Written evidence submitted by Mrs Susan Cleasby


Call for Evidence by the Education Committe on Home Education


by Mrs Susan Cleasby, November 2020


I am writing to object to a statutory register for home educators being made. I do not believe that it is necessary and it seems that it would be an expensive undertaking.

The money would be better spent making sure that there are exam centres for home schoolers or perhaps helping with some of the many costs incurred. Perhaps paying for home schooler’s sitting of external exams as requested by myself and many others over many years. I do not agree that evidence of readiness needs to be provided before this provision, as all home schoolers work hard to prepare their children for each stage of their education.

I home schooled my two boys from pre-school up to GCSE. They both went on to sixth form at a local school for A-levels. The eldest is at university and the youngest is in the first year of A-levels. We used a variety of methods incuding one-to-one tutors, group lessons with other home schoolers, textbooks and online resources. They both participated in various sports, music and other activities.

I did not voluntarily register as I felt it would be an intrusive and stressful experience. I actively campaigned against the registration of home schoolers in 2009 and objected to the tone that the Badman Report, and countless other articles, which indicated the need for safe-guarding - as it is entirely unfounded in the wonderfully supportive and flourishing home school network and community that we belonged to. In my opinion there are channels existing that deal with those situations that require local authority input.

The suggestion that home schoolers may need overseeing to monitor educational input is also offensive – most home schoolers I knew actively chose home education as the best path for their children; or had de-registered their children because they found that school was not in the best interests of their children due to bullying or their children’s SEN were not being met.  We all spent countless hours planning, organising, and discussing with experienced home schoolers to enable the right choices of curriculum, tutors and activities. We spent what we could afford on resources and trips to provide the best education possible. To suggest that we need monitoring in this area implies that we don’t have our children’s best interests at heart, which I can assure you we most certainly do and would be active in solving any issues we found along the way.

My local authority was notified by an orchestra that the boys attended. Both ‘inspectors’ that came following this, for the final few years of my home schooling, were positive and unthreatening and were impressed by both the quality and breadth of the education my children were receiving. However, these visits were intrusive and stressful for me and I did not feel that they added anything to my sons’ education.

I have heard of one suggestion that home schooling educational standard should be monitored by requesting a plan of education at the beginning of the year and a report at the end of it – this is like a whole school Ofsted for one family! Education that takes into account the interests and pace of the individual cannot be measured by this rigid rule.

My aim for my children was for them to take a number of GCSEs and to understand as much as they could before they were limited to a rigid set of syllabus expectations with the necessary key words to show understanding – and for them to enjoy learning, something that seems have been forgotten in our academic and assessment driven education.

It is my belief that those who choose to home school their children all do a very good job. When we undertook educational trips as a group of home schoolers at the National Trust, Museums, Sports etc – we were frequently told that our children paid attention better with better discipline and with more engagement asking pertinent, intelligent questions.

We believe that is because we were preparing them for a lifetime of learning and teaching them to have inquisitive minds, experiencing the wonder of this world.



November 2020