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.]



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


The issue here is that local authorities do not understand how home education works or what it looks like and they have a school model of education in mind when they visit particularly as most home education officers have little or no training about home education and are often ex social workers or ex teachers, so they are ill equipped to assess education as it appears in the context of home education.


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

One has to question the purpose of a register. A register will not help safeguard vulnerable children, if it did we would not have safeguarding issues in schools for example. All parents are responsible for their childrens education, whether they register for a school place or not. Home educated children will see a doctor, dentist, optician ect and will be active members of the community or local groups as this is the nature of home education it is a community based practice. There is already a voluntary register and this is suffice. To have a mandatory register suggests a sense of wring doing or monitoring which is highly inappropriate to parents who electively home educate and advocate for their wellbeing of their children, the issue of child abuse or neglect is a wider issue for social services for the wider society.  There is not a mandatory register for parents of under 5’s why should parents be deemed incapable or more risk because their child is over 5 and educated at home?


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


Home educated children have the opportunity to study everything they cover to mastery. Schools necessarily move on once a majority of students understand the subject matter, as they cannot hold the majority back for the few that may take longer to understand.


Home educators can easily assess their child’s understanding of a topic – normally as simply as watching their thought process or discussing the topic with them. They can also easily return to topics where the child would benefit from a review.


Home educators are not limited to what subjects they can study. For example, my [age] is learning Japanese (to match his interest in [personal information]) and my [age] is studying Korean (which goes with her sport of [personal information]). Neither of these would be available in school, particularly at the ages they are at. We have friends of similar ages who are studying (and becoming quite proficient in) metalwork.


Home educated children often spend a lot of time outdoors in nature, and engaged in physical activity.


Other benefits (examples from research via Exeter University into home education):




4.    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.


5.    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’



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


7.    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


  1. Examinations:
    1. It does not seem reasonable to us that home educators in some areas have such a struggle accessing examinations centres for their children. We recommend that the Government place a duty on every local authority to ensure access to local centres for home-educated young people to sit accredited public examinations.  Currently my understanding is that the nearest exam centre is over an hour away. It is not reasonable to expect a child to travel this sort of distance to take an exam.


    1. The report states:  we do not believe that the State ought routinely to finance home education. That said, many home educators do contribute to the education system through their taxes, and yet still have to meet the costs of sitting public examinations. We do not consider this to be fair, and therefore recommend that the costs of sitting public examinations be met by the State. The Department for Education should work to establish the appropriate level of entitlement, and to which examinations this ought apply. To my knowledge my Local Authority does not provide any funding or support with cost of exams.


  1. Transitions to further education:
    1. We congratulate the Government on giving further education colleges the power to admit 14 to 15-year-olds directly, and welcome this policy move, which we hope might benefit home educators as well as others. At least 2 local colleges have recently terminated their 14-16yo provision for home educated children.


8.    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.’


Home educated children appear to have been largely forgotten in COVID-19 policy. Whilst schooled children have been allowed to meet and socialise in large ‘bubbles’, home educated children have been severely restricted. Most activities have not been running since the initial lockdown, those that have opened are very socially distanced. I am lucky in that I was able to ‘bubble’ with another home educating family quite early on, so our children have been able to have some social interaction. Even so, the majority of my children’s social interaction over the past 8 months has been online.

Many home educated children were severely affected by the cancellation of exams in the summer. Many home educated children study for exams at home with parental support, and hence do not have teachers or tutors who can provide predicted grades. Those children’s hard work was not recognised, and many found there options for further and higher education were severely impacted.

November 2020