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.]

Home Education – Call for Evidence November 2020


The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education; I feel it is important not to conflate Safeguarding with EHE. There is no evidence that safeguarding issues are attributed to EHE. It is not only offensive to parents who choose to EHE but is in my experience, far more unlikely to be an issue within the EHE community. It is not an easy path to choose and requires a huge commitment by the parents; both mentally and financially. I would like to make reference to a statement made in the judgement concerning Ali v Lord Grey School [2006] UKHL 14, Lord Bingham stated: “This fourfold foundation has endured over a long period because it has, I think, certain inherent strengths. First, it recognises that the party with the keenest personal interest in securing the best available education for a child ordinarily is, or ought to be, the parent of the child…” [§16

The quality of EHE is the duty of the parent, not of the local authority. Taken from the ‘Support for Home Education’ report in 2012, I would like to quote section 2 10. The role of the local authority is clear with regard to home education.7 They have two duties: to provide support for home educating families (at a level decided by local authorities themselves), and if families wish it; and to intervene with families if the local authority is given reason to believe that a child is not receiving a suitable education. It is not the role of the local authority routinely to monitor whether a suitable education is being provided, and local authorities should not act as if it is, or cause parents to believe that it is.8

The duty of the LEA should be to support EHE families if needed, not to interfere.


Is a statutory register of home-educated children required; I do not believe a statutory register of EHE children is required because there is no lawful reason why the council need to have my child’s information if they are not involved in a local school. The only reason I can see, is to try and check up on the child keep and try to monitor progress. There is no legal requirement for home educating parents to formally assess progress or set development objectives. This again links to the conflation being made between Safeguarding and EHE which is a baseless theory.


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

Benefits - Having taken my daughter out of school in [date], I have seen an increase in her confidence, in her understanding of various concepts, and thankfully her enjoyment of learning has returned. I am able to tailor her education to suit her needs, abilities and interests. I can take the time with her that she needs to understand and learn, without her feeling worried, anxious or silly for getting something wrong and not being able to grasp a concept. She is learning to explore the world around her, to develop critical thinking skills and gain life skills by doing enjoyable activities like cooking, baking, sewing etc. I am able to make this a child centred learning as opposed to curriculum centred learning. This has also contributed to building an even stronger parent child relationship. We foster a safe and loving environment that she can explore her own thoughts, feelings and opinions without fear of judgement and where she can maintain her childhood.

DisadvantagesI feel that potentially she may not be able to receive some of the benefits that her schooled peers may get. For example, when she is older and it comes to GCSE’s, she may not be able to get as many as others because of the cost to a EHE family. We pay taxes, and so although I feel happy to pay for my child’s everyday needs, I do feel that exam costs should be met by the government. I also think that over the years there has become a stigma attached to being home educated through the media, and the way people view it. I hope that people may start to see it differently after having to experience it during lockdown.


The quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children; There is no support that I’m aware of. Within 2 weeks of deregistering my child, I was sent a letter, demanding I complete a form within 2 weeks, to say how I was going to educate my child and then they would need to assess that to see if it was appropriate. I didn’t really have an exact plan as we were just starting out, so I tried to put something together but then we went into lockdown before I had completed it. A lady from the LEA turned up at my front door a couple of weeks later as I hadn’t managed to send it in and was telling me that as I hadn’t finished it, she would be back in 1 week to collect it. I had to try and put something together in crazy circumstances when I hadn’t been given time, to explore with my child how she might learn best. At that point, I didn’t realise what my right’s were, or what the law said, but now I do and it was unlawful of them to do that.

On our LEA website, it has their EHE section under the title ‘Education Welfare Service, which immediately makes you feel uncomfortable, like you are not trusted to educate your child properly. This does not help to foster a healthy relationship between parents’ and the LEA’s. The LEA’s need to undertake training in the law regarding EHE and also learn more about EHE themselves in order to give them a better understanding of people’s EHE journeys and how to be supportive of them.

It would be helpful for them to send out some information of websites, and resources. Other helpful things would be ideas of ways to get started on your EHE journey including examples of various activities, topics, a book list according to your child’s age etc.



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’; I believe that the current regulatory framework is sufficient, but I don’t believe it is being followed correctly by the majority of LEA’s. I have heard many reports of people being sent unlawful letters, which do not adhere to what the law states. I personally have been made to think that I have to be able to prove that I can provide a certain standard of education, and that I will be checked up on annually – this however does not match the policy stated on their website or the law for that matter.

I have no experience of any children being off-rolled, excluded from school or attending unregistered schools in the EHE community. I haven’t heard of anyone else who has gone through this either.


The role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education; I don’t believe there is a place for inspection in the future of EHE. It is a parents’ right to choose how they educate their child as they know them best, they know how to help them understand the world around them. As far as I’m concerned, trying to introduce inspections is just another way of controlling people and what you think they should learn/teach. It is ultimately the parent who has the right to decide what is right for their child and it should be left as that. Ultimately, Section 9 of the Education Act 1996 states that:

“authorities shall have regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure.”

The right of a parent to choose to home educate is therefore enshrined in law.


What improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 Education Committee published their report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012; I believe there was supposed to be an audit carried out after the last report in 2012, but that has not happened as far as I am aware. From my experience and from talking to other EHE parents who have been doing it for a longer time, there has been ongoing issues with a lot of LEA’s not acting lawfully or according to their own policies. It seems that this issue has still not been resolved. This point was mentioned in your last report, section 2 12. Local authorities have a responsibility to follow the law, and to be seen to do so. Considering evidence that only thirty do not currently have ultra vires statements on their websites, regarding home education, we urge all local authorities to undertake swift review of their own material, and to ensure that their policies reflect the guidance available.

Building positive relationship between LEA’s and parents should be a priority. Part of that involves making sure that LEA’s are abiding by the law, and taking action where that is not happening. It would make far more sense to inspect the LEA’s as opposed to trying to inspect a parent’s teaching method when they will all be completely different (as every child is different, and that is why we choose to home educate).


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 impact

My local EHE group has unfortunately had to stop meeting at their usual venue due to COVID-19. We had only managed to get to 2 groups before lockdown hit, so have missed out on meeting regularly with other EHE children, and also being able to go to places like museums and art galleries.

It would be helpful to have clear guidelines for the EHE community, and really our children should be able to mix with other children like schools’ are doing.

November 2020