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.]

Introduction: our situation

        We have a bright [age]-old daughter.

        She is [personal information]

Our experience with pre-school

        At [age], we took our daughter to the preschool for our catchment school

        This was a single room (with good outdoor and enriching activities) with 25 other children plus 5 adults

        When we first arrived with her, it was obvious that [personal information] after this continued for several weeks, we decided to try a smaller, privately run, nursery with just 7 other children and 2 adults instead

        She settled almost immediately at the smaller nursery and has been very happy there ever since

Our school application

        We considered home education (having researched it since our daughter was [age] old) and also visited several local schools prior to making an application

        Our catchment school has an open plan area for three reception classes meaning that there are 90 children in one open plan area for most of the school day

        We asked the teacher if it was possible for our daughter to be able to access a calmer area away from the noise of the other children but were told this would only be possible during registration

        We instead applied to our local village church school which has a single reception class of 28

        The class is split into two halves during the day so that there are only up to 14 children in one area for reception

        We applied to the village school but were not given a place due over-subscription and were instead given a place at the catchment school

        We decided that home education, at least for the early years, would provide the best education and a much less stressful environment where our daughter could thrive.

Our approach to Home Education

        We have been home educating since the beginning of [date], when our daughter would otherwise have started her [school year]

        We are connected with a local christian home educating group that has been invaluable for support at this time.

        We have also attended two conferences this year (one national) to gather resources and network to help us to plan thoroughly for a successful year.

        We are following a simple “Enjoying Nature With Children” curriculum which introduces the basics of Natural History and we use a Montessori-style approach to the literacy and numeracy. Also using a well-recommended synthetic phonics programme by Seigfried Engleman (the Distar method).

        We have always read stories daily to our daughter, and have naturally progressed to more challenging chapter books which she engages with wonderfully. We have a minimal screen-use policy in our home and our daughter is allowed to watch a single show from the CBBies channel after 3pm each day, but generally is so engaged in imaginative play that she doesn’t ask.

        We encourage our daughter to play with other home educating children during the ‘school week’ to practise social skills and a few children not yet in school.

        We continue to take part in a French class specially designed for children called ‘Language, Music and Play’ that our daughter has participated in for the last [number of] months.

Benefits of Home Education - experience with our [age] old daughter

        Respect for the child's individual physiological development (and thus limitations)

        Hand development - limit writing to how much is comfortable and build up strength using multi-sensorial approach to building fine-motor skills

        Leads to enjoyment of writing, and conversely it isn’t a chore to learn

        Brain development - waiting for the right time for the individual child to learn to read

        Our child is enjoying picking up a book and attempting to read when she feels able. Because we are not expecting her to read under any time schedule she is [personal information]

        Additionally she is exposed to literature that is beyond her reading level but not her comprehension so that her enjoyment and memorisation of literature is giving her the motivation to learn for herself.

        Mixed age socialisation

        Guiding the child through conflict resolution with other children

        Because a parent is always present, our child benefits from good modelling and explanations about behaviour and resolution techniques to maintain friendships

        They don’t learn bad habits from peers

        More confidence in relating across age groups and with grown ups.

        Social learning from children who are more mature /  accomplished in skills e.g. playing an instrument,

        Opportunity as parents (and in local HE community) to model Life-long learning

        They learn well what they want to know - our daughter learned about letters making up words partly because she wanted to type the words into Daddys laptop to google-search her favourite animals! Conversely sitting through a prepared lesson for a group of people does not have quite the same impact.

        One-to-one attention from a parent

        already seeing the benefits of learning at our childs pace this way, compared to her peers at school whose parents are telling me ‘do not want to learn how to read’ at age 4.

        More efficient learning, less frustrating

        No need for shallow rewards or competitive system to accompany learning

        No need to dumb down content - let the literature/art/music speak for itself

        Active participation in own learning - much more scope for choice

        Desk time is minimal -learning happens on every floor of the house, outdoors and most-importantly in play. Sitting still is not good for this age group - evidently we will need to adjust this as she matures.

        Field trips are more frequent and have more scope for inspiring learning with one-to-one parental interaction.

        Parents' attention -Mothers at home matter - contributing factor to emotional resilience in later life.

        Learn to take part in household chores - evidence for increased success in adult life as a result.

        No homework arguments or time-stretched evenings in the week - the child's rest time is protected. This can lead to heightened processing of information they are better able to digest from their learning experiences in the day.


Disadvantages they may face:


        Missing out on a ‘rite of passage’ for a majority of children in our culture

        Risk feeling misunderstood or lacking a ‘tribe’ or group identity

        Thankfully our daughters’ friendship group from birth have accepted our choice and continue to include our daughter and ourselves.

        We gathered a local Home Ed friendship group to facilitate organic friendships between children and promote social integration.

        Parents have responsibility to ensure this happens

        More difficult to access school group sports teams, choirs and orchestras

        More expense for parents paying for private clubs and sports groups

        Limited choice of sports outside school

        Parents have additional roles and responsibilities

        Risk of burnout to parent from extended parental role

        Expense of providing everything required -even before exam age

        Responsibility for organising Exam centres stress.

        Maintain own support network while juggling lots of demands

        Impact on family life

        Rely on public library and bought materials can be limiting or costly.


Covid impact:

        Felt that HE students were largely forgotten about with lockdown 1.

        Social learning opportunities greatly restricted

        Physical skills groups (my child's gymnastics and dance club) inaccessible

        Lots of time without interaction with community (at church, toddlers or kids groups) has impacted my child’s confidence

        Lockdown 2

        The advice to HE groups is vaguely worded and leaves lots of grey areas

        Surely HE students should have the same opportunities to socialise and learn as school students of the same age - this should be clearly facilitated by wording of regulations

        Many local groups do not wish, quite understandably, to incur fines and are hesitant to go ahead with limited encouragement, perhaps at this time there should be a helpline for advice and clearer statements regarding group meets

        My daughter, like most children, needs a weekly social gathering in this context to gain regular social experience. We are currently having to send her back to her private nursery once a week to facilitate this.

        Reality - probably living alongside covid for the foreseeable future

        we must have a clear path for how to facilitate a suitable education which includes opportunities to do normal activities in a covid-safe manner.


November 2020