Written evidence submitted by [a member of the public]


My name is Jay Byrd. I was Home Educated myself from birth until age 14 when I went to secondary school and then continued onto college and university. I Home Educate my son, using an unschooling ethos after he started refusing to go to school in year 2. I am on the admin team for a Home Education facebook page with over 1K members and have volunteered as a Home Ed consultant for a local museum.


Local Authorities repeatedly make out that they have legal responsibilities which they do not have. I was not offered a home visit, I was told when it would happen in a manner that implied I did not have a choice. I see posts in facebook groups over and over again from parents who feel bullied and intimidated by the people who should be offering help. These families have often already been let down by the education system and have children who are traumatised due to their treatment by schools. The only duty a local authority should have towards Home Educators is to offer them assistance and signposting.

A statutory register of home-educating children is not required. It will not safeguard children. What will increase the safety and security of children is more funding for Children’s Services. Every time a case of child abuse or neglect has been raised in favour of a register, closer inspection of the details reveals that the children were either Missing In Education (i.e. NOT electively home educating) or they were already known to the authorities who should have been protecting them. In the latter case, a register would have made no difference at all. The only thing that will make a difference is funding for those who should be protecting vulnerable children so that they can do their job properly.

I was Home Educated myself, along with my 3 siblings. We are all caring and productive members of our community. We were able to follow our own interests and learn in ways that suited our learning styles. I have (so far) started 4 businesses and 1 charity. One business and the charity are still operating (I have passed them onto others due to changes in life circumstances), two are currently on pause due to COVID and one is a business I started in lockdown in order to continue working and Home Educating my son safely. The benefits of Home Education are so varied and person-specific that it is hard to list them all but I would attribute my success to the following elements of my upbringing:

Autonomy, Learner-led learning, Freedom of thought and lifestyle, Engagement with the wider community (rather than a group of peers only), One-to-one learning.

The disadvantages will likewise depend on the individual and their individual circumstance but due to the fact that home education is usually crafted to meet the needs of the individual (by the people who know that individual best and have their best interests at heart), it seems obvious to me that there are likely to be less disadvantages than putting them into a huge education system that needs to do things in such a way that they can manage huge numbers of students.

More support would be nice as there is very little but if it comes at the cost of freedom to educate our children in the way we want to then I am more than happy to do without.

Off-rolling and exclusion are not Elective Home Education. Attending an unregistered school is not Home Education. These are separate issues and need to be dealt with separately. Schools need to get the support they need to deal with children who have different needs and behavioural issues. If schools were properly funded and resourced, we would not see off-rolling and exclusions. Unregistered schools need to be investigated and shut down. That has nothing to do with Home Education.

It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure the wellbeing and academic (and otherwise) achievement of children. To remove that right is to change the fundamental rules this country operates under (and is morally repugnant).


I have seen no improvement. In fact, there seems to be an increase in Las overstepping legal boundaries and in some cases, displaying bullying behaviour.

The main impact COVID-19 has had on Home Educating children is that it is harder to socialise with others. I can’t speak for the whole country, but Bristol has a thriving Home Ed community with many activities, visits, groups and get-togethers going on each week during normal times. COVID-19 has reduced opportunities for interaction, just as it has for everyone else. The additional measures the government could take in order to mitigate negative impacts is to take reasonable measures to stop this pandemic such as those taken by New Zealand and other countries so that we can get back to normal. And stop wasting time and money talking about a Home Ed register.

November 2020