Written evidence submitted by Mrs Jayne Rachardsn


I am a former home educating parent, whose children are now adults, all having secured fulfilling employment and lifestyles. I spent many years as a local contact for families seeking information and support about home education. I have worked with my local authority in the development of local home education policy and have worked with my local MP to bring issues affecting home educating families to his attention, particularly during the Badman REview into Home Education.


I am appalled to see yet another call for evidence on home education by the Education Select Committee, having been compelled to spend a significant part of my home educating career defending my family from unwarranted intrusions into our private family life, largely based on disproportionate, politically motivated over-reactions to tragic child protection failures on the part of local authorities.


The current law on home education is balanced and fair and does not need changing, with responsibility for education clearly being the responsibility of parents to provide. The duties of the state/local authorities with regard to home education and safeguarding are clearly laid out in Section 437 of the Education Act and Section 47 of the Children Act. Both Acts have a requirement that action should only be taken if there is a reasonable cause to suspect that education is not being provided or that a child may come to harm.


Statutory registers are, apart for some professions, associated with convicted criminals. The issue of registration of home educated children has already been investigated at length in previous years and the Department of Education knows full well how the home educating community feel about this issue.


There are advantages and disadvantages to any education type and style. The major advantage of home education is that it is tailored to each child according to their needs and is provided by the people who know and love them best, who have their best interests at heart. The biggest disadvantage of home educating is the near constant barrage of attacks by the government that such families have had to endure over the years.


All families should have the same access to support in educating their children. Financial support is not required and the government would not be trusted if it was offered due to the conditionality that would likely be placed on families accepting such support.


Access to GCSE and A-level exams has been a long standing issue. State schools that are funded by the taxpayer should be compelled to make provision for external candidates, both adult and child, to sit such exams.


With regard to off-rolling, this is a matter for the government to address with educational institutions and local authorities. It is not the responsibility of the home educating community. I have been a local contact for home educating families and have reported education institutions that have off-rolled pupils to my local authority. I understand that it is difficult for local authorities to act when it is in academy school that has behaved in such an unprofessional way. It is time for the Department of Education to tell us what it is doing about schools and head teachers who have been practicing off-rolling.


Inspection should pay no role in home education. It is for schools that accept taxpayers money to show that it is being properly spent on delivering a satisfactory education service.


I am unaware of any improvements to the support for home educators since the 2012 Education Committee Report. This further call for evidence appears to be yet another attempt by the government to undermine parental freedoms and choice.


With regard to covid-19, home educating families were well placed to deal with the impacts as their children’s education provision is already home based. The government should direct its focus into supporting those families who have children registered in school and are finding the impact of school closures and childcare difficult to deal with.


November 2020