HED0915

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.]

 

At the time of writing English law states that the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996

 

Home school parents therefore are obeying the law in choosing education “otherwise”.  The style and type of education performed within home settings are subjective. The nature of home education is versatile sometimes without curriculum. One Home education can be unlike another. Just as one home and one family differs to one another. How can such circumstances be policed or what tool can be used to assess home life without the encroachment upon individual parenting and upon the home life of that family?

 

At present parents are responsible for the education of their children. Mandatory registration would undermine the parents’ authority. In such circumstances parents would be expected to ask the state if they can home educate. Why should parents need to register with the state to teach their own children? On what basis would one determine if one is fit to give an education, if the parent is responsible to choose how and when to do so? Local authorities already have the powers to intervene when they believe children are at risk of abuse. Parents who are of concern are not likely to register anyway.

 

We do not currently have a child of compulsory school age, but if we did so we would like to believe we live with the freedom to parent without state interference in family life.

 

At the time of writing, as the government tackle COVID 19, many parents who are considered as  vulnerable may feel the need to take precaution, choosing to home educate rather than having a child at school who is at greater risk of contracting or carrying the virus. There needs to be greater support and consideration for the home school parents to teach from home. Private tutoring is often taken up for music and math, gymnastics and sports lessons and parents are supporting these children financially. There are many online resources, and supportive cooperative groups which are of great value for the social need of both child and parent.  Since COVID 19 there is a need for homeschooling to be recognised with a positive attitude. There are many adults who have been home educated who can vouch for the benefits of home education, so it would do one good to ask “were you home educated?” when one comes across one in society who appears to think outside the box, or has been a great contributor within the work place, or the halls of University, perhaps even within the walls or chambers of the House of Commons.

 

There are many strengths of educating at home, it is tailored to individual needs, a child’s interest, and it is flexible. The parent to child ratio is improved at home in comparison to a school setting. The parents are in a position many mainstream teachers would love to be in; having time for individuals and enough resources to meet their needs. Many parents have a desire to teach,  not to just transfer information from one mind to another mind, but have a zeal and passion to ignite a flame for learning in their children’s hearts. Many of parents make great sacrifices, at a cost. Choosing to create a stimulating learning environment. Making the child’s education a job even to the extent of giving up a career. They have a commitment that should be recognised in society and praised. If the children that are currently educated took places in mainstream school there would be greater drain on government resources. The parents who home educate do so because they feel that they are making the best choice for their children. Surely the parent has taken into consideration the child’s psychological, physical and mental health as a primary concern. 

November 2020