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.]


Home Education Inquiry


Call for Evidence Response


[member of the public]


  1. Introduction

    My name is [member of the public], I am a mother to three children age [ages].  My eldest attends school 2 days a week and the rest of the week we home educate.  My two youngest have never attended school.  We are strongly considering home educating full time moving forward because of the wealth of benefits for our family and for the holistic wellbeing and development of our children. I have a [qualification] from [institution] and a [qualification] from [institution].

  2. Response to the benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;

    My children are autonomous in their learning meaning they attend to all the traditional curricula with joy and excitement.  My eldest frequently expresses how she enjoys her home days more because she can focus on her learning at a pace that suits her and she has autonomy over how she spends her time. I am able to see how much less anxiety she holds on the days at home and she is more confident in herself.  She often talks about feeling bored at school and how they never have time to focus on anything before they are made to start something else.  John Taylor Gatto in the book Dumbing us Down talks about how the school system trains children to be indifferent and not to care about anything with their system of bells and constant changing of subject and activity.  Home educating allows us the freedom to give time and concentration to the areas that bring us joy.


My children get to move their bodies and seek time outside regularly which is hugely beneficial for development. This cannot be accommodated in the classroom and this is something my eldest notes she finds hard on her days in school.  Children up to the age of 8 should do all their learning through play as this is what is developmentally appropriate.  There is extensive research and writing on the negative impacts of formal learning before the age of 7. Upstart Scotland are campaigning for a Kindergarten start for all children up to the age of 7 which I am hugely in favor of.  Peter Gray (Ph.D and author of the book Free to Learn) writes extensively on the benefits of play (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/freedom-learn/200811/the-value-play-i-the-definition-play-gives-insights ).

We make links in our community and socialise with children of all ages which I believe is hugely beneficial to support healthy emotional development. Peter Gray writes extensively of the benefits of mixed age play and social groups in order to promote higher order thinking skills and emotional literacy. https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/1195/ajp-age-mixing-published.pdf We also get to experience learning in real life contexts which promotes connections and curious thinking as it is more relevant to their life.  Learning within the constraints of the classroom is often completely out of context and of no relevance to real life.  I say all this as an experienced teacher and now home educating my own children, I can see how self-limiting same age groupings are for children.  It serves no other purpose than to make the mass instruction of an arbitrary curriculum easier to deliver.  It is not a decision that best supports the developmental needs of our children.

  1. the impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts.

    Home educated families should have had the clear directive to gather in groups at the same moment children were able to attend school. Whilst most children in the UK were able to access their social circles, home educated children were not. Considering the thousands of home educators in this country it would have been helpful and healthy to have had the clear go ahead under the same protocols as schools.
  2. Summary

    Education is a public good that can come in all forms. My children, along with thousands of others, are flourishing through learning at home. They feel less pressure to conform and are free from learning environments that promote unhealthy competition, comparison to their peers and feelings of failure. I believe that their mental health and cognitive development is better suited out with the system.  I see a strong fostering of independent thinking, curiosity, playfulness and desire to learn in my own children.  Sadly I cannot say the same for the children I work with in the schooling system.  How can there be playfulness, curiosity and creativity of thinking and motivation to lead learning independently when children in school have almost no control over any of their decisions?

November 2020