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.]


As a former home-educated young person, and now a home-educator myself, I want to address the following points in the call for evidence on home education.


The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education

Local authorities already have the power to intervene when there are safeguarding issues.

The current approach strikes the right balance between two very important areas; the right to personal and family privacy, and the need to safeguard children.

It is also in line with their duties with regard to other children outside of formal educational settings, for instance those under school age.


Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required

Local authorities are already required to keep a register of home-educated children, on an opt-in basis. Making this mandatory for parents would not only involve significant overhead and resources from local authorities but would be an unwarranted intrusion into family life. Parents are responsible by law for their children – they are the ones who need to know where the children are, not the local authority.


The benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;

Where parents are able to take it on, home-education brings a number of advantages. I benefitted greatly as a young person from being able to have an education tailored to my interests and abilities. I found this a great preparation for university and life in IT/business beyond that.

It also means that education can be woven consistently through the whole of life. Today I’m enjoying seeing my own daughters’ interests evolve and teaching them through everyday events as well as formal lessons – the parts can be tied together into a coherent whole.


The quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education;

[personal information]. These services need to be available to all without discrimination where parents request them, in the same way as they would be to parents of children attending school.

Home educators make their own choice to educate their children themselves. They shouldn’t be given any support, financial or otherwise, not available to other parents. However they should be able to make use of the same services that parents of school attending children have access to.


Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’;

There is no evidence of a problem with the current framework. It’s important to note that elective home education is a very different thing from unregistered schools, exclusions and off-rolling. There are regulations in place to deal with unregistered schools which may simply need better enforcement. Exclusions and off-rolling are already a matter for schools and instigated by schools and local authorities. Conflating these with home education confuses the matter.

Parents choose to home educate for many reasons, but often where children are taken out of school this is to protect them from abuse and bullying they may have been suffering. There is no evidence that home education is linked in any way to poor wellbeing or academic under-achievement. The promotion of this unsupported supposition is actually harmful to home-educated children’s wellbeing and prospects.


The role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education;

Any mandatory inspection would be a disproportionate encroachment on personal liberty and family life. There is no mandatory inspection of parenting for under 5s. There is no mandatory inspection of what parents do with their school-children outside of school hours. There should be no mandatory inspection of home-education.

To take another example, there may be genuine concerns about levels of childhood obesity. It’s important that parents feed their children a nutritious and balanced diet. However, would it ever be suggested that the local authority should have the right to enter homes, inspect kitchen cupboards, and insist that parents keep records of meals? That would immediately be considered a flagrant disregard for family privacy. Home educators should not be discriminated against in this way simply because they are a minority.


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.

During the second lockdown home-educated children have been left with less access to normal social activities such as group teaching in homes or other facilities than their peers, as schools have been kept open. The needs of home educated children need to be considered as equally important in government policy.

November 2020