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.]

Education Committee

c/o Parliament

Palace of Westminster



[member of the public]




6th November 2020

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find below my response to the call for evidence for Home Education. My wife and I are home educating parents. I am submitting my evidence to the Government to help it support and improve home education.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education... either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.” My wife and I have elected to educate our children at home in accordance with the law. We have chosen to home educate for the following principal reasons:

We are home educating in light of the above because we know this is best for our children.

Local Authority Intervention and Safeguarding

My wife, who is a trained teacher, is teaching our children. She is part of 2 home educating communities and gets much of the support she needs from these groups. The local education authority told us of the help available from them when we started elective home educating and notified our local education authority (LEA). We feel sufficiently supported by the communities that we are part of and from the LEA.

We have friends in the home educating groups who are single parents and have principle custody of their children. They have told us their stories when their ex has not agreed with home educating and involved Social Services and the LEA. They have described a system that, while very stretched, ensures (1) the safety of children and (2) that the children are being education appropriately and are making progress in some cases well ahead of their peers in academics.

The notion of a national, mandatory register for home educators is again the state interfering in family life and trying to exert control over the population. Why do I have to register with the state when it is my responsibility to educate my children? I will consider a voluntary national register if I am able to obtain benefits like educational resources, reduced entry to museums, financial assistance etc.

There is no evidence that a national, mandatory register will help safeguarding as those families who would be of concern would not register. From our experience in the home educating communities we can see that Government authorities like Social Services and the LEAs have sufficient powers to ensure children are safe and educated.

A national, mandatory register is counter intuitive. The outcome will result in the following:

Benefits of Home Education and Disadvantages

My children are benefitting from home education. My wife and I research different curricula and procure what works for our children who have different academic abilities. [personal information]. They are also confident in their reading and willing to ask questions when they are stuck.

COVID-19 has not had the impact on our children as it has had on some of my colleagues’ children. Their academic education time has not been interrupted and carried on as normal because my wife is not working. Comments made by my colleagues tell me that they have been unable to spend the required time teaching their children during business hours because of the pressures of work, lack of teaching experience, unclear parental support material and insufficient number of computer/laptop/tablets in the house for working from home and teaching at home.

One concern that I had when we first started home educating was the social aspect. This is a subject that regularly arises when my wife and I mention this in conversation with family, friends and acquaintances. We have found that this is not a problem in reality. They attend gymnastics, youth clubs, church, playdates and play with children in the neighbourhood. This gives them all the time they need and more to develop socially.

The groups we attend have allowed our children to learn from not only children their own age but older children as well. As our children have grown they have become leaders in the home education community and have had many opportunities they would not have in a school setting.

I have seen my children excel in a safe environment where they receive 1-on-1 tailored education enhancing their inquisitiveness and zest for learning and life. We know friends in the home educating community, including many teachers, who have taken their children out of a school setting because of the stress levels around mandatory testing. They have seen their children relax and thrive as a result.

So far my wife and I think that the children are not disadvantaged because we have chosen to home educate. They may not have the same education experience that they can share with the majority of people later in life but this is quite trivial. The major disadvantage that my wife and I have found is financial. We are in a position when my salary covers our expenses so my wife can work. We have [a number of] children aged [age] and under. Child care costs are greater than the income my wife receives as a supply teacher. This has facilitated the decision to home educate.


I do not think inspection will benefit the home educating community but will adversely affect it. My wife will relay conversations she has had with other fellow home educators and the range of methods is vast. This will make inspection which is tailored for government schools that follow the national curriculum inappropriate. It will only facilitate that intrusion of government in family life which is completely unwarranted. There is no evidence that lack of inspection puts children at risk.

State inspection should not play a role in home education.

Accessibility of support

We are in the primary and junior part of our children’s academic careers. [personal information]. My wife and I are emphasising STEM in our children’s education. We are in discussions with our friends in the home educating communities about how we can access support for scientific subjects for our children in a secondary setting and availing ourselves of any STEM resources.

One improvement that Government should consider is the financial support that should be made available to the home educating community. We all pay taxes. A voluntary home educating register could be used to provide the value of educating a child in a government school to the parents equivalent to the number of school age children, including exam fees.

The voluntary register could also be used by 3rd parties like education charities, museums etc. to support the home educating communities up and down the country for educational visits.

The Government also has a mandate to remove the stigma of home educating socially and within government organisations. Home educators are often viewed with suspicion when it is completely unwarranted.

November 2020