HED0841

Written evidence submitted by Mrs Rowina Seidler

 

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

 

I don’t believe local authorities are better able to assess the quality of home education than the parents themselves who know their child best. Furthermore, most staff who would work for a local authority would not be trained in the alternative teaching and learning pedagogies that are normative in homeschooling and thus would lack the expertise to successfully assess the quality of the education.

 

As for safeguarding, in my experience the type of family who choose to make the immense investment into their child’s future as is required to homeschool are not the type of family who typically would be of concern from a safeguarding perspective.

 

Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required;

 

No. Many of us have chosen to homeschool because we see great inadequacies with state education. Any kind of register would be in place so as to begin to regulate homeschoolers in the same manner state education is regulated. However, it is such regulations that limit the abilities of schools to help many children flourish into creative, independent, confident, well-rounded, astute, passionate learners of deep character and conviction. I have been in homeschooling circles for 5 years now and was also a state teacher for around 5 years (and worked in state schools for a further 3). I have seen first hand what is normal when child and educator are allowed to flourish without being confined by regulation as well as what is normal when child and educator are limited by regulation. Thus I am opposed to any attempt at registering and regulating homeschoolers.

 

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

 

Benefits:

                Tailor-made education to suite individual child’s interests and ability

                Ability to allow child to work at their own pace

                More opportunity to support child with character formation and social skills than in a school setting

                Ability to allow deep learning into areas of interest over extended periods of time

                More space in the day for exploration and creativity

                Less pressure at a younger age

                More opportunity to foster a love and passion for learning

                Ability to teach more rich, varied and intellectually stimulating content than is typical in an average school setting

                Freedom to teach outside the confinements of mandatory curriculum and prescribed schemes of work

                Increased ability to foster critical thinking and a questioning, curious and independent mind

                Able to be present to coach child through challenging social interactions

                Better able to protect child from the psychological damage of bullying and be present to ensure child themselves is neither  a bully nor a bystander.

                Better able to support the spiritual, moral and emotional development of the child than in a school setting where peer culture often supersedes teacher input.

                Better able to develop independent learners as evidenced by the fact that in many homeschooling families, by GCSE age the child is able to teach themselves their GCSE’s with limited parental/tutor input.

                Not limited by the pressures of standardised testing.

                Being taught by someone who loves them who will naturally have a greater interest in their well-being and safety than a professional.

                Better ability to safeguard children from sexual abuse, rape, drug/alcohol use, pornography etc. than is possible in school.

 

Drawbacks:

                Self funded so opportunities of child limited by the finances of the family

                Parent will lack subject specialism in certain areas

                In some parts of the UK there are not many other homeschooling families so social opportunities may be limited

 

 

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

 

I do not believe homeschooling families should be inspected as I don’t believe most inspectors are qualified to assess the varied and alternative teaching and learning pedagogies common to home education. Furthermore, in my experience as a previous state school teacher, regulation and inspection generally hampered the creativity of teachers and pressurised them to take the path of least resistance so as to ‘pass the inspection’ rather than creatively and holistically focus on what was best for their students educationally long-term. Likewise, inspections I imagine would have the same effect on home educating families.

 

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.’

 

COVID-19 lockdown regulations and the vast quantity of covid-secure regulation has led to nearly all of my homeschooling groups shutting down which has been very sad as well as seeing theatre’s shut. Now with lockdown number 2 all the museums have been shut again. To mitigate the negative impacts I would suggest the government removes the weight of covid-secure regulation that makes the groups nearly impossible to run and stops locking down museums and theatre’s. Furthermore, our classroom is our home and typically educational play dates form a substantial part of our children’s education and social development. Thus rules stopping homeschooling families meeting with other families in homes should be removed while it is seen as safe for school children to attend school (schools clearly provide much greater opportunity for community transmission than two homeschooling families in one home).

 

November 2020