Home Education UK is an informal grassroots peer support community with close to forty thousand members at the time of writing. As the administrators of the community, we want to share our experiences of supporting home educating families with the committee.


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


The legal duty regarding home education legally lies with the parent.


We are concerned that a lack of consistent, quality training appears to be evident at the current time. Regarding safeguarding, some local authority staff seem unaware of the powers they currently have and fail to use them appropriately. When followed correctly, the current guidance is sufficient.


We would like local authorities to be required to make contact with parents in an appropriate manner, initially by letter. Unannounced visits are a safeguarding concern with parents not given an opportunity to verify staff identities and job roles. Although rare, we are aware of instances of individuals posing as local authority staff attempting to gain access to the family home. We have also seen many occurrences where parents have received text messages regarding a child other than their own. We do not know if the local authorities concerned ever reported the data breach to the other families concerned.


In some parts of England, there seems to be a lack of willingness to initiate a cooperative relationship with parents. Coupled with a lack of accountability, Local Authorities are creating a culture of intimidation that does not benefit home educated children. When moving areas, parents are now factoring in the behaviour of the local authority home education department when choosing where to live, seeking recommendations from other parents based on their experiences.


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


Over recent years, home education has been conflated with safeguarding concerns such as county lines, terrorism, abuse and unregistered schools to name a few. A statutory register would not help aid children affected.


It is often mentioned that home educated children fall “off the radar”. When the Children Missing Education Guidance was updated, it placed a statutory duty on local authorities to keep track of all children deregistered from schools. Effectively, these children are already on a register.


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


Overwhelmingly, we find parents find home education has a positive impact on family life. Children thrive from being able to develop their interests in details without the constraints of a prescribed curriculum, peer pressure or bullying. Many are able to develop businesses as part of their education.


Parents are still having trouble accessing exams and exam centres for their child. Local authorities could help by providing exam centres for home educated children.


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;


We often see parents having trouble accessing services because their child is home educated. The burden is often left to the parent to educate the professional concerned. As part of fostering a cooperative relationship with families, local authorities should be offering support to allow home educated children to access the services they need.


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’;


The current framework is sufficient but is not applied consistently at a national nor local level. Training and accountability would help remedy the current postcode lottery.


Changing the regulatory framework regarding home educated children will not solve the problems. Unregistered schools should be dealt with separately to home education as the issues need to be specifically addressed. Children that have been excluded from school should be provided with Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) by their local authority, which is not the same as home education. Off rolling is still occurring on a regular basis and should be addressed in regulations for schools rather than home education.


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


Education is the legal responsibility of the parent. Should they choose to enrol their child in school, they expect that school to be inspected and their child’s teachers to be qualified professionals. Should an issue arise, the school has policies and procedures to follow to resolve any complaint or issue. When a child is home educated, their parents have no guarantee that the staff they are communicating with have received any training nor whether they are familiar with many aspects of home educating. Unlike the teaching profession, there is no professional body ensuring consistent standards and professionalism for home education officers.


Local authorities should be inspected to bring an end to the current inconsistent standards.


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; and


We have seen no evidence that any of the recommendations have been actioned, especially at a national level.


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.’


We saw a noticeable increase in the number of parents considering long term home education since the beginning of the first lockdown. The rate remained steady and consistent until 10th August when we saw a sharp increase in new members. This coincided with a post from the Children’s Commissioner going viral across social media ( Many parents were concerned their child could be detained for testing and treatment without their consent or knowledge. The Children’s Commissioner posted an update on the link above but this did not mitigate the damage. The Department for Education and the office of the Children’s Commissioner could have taken action to dispel the misinformation through a targeted social media campaign.


Guidance issued has been unclear and at times unhelpful. Despite the Department for Education knowing how to contact and consult home educators, that was not done and the guidance doesn’t specifically cover many of the settings regularly accessed by home educated children. Local authorities were unable to advise or clarify. This has prevented home educated children accessing their full and normal range of educational activities.


Home educated children due to sit exams were disproportionately affected, with no system made available to them to obtain a grade along with their schooled counterparts. Some have had to delay the next stage of their education until they can receive an exam grade. This could have been mitigated by offering remote online proctoring. Many well-known organisations and businesses (for example Microsoft, Cisco, Facebook and the Royal College of General Practitioners) use services such as Pearson Vue to moderate their qualifications while allowing candidates to sit exams at home