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.]


Call or Evidence, November 2020


I am a home educating mother of three boys aged [ages].  I have home educated them from the start so they have never attended school.  We chose to home educate for various reasons including not being satisfied with local state provision, wanting to spend more time with our children and not applying undue stress and pressure on them through unnecessary testing.  We are thoroughly enjoying our home education journey so far and are happy with the provision the Local Authority provides. Access to resources and support has never been easier and I love that we have freedom to live our lives the way we wish, nurturing and educating our children in a loving environment, building character and values and allowing them time to play and explore their own interests and strengths.  I run a home education group and love encouraging and supporting other parents to feel empowered to educate their own children.


I believe that the duties of the local authority should be to provide support for those home educating families who need it.  I do not believe that the local authority should be involved in safeguarding unless they have reason to believe there is a safeguarding issue (i.e. they have been informed by another service).  Home education alone is not a reason to suspect safeguarding issues.  It is well known that there are no children who have been home educated and were abused or neglected who were not already know to social services.  I believe that there are many opportunities for safeguarding issues to be spotted outside of the local authority home education services. Local authorities are not in a position to judge the quality of the provision parents provide as only parents are able to judge what is suitable for their children’s age, ability and aptitude.


I believe a statutory register of home educated children is totally inappropriate.  It implies that we are a danger to our children and in need of closer monitoring than other families.  I believe a mandatory register could lead to unnecessary intrusion by the state into family life.  I also believe a register would be a waste of local authority time and resources that could be spent supporting families who need it.


Children gain many benefits from home education including being able to follow and focus on their own interests and strengths, being able to learn at their own pace, being in an environment with parents who love them as only a parent can, being able to learn at a time of the day and or week which suits them best, smaller learning groups and because much learning is self-directed children are then well equipped for further education. 


I believe that the current regulatory framework is sufficient in ensuring home educated children are receiving an appropriate education. It is unhelpful to link home education with safeguarding issues, as stated above this is not a relevant connection to make. In fact home educated children are better protected from potential abuses that occur at a much higher level in schools than in home educating families.


I do not believe that inspections should play a role in future regulation of home education.  The local authority is not fit to judge home education provision. Inspections infringe on the right to a private life and could negatively impact on families.  It is a worrying sign of state interference in family life.  What is more, the diversity in approaches, which is a strength of home education would make inspection impractical.


Home education was negatively impacted by Covid in that we were not able to meet physically with other families for learning and socialising as we normally do.  However we managed as well as schools with zoom meets and online learning. I do not believe that any further measures need to be taken.


November 2020