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.]


I am a mother of [a number of] children aged between [ages] and have [a number of] years of Elective Home Education experience. I wish to address three of the points raised by this Call for Evidence. Two points will be addressed very briefly and the third at more length.

The Department of Education’s own guidance for Elective Home Education (April 2019) states,

As parents, you not the state are responsible for ensuring that your child, if he or she is of compulsory school age, is properly educated.

If this is the case, why does the state need to make a register if they are not even the ones responsible for the education of the child?

I would just make the point that my [age]-year old daughter has not missed one day of schooling since March, in sharp contrast to the disruption suffered by her peers in the state system.


“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  Allow me to illustrate this by sharing some of the experiences of my own children. A parent is the one who loves their children the most, knows them better than anyone else, and cares most about their future prospects. This is not in any way to denigrate teachers in state schools who I know are extremely hard working and committed to their pupils. However, a parent (usually the mother) will want, and will be able, to tailor the individual child’s education to best suit his/her needs. If children are highly academic the education can be adjusted to suit them, and where they are less academically able, again the education can be adjusted to suit. That has been the case in my own family. But education is not just about academics, and if a child shows a particular talent or interest, home education allows the time for this to be pursued.

My children have grown up in the middle of a large city in [location]. They were not naïve or closeted and they were given many opportunities for “socialising,” which, in my experience, seems to be the major concern of those who learn that someone is home educating. My [children] were educated using the “Accelerated Christian Education” curriculum. This starts with a learning-to-read program and continues up to the equivalent of A’ level standard. Through the use of this curriculum plus their home education experience, my children were given many varied opportunities, including: sports, music, ceramics, language learning and serving others. They are adventurous people and there is no doubt that their education gave them the confidence to travel into challenging overseas settings at a relatively young age.

[personal information]

The reason for describing some of the experiences and achievements of my children is to demonstrate some of the benefits that, I firmly believe, home education can bring.  Contrary to the perception some people have, it is not restricting or narrow. It gives time for the individual child to follow his/her interests, and there is time for a wide variety of experiences which can be built on as the young person matures, through adolescence and into adulthood.

Potential disadvantages

What downsides might there be for the home educated child? The main issues that non-home educators seem to be concerned about are those of ‘socialising’ and the lack of opportunities that the child might have had in a school setting. I would like to list some of the extra-curricular activities my children have been involved in over the past 20 years to demonstrate that these concerns are unfounded. Sports include swimming lessons, gymnastics, trampolining, circuit training, team cricket and football, and Pilates. They have taken part in local art classes and ceramics. They have attended church based youth groups, many local home educator’s social and sports groups, and large and small summer camps. My oldest three children completed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh award and two of my sons have reached piano grades 7 and 8 respectively.  One went on to teach piano and has played for weddings and at other public events. As a family we have visited numerous National Trust properties, the big London museums and smaller local ones, plus other heritage sites and zoos.

Some might consider the cost of home education to be a disadvantage. All the above activities had to be self-funded! Almost certainly there will be only one household income as one parent stays at home to educate the children. However, for me at least, the advantages far outweigh the financial costs. One of my sons has told me that his upbringing taught him the value of money and that that is something which will stay with him for life.

Lastly, I do believe home educated children are somewhat at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for Higher Education. The whole system is geared towards those who have followed the conventional route through schools and Further Education colleges. It can be challenging to fill in forms where there is little provision for alternative qualifications. Many institutions are of course happy to accept young people who haven’t followed the traditional path; [personal information]. However, I think more could be done by the admission boards to broaden their entrance requirements, without lowering the bar academically.

In conclusion, then, I am submitting this evidence mainly to demonstrate that there are great benefits to Elective Home Education. From my own experience I know it has the potential to give the child a tailored and varied education. It can provide many interesting and stimulating experiences. In the nurturing and safe environment of the family home the child is well able to acquire the academic, emotional and social skills which will one day enable him to be a responsible, caring, hardworking and useful member of society. What else could the government want from an education?

November 2020