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.]

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

It is our individual human right to be free and to determine what we want to fill our time and heads with.  The UK curriculum is sorely inadequate for producing free and creative thinkers; has almost no focus on life skills and quite frankly cannot ever compete with the quality and breadth of learning that an adult with a vested interest can offer 1:1.  Nobody has a right to tell my child how to spend their childhood.  My child learned to talk, walk, feed themselves, run, read, play, use a computer, knit, cook, be polite, be helpful, draw, enjoy books and libraries, dress, wash, save money, ride a bicycle, swim, make people laugh, recover from feeling sad or angry, do woodwork, grow vegetables, be kind and many other things – all with having never set foot in a school. Parents have a vested interest in the learning and wellbeing of their children.  Home education does not look like school-at-home.  My child is radically unschooled.  How would anyone know that learning is taking place?  It happens at 11pm, or in pyjamas, or when we go abroad in termtime, or in the garden, or on computers – and yes, sometimes in textbooks! 


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

In my opinion, a ‘register’ makes home educators akin to sex offenders.  Any register should be voluntary.  Not one child has died in the UK as a result of being home educated.  Conversely, abuse happens in many schools every day, by pupils and staff and children take their own lives.  Having a register is the thin end of the wedge whereby the state (in reality, individuals from LAs who are unsuitably qualified) believes they have power over families.


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

Children can go at their own pace, which may be faster, slower, more sporadic or more thorough than classroom learning.  Children become accustomed to speaking and learning with/from people other than their own exact age-group.

It is wholly unnatural to spend 18 years with people born in the same year as you.  Real life means associating with the very old, the very young, adults and other children.  It has been shown in study after study that children’s learning is accelerated by watching and joining in with older children.

Children do not need to be ‘taught’, the old paradigm of them being vessels to be filled is gone.


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, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education;

Support is lacking, but many parents remove their children from school because support is lacking there, too.  Home educating parents will be reluctant to accept financial help (even though it is often needed) because of the expectation that children will have to jump through the LA’s hoops in exchange.  I would like to see families getting £1000 per term back from the LAs as we are not using up a school place or resources.  We could put this towards study materials, visits, science kits and exams, music classes, after school clubs and sports.  It is these that my child misses out on the most.


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’;

Where children have been removed from school, parents are very often willing to accept guidance and resources.  I would like to see community spaces where home educated children (and people of all ages) can have resources, digital, print, art – visiting artist and scientists and poets and STEM workers; key workers, entrepreneurs, musicians, sports persons (and space to play sport!) - all of this could take place in school hours.


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

The day that I let someone into our home to speak to my child alone is the day hell freezes over.  Children cannot be interviewed by the police alone, so why the government and LAs think this would be acceptable in a private home is beyond me.  Many home educated children and parents have anxiety and having visits and/or having to fill in forms or having certain ‘work’ to complete and be judged upon is a horrific infringement upon their rights.  All children who attend school should be asked if they would like to be home educated, if all home educated children are to be consulted on their home education. 


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 have noticed none, and the support or harassment that families are subjected to is a postcode lottery.


The impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken to mitigate any negative impacts;

Having no space to meet in is extremely limiting.  No buildings are open that meet our needs.  We can only meet outside, all social swimming etc. has been off since March.  Families are isolated unless the weather is good.


November 2020