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.]


    I am responding on behalf of our family. We have two children:, aged [ages]. My wife, trained as a [profession] at the University of [place], gaining an additional degree in [subject]. I am a [medical professional] in the [military] with an interest in medical education.


    After much considered research we decided that home education was the best approach to achieve the goals (relational and educational) that we consider most important for our children. Despite our own traditional educational experiences and success within our chosen fields we believe that our education was focussed on the pursuit of exam success to the point of being blinkered to other areas that are equally, if not more important for understanding others, the world around us and ourselves.


    Approaches to education do not just achieve educational goals they also impact greatly on family life. Having been away with the military from our children for around a third of their lives, I am acutely aware of the importance of family relationships. Home education allows us to develop relationships within our immediate family and the local community. We have carefully resourced this through decisions on where we live and our home and work routines. My wife has chosen to be at home and I work part time.


    Home education allows us as a family to meet- and exceed- educational goals in a way that supports family life and relationships whilst encouraging the development of far more grounded people.


    We are grateful that the law recognises the parentsunique concern, responsibility, concern and primacy in deciding on how best to educate their children. We value any increased recognition and support of home educating families but remain deeply concerned about the risks of some of the ideas being considered.


    Statutory register-


    A register, in itself, achieves nothing. If it is intended to inform policy then it comes at significant cost in administering but, more importantly, in degrading parents roles in decision making in the interests of their children and unnecessarily intruding on family life. If the goal is to inform further measures, whether immediate or delayed, then the time for that debate is now rather than facing mission creepwith poorly thought through policy.



    Having experienced first hand the power of inspection within healthcare over the past 18 years I am acutely aware of its great influence whether intentional or not. Even the format of an inspection (usually driven by practicalities and resourcing of the inspectorate) incentivises behaviour, often with perverse outcomes. For the most part parents remain the most invested in the happiness and well-being of the their children. This must continue to be reflected in the law and regulations on education.


    Due to the nature of home education inspection is likely to inherently involve significant intrusion by the state into the family life of home educating families. As a principle, this should only happen in cases where there is particular concern rather than as the routine cost of a legitimate, reasonable and well intentioned decision. There is already a well established regulatory framework and interested organisations. Development and resourcing of the existing rather than creating further structures is likely to be more effective and efficient with the extremely limited resources.







My wife made the following comments:


“You can achieve excellent exam results and yet be hugely lacking in understanding of history, philosophy, the world around us and how we can contribute to society. Veterinary surgeons are widely considered to be very well educated suffers some of the worst suicide and mental health rates of any profession. Broader view of education must be taken to include not purely academic achievement and attaining exam results but being a valuable member of society who can interact and contribute for the welfare of other people and the environment.


The mental health of young adults and children is suffering. The large numbers of assessments places huge pressure on them at the expense of achieving a well rounded education and mental health. In school exams, such as SATS are meant to be for purpose of assessing teachers and schools yet the pressure is borne by the children at the expense of their stress and well-being.


Parents know our children best. The brief period of Zoom teaching showed that even the best teachers who really care are unable to tailor their teaching to the individual child due to their responsibility for others. Parents are unique in understanding the needs of their own children and being able to tailor it to them in their best interests. No one has more vested interest in the well-being of their children than we do.


Of the families that we know the parents have been through higher education and are dedicated to the education of their children. They are generally highly qualified, often with teaching experience, whether through graduate and post-graduate training. They invariably dedicate significant time to developing themselves as educators, deeply concerned and reflective on their practice, not wedded to home ed as the only way but simply the best way for their children at the time.”


November 2020