Firstly I would like to say that I am an extremely busy home educating mother of 5. I have never ‘submitted evidence’ before and I am currently needing to do so with extremely limited time so I’m sorry that this is rather a quick response.


I am glad not to have the responsibilities of a local authority in this area as I can see the challenges that monitoring the situation must pose. However, I suspect that I am best qualified to speak into the benefits children gain from home education and also the quality and accessibility of support available for home educators and their children.



As Im sure many others have testified to, the benefits of home education are extremely broad. Personally, I appreciate being able to teach them always with the ‘long view’ in mind. I appreciate that I can always keep one eye on the short term goal (perhaps this may be mastery of phonics) and one eye on the long term goal which includes but is not limited to being a well rounded member of society who is able to have the ability and the heart to give to those around him.


My children have not been through the current school system but I think we can all agree that school children face certain disadvantages. For the sake of the many, the education system probably must take a cookie cutter approach. I appreciate that there is often a lot of talk in assemblies and on posters about being unique and celebrating differences but when it comes to learning the children really must tow the educational line (for example be reading age 5.5 etc) or fail to access classroom teaching for the next few years. The emphasis on phonics and writing in the early years creates pupils who can admittedly read pretty well but when I look around at my children’s friends I am saddened to see that they often don’t want to read or don’t really want to know or understand more about the world around them. As they get older they seem to genuinely think that knowledge is to pass exams rather than to actually know about the world and interact with other people.


There seems to me to often be a chalk and cheese division between those who are home educting and those who are trained within the school education system. Home education often looks unprofessional, untidy, hard to ‘mark’. Yet these children are being trained for life. They are learning (often very messily!) how to interact well with those of different ages. They often have more time to play outside which leads them to develop their senses to a much greater degree than school children (this seems a minor point until you look at the number of children with various sensory processing disorders). They often learn from great literature. They have time to process what they are learning.


Personally, I find that I am often greatly stretched by the challenges of home educating. Yet when it comes down to it my reasons for wanting to send my children to school would be because I would want someone to babysit them for me, to help me with the great responsibility of bringing them up. I believe they will have the richest, most challenging and satisfying education at home.


There are disadvantages. Those that I can see for my own children include access to group sports, easy access to musical training and learning to take instructions from non family members. However these are mostly surmountable.


My personal experience of our LA has been that they have been pleasant enough. Contact has been fairly light and without significant benefit or distress to both parties.


A significant concern for many home educators is the cost of taking exams. As my eldest approaches GCSE years this may well be a determining factor in how we choose to educate him. It seems sensible to me that the LA could make access to exams more cost efficient since the cost of educating the child to the LA will otherwise be non existant!


My own children do not struggle with significant educational needs (bar dyslexia). However I am under the broad impression that those looking for support with SEN, disabilities, mental health issues etc have a very difficult time. I think those in school have a pretty hard time and this is only amplified many times for those home educating. Im sure that there are some lovely exceptions although I don’t personally know of any.


Finally, I’m not sure which point this would come under, but although in a perfect world I would not object to a little oversight, in an imperfect world I would be only fearful of this oversight. The problem comes down to the skills and experience of the person overseeing the home educating arrangement. If this were a mother with many years experience of home educating her children then I would love the support. However, if it were someone trained within a school education approach checking progress then I suspect this would merely result in me needing to work harder at areas which would not benefit my children. There would be many wires crossed and I do not know what an ‘official’ LA representative would be able to offer me to truly help me in my home education beyond access to exams. As Im sure you are aware there are rich networks of home educators. I feel very well supported by other home educating parents who are actually those who are best qualified to speak into whatever my current home education difficulties may be.  On what basis would the LA representative judge the mother or the child? Many who are home educating are choosing to home educate because they think that the current education system is beyond its best before date. It would seem counter productive to apply the same system of checks to home educators.