put it to the Committee that it is our experience, that there are far more safeguarding issues continuing in state schooling, than in homes of Home Educated students.


The local authorities are not in the best position, nor are they qualified to assess the quality of home education provided by families.


2.  Whether a register of home educated children is required?

Our evidence and opinion is that we can see no additional benefit to having such a register.



3.  Benefits for Home Educators and Disadvantages?

Having experienced both the state schooling system for many years with two children and now home educating one child, we feel we are well placed to give evidence on this question. We have found that the state system is too rigid and attempts to offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach of education that actually does not truly fit any child. The state school system has no ability to provide a flexible learning approach or cater that education to the learning style of the child in order to facilitate them reaching their full potential. Home education provides flexibility and an ability for the child to lead the direction of the education, thereby encouraging confident, independent, empowered learners. The child learns accountability for their own futures and this encourages better engagement.

Sadly, the lack of support from Local Authorities, schools and colleges in accessing exams has crippled the prospects of home educated children. My daughter is very capable academically and intends to apply to [place of study] to study [subject]. Her lack of ability, and difficulties for private candidates, to access exams, particularly this year has seriously and negatively impacted her dreams and hopes. She is currently sitting her Maths GCSE two years early, that should have been sat and/or graded in the Summer. Owing to the unreasonable restrictions and expectations placed upon private candidates, she was unable to be graded, despite having a private tutor through an online company. Her planned education strategy is now in limbo and we are being told by the exam centre that exam boards have no banned all private candidates from sitting her next exam subject. This will further delay her plan.


4.  The quality and accessibility of support (including financial) available to home educated families and their children, including those with special educational needs,Disabilities, mental health issues, including those with caring responsibilities and those making the transition to secondary and further education?

In our experience the quality and accessibility of support for home educated students of all kinds is extremely poor at best and most often non existent. There exists no provision for resources or support for families. The attitude is ‘you opted out of state education so you get nothing from us’. This is despite still being charged for the element of council tax relating to education and school provision. I have a SEND child and we left state education because the provision was so poor and difficult to access in state school. At least at home we can mitigate many of the issues that she faces as barriers to her success. Financially though it is crippling.


5.  The role that inspections should play in the future regulation of home education?

We feel that inspections are not a positive or reliable way to regulate home education and seeks to undermine the very principles of how home education helps and enables its students. Regulation and inspection requires and implies a standardisation of the provision. By nature this is the very opposite reason why homes educated students achieve more and better success than state educated students. Attempting to standardise home education is contrary to all its principles and methods of success and would seriously undermine the students ability to access education.


6.   What improvements have been made to improve the support for home educators since the 2010 to 2015 education committee publish their report?

The short answer is little to none.


7.  The impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children,What additional measures might need to be taken in order toMitigate any negative impacts?

We have suffered horribly with the sudden cancellation of exams due to Covid 19 in the summer of 2020. The extortionate ramping up of costs by exam centres, the cancelling of registrations for exams already made, upon that announcement by the Govt., the inaccessibility to obtain grading, even when education was conducted by qualified teachers or professional tutors, the limbo that we were left in long after the schooled children were sorted, the ongoing worry and confusion and speculation surrounding next year. The lack of consultation and review by exam boards and the Govt deotartments regarding private candidates...we could go on! Overall the lack of awareness and acknowledgement of private candidates and the issues faced by all home educators has been diabolical. We are an after thought and our students are suffering as a direct consequence of the Governments lack of awareness and consideration to home schooled students. We are financially discriminated against and SEND students are not able to achieve parity in their provision at all.

November 2020